A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before. “Tender, touching, original, and rich with delicious period detail of Hollywood’s heyday—buckle up, because you’ll definitely want to go on a road trip after reading this delightful book!”—Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage. Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival. In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.

Ballantine Books 352 pages

  • Reviews

Susan Walters Peterson

about 3 years ago

Woman Enters Left takes readers along for the ride in this original, cleverly written, poignant story of two very different road trips, each of them a journey of discovery. In 1926, Ethel and Florrie head west from Newark to Nevada; two old friends who rediscover their deep friendship while revealing secrets both startling and terrifying. In 1952, movie star Louise Wilde sets off for the East Coast, after she receives an inheritance which includes pictures of her mother, who died when she was six. Looking for answers about her mother, and coming to terms with a career and marriage that are both floundering, Louise embarks on her own road trip. The stories of the three women and Louises Dad, Carl, are told with humor and heart. Jessica Brockmole makes use of journals, grocery lists, and letters to enhance the telling of this story. Who knew that a grocery list could be so compelling, but those lists enhanced the story and revealed so much about the characters. The three women truly come to life on the pages of this book; their talents, their foibles, their desires, their dreams, their hearts.