Erica Ryan is beyond ready to be home after a horrible business meeting in London. She doesn’t want to chat with strangers, especially not the bubbly woman who’s been talking to everyone in the terminal and on their plane.
Abby Hayes loves her life, travelling wherever and whenever she feels like it and is happy to be stopping in to visit her mother in New York City before taking off again for her next adventure. She notices the beautiful redhead in the business suit, but learns quickly that Erica doesn’t want to anything to do with her.
When their flight makes an emergency landing in Gander, Newfoundland, Abby and Erica learn the horrible truth that planes were flown into the Twin Towers in New York, and that they’re grounded until further notice.
I hated Erica at the beginning of the book, so much so that I might have bailed if I hadn’t been listening to the audio version or if it had been any other author. She’s rude and short-tempered, cynical to the point of looking for the worst at every opportunity. And yet, she changes so much over the course of 96 Hours that by the end, she’s my favourite character. She perfectly embodies the transformative nature of negative circumstances, specifically how a person can uncover strengths and new sides of themselves that they didn’t know they had.
Abby is warm and kind and everything that Erica isn’t–including flighty. With her “life is too short not to enjoy it” code, she’s living out of a bag as she travels anywhere whimsy takes her. Although Abby’s arc isn’t as big as Erica’s, I still liked it very much and I love where she is at the end of the book.
The rest of the people, whether from the plane or the town of Gander, are great and round out the cast well. As the resident Canadian reviewer at The Lesbian Review, I can confirm that yes, many Canadians actually are that nice.
The Writing Style
96 Hours is beautifully written. Setting a romance against 9/11 is no easy feat, but Georgia Beers handles it so sensitively, balancing the tragedy against the healing bonds of friendship. I was particularly pleased that, while most of the book does happen within a 96-hour time frame, the relationship between Erica and Abby never feels contrived.
Romy Nordlinger’s narration is excellent and I highly recommend picking this up as an audio book.
Excellent, believable character arcs. Side characters that truly add to the story. Seeing community forged quickly, yet meaningfully, through collective adversity.
Not really a con, but like I said, I hated Erica at first. If you do too, I’d urge you to press on because she gets so much better.
96 Hours is a beautiful book that I wholeheartedly recommend. If you’re at all into audio books, I especially recommend that you listen to it, because Romy Nordlinger does a phenomenal job of bringing Georgia Beers’s words to life.
Excerpt from 96 Hours by Georgia Beers
Abby stopped in midaction and stared at her in disbelief. “You’re not surprised?”
Erica shook her head. “No. I’m not.”
Abby studied her for several seconds before she issued a dismissive scoff and continued getting her things together. “Well, I am. Are you saying we deserved this? As Americans?”
“Of course not. That’s not what I said. Nobody deserves this. I said I’m not surprised it happened, that’s all.”
“Seriously, Erica, it must suck to have so little faith in humanity. Wow.” She noticed Corinne’s subtle little wave and was relieved to have a reason to end the conversation. “Tim must be here.” She shouldered her backpack, scooped up her Walmart bag, and headed toward the lobby without waiting.
“Damn,” Erica muttered. Speaking her mind didn’t often win her friends and admirers, but she’d learned to live with it. She told herself that Abby’s dismissal meant nothing to her, that it didn’t sting at all. Of course, she knew she was lying—and that bugged her even more.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781932859843
- Publisher: Bywater Books
- Audio book publisher: Audible Studios
- Narrated by: Romy Nordlinger
Georgia Beers Online