Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

Posted August 6, 2018 by Karen in Books, Reviews /


Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne BuistTwo Steps Forward

by: Graeme Simsion, Anne Buist
Published by:William Morrow Paperbacks on May 1, 2018
Genres:Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Publisher
Purchase: link link link link

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project comes a story of taking chances and learning to love again as two people, one mourning her husband and the other recovering from divorce, cross paths on the centuries-old Camino pilgrimage from France to Spain.

“The Chemin will change you. It changes everyone…”

The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a centuries-old pilgrim route that ends in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Every year, thousands of walkers—some devout, many not—follow the route that wends through quaint small villages and along busy highways alike, a journey unlike any other.

Zoe, an artist from California who’s still reeling from her husband’s sudden death, has impulsively decided to walk the Camino, hoping to find solace and direction. Martin, an engineer from England, is road-testing a cart of his own design…and recovering from a messy divorce. They begin in the same French town, each uncertain of what the future holds. Zoe has anticipated the physical difficulties of her trek, but she is less prepared for other challenges, as strangers and circumstances force her to confront not just recent loss, but long-held beliefs. For Martin, the pilgrimage is a test of his skills and endurance but also, as he and Zoe grow closer, of his willingness to trust others—and himself—again.

Smart and funny, insightful and romantic, Two Steps Forward reveals that the most important journeys we make aren’t measured in miles, but in the strength, wisdom, and love found along the way. Fans of The Rosie Project will recognize Graeme Simsion’s uniquely quirky and charming writing style.


*I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) is a network of pilgrimage paths throughout Europe that leads to shrine of St.James in the Santiago de Compostela . ‘Two Steps Forward’ follows Marin, a Brit, and Zoe, an American as they walk the Camino.


I  read about the Camino in a previous novels but I misunderstood what it is. I thought it is like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact it’s more of a pilgrimage and less of a hike. The pilgrims stay at hotels and hostels and predominantly eat at restaurants instead of camping as hikers would along the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.


‘Two Steps Forward’ is packed full of information about the Camino. I loved the experiences that the Camino can offer. For example a chance to challenge oneself. A chance to meet people. It is also a religious experience and a chance to really see Europe up close.


While Zoe and Martin as characters really grew as the story went along, both characters were secondary to the Camino. The Camino is a character in itself and is really the centerpiece of the story.


I really enjoyed Zoe and Martins budding romance. I would have enjoyed seeming them walking the Camino more together. Theirs is an especially realistic love story as it is slow to develop and begins as a friendship.


Some things I really noticed about the story is just the abundance of information it presented. I really found the map of the Camino in the front of the book especially useful. I used it to trace Zoe and Martin’s route. Since the story seemed to be geared toward a European audience, I would have found a glossary of British, Spanish, and French terms and terms that related to the Camino really useful.


One thing about ‘Two Steps Forward’ that really left me wanting more is some of the disparaging things said about different cultures in the story. Since I am American I noticed the passages about Americans the most. The story kind of characterizes Americans as loud and naïve.

For example:


‘…he didn’t seem more arrogant than half the Americans I know’


‘Two couples from Zoe’s homeland were talking loudly. As they do.’


(American tourist speaking)’Do they use Pesos in Spain?’


‘It hit me how load we-and maybe Brazilians-are compared to Europeans’


This rubbed me kind of wrong. America is a huge country with many regional and sub-cultural differences. Having worked in a major international tourist destination, I don’t really find Americans in general to be either loader or more naïve than Europeans. I also found Zoe to often not sound very American. An example of this is when Zoe refers to ‘Upstate California’. In almost all states, including California, the northern part of the state is simply called northern California, northern Florida, northern Virginia etc. The only state I’ve never heard upstate used in reference to is New York (and this is to differentiate it from New York city).


I really enjoyed ‘Two Steps Forward’ and really loved learning about the Camino. The premise of ‘Two Steps Forward’ is very unique and interesting. I definitely recommend as an introduction to the Camino de Santiago.










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Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

About Karen

Karen is a native Orlandoian and still lives there with her family. She loves reading Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction ,’Chick Lit', YA, and Southern Fiction. Some of her favorite things are fuzzy animals, Bigalow tea, and air-conditioning.
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