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Two Steps Forward

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  10,387 ratings  ·  1,504 reviews
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, i
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 2nd 2017)
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Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started this book I found it a little slow and a little too full of details about walking, finding accommodation and what they had for breakfast. But it surely did not stay like that!

As Martin and Zoe take their first tentative steps along the walking trail they also begin a romance which is by turns funny and sad, and full of misunderstandings. The cover picture says it all. There is Zoe on one stretch of the path and Martin with his little cart on a whole separate section. Occasi
Zoe, an artist from California, and Martin, an engineer from England, find themselves on The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago. It’s a centuries-old pilgrim route that ends in Santiago in northwest Spain. They plan to join other walkers following the route, each having their own reasons for doing so. Zoe recently lost her husband in a car accident and Martin is recovering from an acrimonious divorce. He’s also testing out a cart he’s designed that might replace the need to carry backp ...more
Producervan in Cornville, AZ from New Orleans & L.A.
Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist.

Enjoyable fictional account about a man and a woman’s trek on the Camino, starting in France and on into Spain. Told from each of their points of view, you’ll find this part travelogue and part romance. Some hikers are on a spiritual journey and some are avoiding their spiritual journeys whilst others learn what love really is. Truly inspiring change, resolution and growth for many of the characters while sharing a realistic view of traversing
I was first on the list at my local library for Two Steps Forward, as I have been eagerly awaiting any new work with Graeme Simsion's name attached. I was obviously overly excited because Two Steps Forward did very little for me. The parts I did enjoy and warranted all the stars was meeting all the characters in the midst of their Camino de Santiago pilgrimage to Spain. It was so interesting to see everyone's reason for making the religious pilgrimage, and not only did I learn something new but ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two Steps Forward is a novel written by Australian husband and wife author team, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. When Zoe and Martin arrive in France, neither of them does so with the Camino de Santiago in mind. Engineer, Dr Martin Eden has just gone through an acrimonious divorce, giving up his home and job for a temporary teaching position in Cluny. An aspiring artist whose fledgling career was aborted by marriage and the birth of her two (now adult) daughters, Zoe Witt is a recent widow. Her h ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read this because it was a Book Club selection by someone in my club that obviously hates me.
I gave this 1 star but would give it 0 if I could.

This is badly written. It is pedestrian, predictable and plodding (puns intended).
I was NOT impressed with Simsion's ROSIE PROJECT and it seems his writing has gone downhill from there.

Why, oh why do people who walk the Camino think they need to write a book about it to illuminate the rest of us on its transformative powers? Please, just don't.
From page
Sharon Metcalf
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, edelweiss
Two Steps Forward by husband and wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist was an uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable novel. Though completely different from Simsion's "Rosie" series it contained a number of my favourite elements. For example the writing was engaging so that once started I didn't want to stop reading, the characters were likeable, the story well executed and the setting interesting. Having walked the Chemin/Camino themselves - from Cluny in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain ...more
I have heard about the Camino walk because a friend's husband walked much of it, I heard an interview about it on the radio by another person who walked it, so when Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist presented itself, I opened it and started reading with interest. I have no desire to walk it myself but I was very happy to vicariously experience it this way.

It is described in acknowledgements at the end of the book as a mature-age love story, and it is, but so much more. It is abo
Liz Leiby
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of this book has tons of promise but the execution is weak, to say the least. There are two POVs, but it felt like the same character. If I forgot to look at the chapter heading, I almost wouldn't have known which character was talking, there was no distinct voice for each. The character development is, again, weak.

The plot was so scattered I felt like I was reading a rough draft, or an outline of an idea... it was wildly underdeveloped. I couldn't decide if it was poor writing or e
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
[3.5 stars] I like the idea of going on a walking "pilgrimage" to work through life's problems. ("The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Frye" and "Wild" are two favorites of mine) This is the premise of Two Steps Forward. Zoe and Martin, both middle aged, are separately walking "The Chemin" through France and Spain. I enjoyed both of their journeys and the description of the trail and wish I could go on this walk! It sounds like a very appealing experience.

The alternating narratives sometimes felt
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of David Nicholls
I debated whether or not to add this book to my Travel shelf because it shouldn't really fit; it's fiction. But the authors explain in their Authors' Note that they were very careful about being accurate with routes, timings and locations, and taking only occasional liberties with accommodation and restaurants, based on their own experiences of walking the Chemin/Camino twice in 4 years. It's just the characters that are fictional. I was convinced, so there it sits.

Martin and Zoe are strangers,
Text Publishing
‘Simsion and Australian psychiatrist Buist have written an insightful study of loss, grief, and the possibility of romance after.’
Library Journal

‘This is the sort of book that you can easily imagine being filmed, with strong set pieces, gorgeous scenery, and lots of heart and humour.’

