The Holiday Detour

Sometimes it takes everything going wrong to make you see how right things are.

Dana Gottfried is a stressed-out Jewish lesbian who’s just quit her job and wants to get home to see her grandmother. When her car breaks down in Indiana on Christmas Eve, Dana is stranded—until she’s rescued by Charlie, a pig farmer who doesn’t identify as male or female. Although they come from different worlds, Dana is intrigued by Charlie’s sense of humor and kindness. Despite her better judgment, Dana says yes when Charlie offers a ride.

But the journey home is paved with detours. From car accidents to scheming ex-girlfriends to a snowy and deserted Chicago Loop, everything that could go wrong on their road trip does, but it leads Dana on a path of self-discovery that just might end in love.

Content advisory: This book contains instances of misgendering. 

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What Reviewers Are Saying

The Holiday Detour had me with its opening scene and it didn’t let go until its very end. Jane Kolven knows the importance of a hook and uses it most effectively. One is immediately engaged in this charming romance and motivated to keep turning pages late into the night. Her entertaining storytelling is filled with energy and smiles throughout. At its conclusion, readers will most certainly be searching for Kolven’s next book. Fortunately, readers won’t have to wait too long; the Queen Has a Cold is slated for early next year.

For me, Kolven’s holiday homecoming was like a shape-shifting of John Candy’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles into a Meg Ryan rom-com. This adventure of misadventure has so many “John Candy moments,” one can not help but giggle throughout. Dana Gottfried is the feisty and adorable heroine of this cross-country Christmas adventure. Though she’s prone to flaking out, readers are sympathetic to her troubles and antics. They like her and can relate to her. She has this Meg Ryan-ness about her that is just sooo appealing.

Charlie is the other main character in this heart warming romance. Charlie is a nonbinary trying to live their life in the most honest and authentic way they can. When they spot Dana stranded along the road, they turn around to offer help, proving they are the perfect empathetic hero. Charlie is kind, thoughtful, patient and generous. They are also quite taken with Dana. Offering Dana a ride to Chicago turns out to be more than a simple road trip; it turns out to be a journey of a lifetime.

Kolven is a talented writer, no doubt; The Holiday Detour is a compelling and entertaining romance, for sure. This book showcases her ability to use dialog effectively and masterfully. She can create tension and drive the plot forward in the most amusing and engrossing ways. The witty banter between Dana and Charlie is so delightful and charming; readers will laugh out loud at their lively conversations.

The most remarkable thing about Kolven, though, is her ability to connect with readers through her creative word choices and descriptions. She shows, rather than tells. She can take the most mundane and ordinary thing, like eating a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and make it refreshing and thought provoking. Readers “see it” and “feel it” by her beautiful use of language and word building.

I would encourage anyone who loves fun, quirky romances to read The Holiday Detour. It’s a highly entertaining and completely satisfying read. Jane Kolven is a writer that knows how to bring substance to a feel-good romantic comedy.

The Lesbian Book Blog, September 9, 2020

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