traveling light book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

When Alissa discovers the ashes of a man named Roger Hart in a storage unit she impulsively purchases, it becomes the start of an incredible journey across the country with her three-legged dog Casserole, a teenage waitress named Blossom, and the people they meet on their travels to starting a new life.

Life is messy and there are often very few happy endings, as Lynne Branard heartbreakingly documents in Traveling Light. Alissa is easy to relate to; she’s stuck in her current existence, not really knowing what direction she wants to go. Her father wants her to take over the family business, and she’s not sure she wants it, but it is all she knows. Blossom is wise for her age, and has experienced so much more in her life than Alissa has in her own. Blossom challenges her to take risks, open closed doors, and begin an honest dialogue between herself and her family.

I was conflicted about Traveling Light. On the one hand, I loved the road trip, Facebook documentation of travels, and Blossom most of all. If there is anyone I would want to relate to the most, it’s Blossom, not Alissa. Despite a broken heart and a miscarriage, Blossom still manages to see the good in everything. Alissa, however, seems very shut down and closed off. Sometimes Traveling Light was difficult to read due to my mixed feelings about Alissa, and perhaps understanding her just a little bit too well.

While the book may not offer the happily-ever-after that a romance reader might want, it does offer a realistic one. New beginnings are created, closure is received where it’s needed, and Alissa begins a surprising new journey of her own. Traveling Light might not have been exactly what I wanted in a book, but it did offer me what I needed–a few new perspectives on life, love, and moving forward.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.