Welcome to STYLE Canada‘s Boreal Book Club: a monthly meeting narrated by Erin Catto, (reviewer at Girl Well Read), for bookworms who’re looking to scour new pages. Since we aim to shine a spotlight on all things Canadian in life and style, beauty, and health and wellness, it goes without saying that every instalment of the Boreal Book Club will feature a Canadian author and their latest title. Be sure to use the hashtag #BorealBookClub to share with us on social!
Gigi Rutherford loves love stories. She reads them, she sells them at her romance bookstore, and she could spend hours imagining the meet-cutes of every couple she encounters. But when it comes to her own love interests, Gigi is out of stock. Instead of enduring bad date after bad date, these days she’d rather curl up with her favorite audiobook and the only man who makes her heart skip a beat: Zane Wilkenson, the smooth-voiced narrator Gigi is convinced is her soulmate.
Then, she’s presented with the chance of a lifetime: a ten-day bus tour through the English countryside, an ocean away from her bookstore—all in the presence of Zane, in person, as he leads the tour.
But when Gigi arrives at the bus terminal in London, Zane is nowhere to be found. Until he shows up, she’s stuck with an eclectic group of fellow travelers: recently widowed and chatty Charlotte; trivia-obsessed Francis; Jenny, a true-crime-makeup YouTuber documenting every detail for her subscribers; and Sindhi and Roshi, a long-married couple who can’t stop bickering. Then there’s the brooding bus driver, Taj, who Gigi finds infuriating yet also incredibly alluring. . .
An impulsive trip across the pond becomes a life-changing journey for our heroine, Georgia “Gigi” Rutherford. In this delightfully witty story, Guertin explores themes of love, family, and self-discovery. Two for the Road is a reminder that life’s most cherished and memorable moments can be found in the most unexpected of places—even when it seems like everything has gone wrong—and how sometimes, the journey to yourself is where you’ll find everything you’ve been searching for.
There is incredible emotional depth to the both the story and the characters. Geurtin has an impeccable ear for dialogue made apparent by both the cheeky banter and touching conversations. Simply charming—like a pot of tea and a scone—and laugh out loud funny, Two for the Road is perfect for romance readers and armchair travellers.
CHANTEL GUERTIN is the bestselling author of eight novels—four for adults and four for teens.
Guertin lives in Toronto with her family.
Scroll to read Girl Well Read’s exclusive interview with Chantel Guertin.
GWR: How did you start writing/become an author? Is there a particular author or work that inspired you to become a writer or how you write?
CG: I always wanted to be an author. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. As a mini-me I spent all my free time reading and writing. If you love something, do it. Don’t let others try to sway you otherwise. Getting up every day and doing something you love is way better than dragging yourself out of bed to do something you hate for the money. Money’s great but it’s not everything. (Though it’s useful at Sephora).
GWR: Are you a pantser/gardner or a plotter/architect? And do you approach each book the same way?
CG: I read this question as “Are you a painter or a gardener?” and I felt bad about myself for a split second because while I like both activities, I’m not particularly good at either (LMK if you want me to give you a tour of my dead plants). Then I re-read the question, which is a hot tip for writers. Editors love when you reread your work before submitting it. Anyway! I’m a plotter, though as I write I let myself stray from the original plot if it’s not working.
GWR: How did you come up with the concept for Two for the Road? Where did you draw inspiration from?
CG: My favourite type of books are those that blend grief and humour. At first glance you think it’s a light book, but there are layers that (hopefully) stick with you after you finish the book. I wanted to write about a woman on a journey—literally and figuratively—in search of her soulmate and add depth to the story by connecting “the one” to her past.
GWR: Tell us about the research you did for the book? Do you have any ties to England?
CG: In case you were thinking about writing a travel-novel without leaving your house, I can tell you it’s possible, but a lot harder than writing a book set somewhere you know well. I relied a lot on virtual walking tours on YouTube. If you’ve never watched one, I highly recommend! They’re so soothing to watch. But nothing replaces actually being in a destination and smelling the air and flowers. So mid-pandemic, I took a solo, three-week trip to England. It felt very indulgent but ultimately was exactly what I needed to make the book what it is now. It was an amazing experience that I’ll remember forever.
GWR: Do you have a favourite character?
CG: I love Francis. He’s the kind of slightly annoying person you might expect to encounter on a group tour, but give him time. I dare you not to love him by the end.
GWR: What do you hope readers will take away from Two for the Road?
CG: If you’ve ever wondered “what if”, this story is for you. What if you’d just followed your heart? What if you’d sought out that person you had a crush on 10 years ago? What if you booked that trip you always wanted to take?
GWR: What books are on your nightstand? What books would be on Gigi’s?
CG: Gigi mentions dozens of books throughout the story (some of her faves), and I’ve included the complete list at the back of Two for the Road. What’s on my TBR stack on nightstand right now: The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren, Forever Hold Your Peace by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune, Someone Else’s Shoes by JoJo Moyes and Asking For a Friend by Kerry Clare.
GWR: If your book was a beverage, what would it be?
CG: London Fog.
GWR: What are you working on now?
CG: I’ve got a super swoony holiday rom-com coming this October 2023 called It Happened One Christmas!
Last modified: March 20, 2023