Book Review: Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip by Gail Ward Olmsted

Posted June 12, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, clean, Gail Ward Olmsted, historical / 2 Comments


Katharine's Remarkable Road Trip book review

Katharine's Remarkable Road Trip by Gail Ward OlmstedKATHARINE’S REMARKABLE ROAD TRIP by Gail Ward Olmsted
GENRE: Biographical Fiction (Clean with mild language)
PUBLISHER: Black Rose Writing
RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2024
PAGES: 242

“Kate makes me want to take a road trip. She’s lovable and charming, and her voice… SO GOOD.” -Kerry Chaput, author of the Defying the Crown series

“An uplifting and heartwarming tale of resilience, friendship, and the pursuit of a life brimming with adventure and purpose.” –Booklist

If you loved Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted, you’ll absolutely adore Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip.

In the fall of 1907, Katharine decides to drive from Newport, Rhode Island to her new home in Jackson, New Hampshire. Despite the concerns of her family and friends that at the age of 77 she lacks the stamina for the nearly 300-mile journey, Katharine sets out alone. Over the next six days, she receives a marriage proposal, pulls an all-nighter, saves a life or two, crashes a high-society event, meets a kindred spirit, faces a former rival, makes a new friend, takes a stroll with a future movie mogul, advises a troubled newlywed, and reflects upon a life well lived: her own!

Join her as she embarks upon her remarkable road trip.


Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip may be a work of fiction but it’s rooted in facts surrounding a fascinating woman who really lived in New England and made important contributions in her lifetime. I had never heard of Katharine Prescott Wormeley before reading Gail Ward Olmsted’s latest novel but I’m glad I know about her now. She never married nor had children but didn’t let that stop her from leading a full life. Katharine was an important nurse and civil servant during the US Civil War and worked tirelessly in those duties, as well as being an author and a popular translator of French novels (by the likes of Balzac, Moliere, Dumas, etc.).

Katharine Prescott Wormeley
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.57143

In Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip, we join Kate at the age of 77 as she embarks on (as the title would suggest) a road trip from her home to Newport, Rhode Island, to her new home in Jackson, New Hampshire. While this road trip and the events therein are a figment of the author’s imagination, it nevertheless gives us a vibrant picture of Kate’s personality, her determination, her friendships, her family dynamics, and her multi-dimensional life. Olmsted takes us along on the journey with Kate, treating us to an inside look at this intriguing woman as well as the people and places of New England in the early 1900s. From friends she stays with on the way to strangers she meets (who quickly become friends) at her various planned (and unplanned!) stops, almost every encounter made me smile. Watching this larger-than-life character somehow manage to steal the spotlight AND simultaneously direct it toward others was lots of fun.

Bottom Line: Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip by Gail Ward Olmsted highlights the later days of a little-talked-about but fascinating spitfire of a woman. In fact, even though the focus of this novel is a fictional solo trip from Rhode Island to New Hampshire at the turn of the century, it could just as easily have been titled ‘Katharine’s Remarkable Life’. The warmth of the writing draws you immediately in to the story, and Katharine’s delightful personality keeps you turning the pages. If you’re a fan of biographical fiction that brings obscure historical figures to life for you, then you must read Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip!

Reviewer’s Note: Readers of this blog may want to be aware that there is occasional mild cursing in this novel – the occurrences are few and far between.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!

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Gail Ward Olmsted

Gail Ward Olmsted was a marketing executive and a college professor before she began writing fiction on a full-time basis. A trip to Sedona, AZ inspired her first novel Jeep Tour. Three more novels followed before she began Landscape of a Marriage, a biographical work of fiction featuring landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a distant cousin of her husband’s, and his wife Mary. After penning a pair of contemporary novels featuring a disgraced attorney seeking a career comeback (Miranda Writes, Miranda Nights) she is back to writing historical fiction featuring an incredible woman with an amazing story.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Katharine’s Remarkable Road Trip by Gail Ward Olmsted

  1. Did I hear road trip? This month, hubby and I are road tripping (add camping) our way to Alaska. 4,000 miles one way. We’re nuts. It’s the third time we’ve done this. When we were first married, I was a let-an-airplane-take-me girl. My husband won me over to adventure. Katherine Prescott Wormeley, I need to meet you in this book!

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