"The Road to Enchantment" is partly a coming of age tale, filled with angst and turmoil, highlighting Willow’s struggles in school, her relationship with her father and mother, and the despair Willow feels after being yanked away from the life she knew and forced to live in a desolated, isolated place in New Mexico.
The novel is also about growing up emotionally and becoming a mature, well rounded adult.
As an adult, Willow is living in Los Angles, trying to make a living doing what she loves, but, just as she and her lover are breaking up, she receives word her mother has died in a horse riding accident.
Once she returns home to deal with her mother’s affairs, she comes to terms with the end of her romantic relationship, accepts her unexpected pregnancy, and gradually begins to understand that the place she swore she would never return to, is the place she belongs after all.
Willow learns to take what curve balls life throws at you, and make the most of what you have, learning to appreciate the here and now, to find a purpose, which results in contentment.
In doing so, Willow also learns that family can mean more than blood relations and even finds romance in the most unexpected way.
So, while her life may have veered off the path she had mapped out for herself, she finds a way to create her own destiny and maybe her own legacy to pass down to future generations.
I enjoy stories that place characters in situations where they feel the world is caving in around them, then watch them rise to the occasion, discover their true calling and realize they are loved far more than they ever knew.
A couple of things I found frustrating though, was that the story was a bit ordinary, with few plot twists or surprises.
The romantic elements, unfortunately, are very flat, and although the future for Willow looks full and happy, we never get to see the romance truly develop.
I would have liked to see an epilogue where the details of Willow’s future were spelled out, without all the vagaries.
However, Willow’s character development is fun to watch. Witnessing her growth and self-discovery was rewarding, plus, the secondary characters are eccentric, but very likable, and their contributions are what gives the story a real dash of color.
Overall, this is a pleasant contemporary fiction novel that fans of Women’s Fiction or Chick-lit will enjoy.
As a young girl, Willow watched her mother leave their home in Washington State in a literal blaze of glory: she set the mattress of her cheating husband on fire in her driveway, roasting marshmallow peeps and hot dogs before the fire department arrived.
And with that, she and Willow set off to New Mexico, to a new life, to a world of arroyos and canyons bordering an Apache reservation. Willow was devastated. Her eccentric mother believed in this new life and set about starting a winery and goat ranch. But for Willow, it meant initially being bullied and feeling like an outsider. Today, as a grown woman, Willow much prefers Los Angeles and her job as a studio musician. But things tend to happen in threes: her mother dies, her boyfriend dumps her, and Willow discovers she is pregnant.
The DeVine Winery and Goat Ranch is all she has left, even if it is in financial straits and unmanageable back taxes. There is something, though, about the call of “home.” She's surprised to find that her Apache best friend Darrel along with the rest of the community seems to think she belongs far more than she ever thought she did. Can Willow redefine what home means for her, and can she make a go of the legacy her mother left behind?
Told with Kaya McLaren’s humor and heart, The Road to Enchantment is a story about discovering that the last thing you want is sometimes the one thing you need.