I first discovered Elle Spencer when I came across her first full length novel, Casting Lacey. I fell in love with her writing, and she moved into my “Must Read Everything” list, so I was very excited about The Road to Madison.
This is a second chance romance, which is one of my favorite tropes. Love doesn’t always work out the first time around, but you never know what the future holds. This book shows us what that second chance can look like when lies, deceit, and a controlling parent forces two women apart.
This story is about Madison and Ana. Madison comes from a wealthy family with high expectations. Those expectations do not include her being gay, and certainly not her falling in love with Ana, the daughter of the maid. When Madison’s father finds out about Ana and Madison, he finds a way to ensure that not only will Madison never see Ana again, but she will also tow the line by marrying a suitable man. Once he dies though, Madison is no longer bound by such constraints.
Often, when writers want to reflect on past events, they do so in one long, sometimes painful flashback. This is almost like having two stories in one, and when the blub tells you they have broken up and are now back in each others lives, it’s sometimes hard to sit through a long drawn out retelling of the past. Spencer does not employ this style, and it is one of the things I love about this book. She used flashbacks throughout the present to tell the story of the past. While I would have liked the flashbacks to be in order, I also understand why she placed them where she did. And honestly, we don’t often review our memories in a linear fashion, so it was more true to life.
I loved watching the friendship between the younger Madison and Ana blossom into love. And seeing it all ripped away from them was painful, but I like a book that elicits real emotion. Watching the present day story unfold was frustrating at times. I often felt that while justified, Ana’s anger was misplaced. I did appreciate the ending, but it felt a little incomplete. I would have really liked an epilogue that was further in the future.
Overall, I did love this book. It is absolutely well written, and a great story. Elle Spencer is a fantastic writer, and I will be looking for her next book!