I've been putting off doing this review, because the book was such a disappointment. The title -- "Romancing the Roads: A Driving Diva's Firsthand Guide" -- suggested to me that this would be more than the usual guide to all the best tourist traps along the road. The book claims: "Unlike typical guides, which read more like phone directories, Romancing the Road is a shared diary of discoveries along America's highways and byways." But the author's "discoveries" are places like Acadia National Park, colonial Williamsburg, and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. These are all popular, beautiful, interesting, and well-known places -- but that's just the point. I don't need a "firsthand guide" to the locations everyone already knows about!Gerry Hempel Davis's selection of accommodations (hotels and restaurants) are similarly unimaginative and undiverse. She lists loads of fabulously expensive and exclusive places (like The Homestead, in Hot Springs, Virginia) but very few off-the-beaten-track places that might be a bit less pricey and a lot more interesting. Also, Davis provides a long list of plantations near Richmond, Virginia. Describing these plantations, she gushes, "Virginia's plantations are outstanding. Many are open to the public. In historic Charleston City County along Route 5, a short distance from Richmond, the James River plantations are exceptional." She says nothing about the slave economy that made those plantations possible. This might not bother everyone, but it bothers me a lot. Southern plantation society is a part of our history, but so is slavery, and to present the first as a wonderful example of gracious Southern living while ignoring the second, without which that gracious Southern living would not have been possible, is unconscionable in my view. Ninety pages further on, in a section on Charleston, South Carolina, she does mention that it was in that city that "one-third of the nation's slaves arrived in the New World to be sold on the riverfront at the market" -- then quickly adds, "In spite of this dark mark in history, there was a large number of free blacks in the area. It must not be overlooked these inhabitants came with skills, one of the most impressive being iron working." It's unclear whether she's saying that only the free blacks had these skills, or whether she realizes that the beautiful "iron gates and balconies all around" Charleston were made by unpaid slave labor. She also does not mention that, however many free slaves there were in Charleston before the Civil War, they were in constant danger of being re-enslaved. There was no such thing at that time as a person with black skin who had legal rights that were certain and could not be taken away. But the author appears to be much more taken with how polite Charlestonians are, and with the city's reputation as "the best-mannered city in the nation."