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A Publishers Weekly Top-10 Travel Book: A couple embarks on an auto race, and whether it’s the antique car or the marriage, something’s bound to break down…
Dina Bennett nicknamed her restored 1940 Cadillac LaSalle “Roxanne.” In the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, it was known as Car 84, one of 125 classic cars competing in a breathtaking antique auto race. And so Dina embarked from China’s Great Wall with, at the very least, enthusiasm and a roomy front seat. It doesn’t matter that she’s the least likely navigator on any continent, or that she’s a daydreamer prone to carsickness, or that inside she’s riddled with self-doubt. Because behind the wheel is Bernard, her mechanically inclined, thrill-seeking perfectionist of a husband. Besides, the race is only eight thousand miles. What could possibly go wrong?
As Dina and Bernard nurse Roxanne across the Gobi, Siberia, and the Baltic states and south to Paris, Dina wrestles with nuts and bolts, dodges rock-throwing Mongolians, endures a sandstorm facial, and locks horns with Russians seemingly left over from Stalin’s Intourist era. Yet never once does Dina abandon the absurd hope that she can turn herself into a person of courage and patience.
Funny, self-deprecating, and marred by only a few acts of great fortitude, Peking to Paris is first and foremost a voyage of renewal. It’s for every woman who’s ever doubted herself, and for any man who wanted to join her on that road to re-discovery, albeit off the beaten tourist path. All in all “a fun ride, worth the trip” (Kirkus Reviews).