Review: Driving in Circles by Rita D’Orazio

★★★★½ Driving in Circles by Rita D’Orazio

Driving in Circles, by Rita D’Orazio, is an intriguing story that revolves around one family and their secrets.

Henry and Cynthia Jones are celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary by going on a ten-day cruise. They decide to bring along their three daughters and one son-in-law. What could go wrong? Plenty.

After two days, the youngest daughter leaves mysteriously. Jat thinks she knows why Joyce has left, but does she know the whole truth?

The older sister Skye is seen by her husband and Jat meeting with a handsome stranger. Why?

In the midst of all this drama is the happy anniversary couple, and they’re exhibiting strange behavior.

Can the family overcome all the mysterious situations and distractions?

The amount of family drama makes for entertaining reading. Most readers can relate to family members acting oddly and that’s the appeal for books like Driving in Circles. Not only can we relate, but it’s nice to know we aren’t the only ones with craziness behind closed doors.

As the reader progresses, the author reveals clues about all the different secrets. Some are alarming. Others are shocking. And the rest falls into typical family drama. Mixing all of these components makes for a suspenseful read. Which secret will surface? How will the family cope? Can they overcome?

Family drama isn’t the only issue that D’Orazio explores. She delves into the relationships between partners, exposing even more hidden secrets. Most outsiders don’t know what’s going on in the family home when the door is shut, but even family members are kept in the dark when it comes to marriages and relationships.

It’s hard at times to determine which characters to believe in. Should the reader trust one sister over the other? The son-in-law? The parents? Partners? Friends? Complicating the issue is the fact that the reader senses from the beginning that most of the characters have a hidden agenda and just when you think you’re figuring things out, there’s another twist that makes you take a step back to assess everything. It’s possible you won’t even trust your own intuition and that keeps you engaged in the story. The need to know all propels the reader from the beginning to end. And the overarching goal is to unearth juicy secrets that most of us crave.

The author is able to weave a complicated tale, including many revolving parts, in a clear and concise way. Her prose is simple and the goal is to tell an addictive story. At times she stumbles into sharing too many details about characters that really don’t add to the plot but bog it down, such as Daniel’s employee. It’s not always easy for authors to kill their darlings. Fortunately, these distractions are minor and the reader is able to quickly reengage.

While much of the focus is on the drama of secrets, this story is an emotional rollercoaster.  It’s the type of book that will resonate with many, and makes for a wonderful distraction from our own personal family drama and destructive secrets.

Rita D’Orazio’s Author Site

Review Overview


  • Chris Leahy

    Great review! The narrative flow has an eloquent feel to it, so quaintly written. Very well dissected.