‘The leisurely paced novel explores themes of forgiveness and self-discovery with gentle humour…A feel-good, mature romance that explores what we need to let go of to move forward.’

‘I en
Barbara H
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, travel, book-club

It was a treat to read this book! As I progressed more deeply in my reading, I became increasingly enthralled. I had heard of the Camino or the Way, a centuries old pilgrimage traversing much of France and Spain, but the narrative by these authors did much to familiarize me with the routes and the myriad reasons of people to undertake these treks. Whether one is a pelerin , a peregrino , or a pilgrim, the reasons for the walk varied widely. It seemed that the religious pilgrimage was r
Love Fool
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 book is about two characters, Zoe and Martian who decide to take this journey separately to heal. The book took me forever to read and I didn't really care for it. I felt it was boring. I shouldn't be surprised that I did
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I only read this because it was chosen for my book club and I can’t stand it when people don’t finish my choices.
This book is so awful. Zoe the smarmy vegetarian walks the Camino with Martin the bore. A series of misunderstandings and miscommunication means hilarity ensues. No it doesn’t, it’s just predictable blah blah blah. From the description of the blisters I’m sure the authors read Cheryl Strayed’s brilliant memoir Wild. I’m fascinated by the Camino but this book would have you believe th
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written diary of two travelers whose paths cross repeatedly. A love story and a journey to finding oneself. Inspiring! I want to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostella myself now!
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As good as the Rosie Project, this collaborative husband/wife writing team effort is just as easy to recommend.

Told in alternating chapters, we follow Martin (recently divorced Brit) & Zoe (recently widowed American) as they traverse part of the Camino trail from France to Spain. They don't set off together, their paths only cross occasionally, & they are both walking for very different reasons - but they both have important lessons to learn, some even from each other.

A well written, humorous bo
Kate Olson
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-reads
What a beautiful story! I have loved everything Simsion has written, and while this book is quite different than his other work, it is just as wonderful. It is a quiet and contemplative story of perseverance, testing the limits of both the physical and mental self, family, and overcoming loss. The France/Spain setting is amazing, and I have been fascinated of the stories of the pilgramages made on the Chemin/Camino since a family friend made the journey several years ago. In the back pages of th ...more
Maya Panika
A British man and an American woman walk the Camino—almost by accident. Both have their own reasons for undertaking the walk. Martin wants to test and sell a cart he has developed, and escape his failed marriage. Zoe is recently, suddenly, widowed and doesn’t know how to move on with her life. They start out apart—not even liking each other, then, slowly (oh, SO slowly), a relationship begins to develop.
An interesting premise, but I’m afraid I found Two Steps almost as hard going as walking the
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This was an entertaining read and reignited my interest in walking the Camino. I enjoyed following Martin and Zoe on their journey to Santiago. It was filled with many wonderful characters just like you would expect to meet on the walk. Both authors personal experience with The Way is quite evident with the attention to detail and the descriptions of the many villages and accomodation places visited along the way. As well as the wonderful friendships that can develop. The Camino has a way of bri ...more
Katie B
Every year, thousands of walkers follow a centuries old pilgrim route from France to Spain. The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is walked by people who are hoping to experience the life changing effects that the journey is well known to bring to people who complete it. Zoe has come to France still reeling from her husband's sudden death. Martin is recovering from a messy divorce. They both set off the pilgrimage alone but seem to keep bumping into one another while staying in the s ...more
Sharon J
I have to say that this was a great book! Loved it. Read it in one day - I just couldn't put it down.

While this is a fiction story the authors share with us that they undertook the Chemin/Camino from Cluny to Santiago de Compostela in 2011 - 87 days and 2038 kms and the Cluny to St Jean Pied de Port and on to Santiago via Camino Frances in 2016 - 79 days and approximately 1900kms! The Camino with all its different variations is an incredible feat to undertake.

The publisher’s blurb is an excelle
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ebook for review***

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.

An inspiring fiction read particulary for those interested in doing the Camino prilgrimage. The romantic twist adds another element to the story. It started off a li
Amy Jasper
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collaboration between Australian writing powerhouse couple, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, is a satisfying page-turning romantic comedy, with an accurate and fascinating travel diary side-story.

Graeme and Anne have walked sections of the Camino on more than one occasion, and it shows in the detailed and intimate descriptions of the trail itself and the towns and villages encountered along the way.

The central characters, Martin and Zoe, will draw the reader along as a passenger on their indi
**3.5 stars**
I wanted to really love this book and although I did enjoy it, it just didn't reach that height.
I've read a few books about travels on the Camino Trail (not all non fiction) and maybe I was expecting more of the same.
If your looking for a book where people lost in life find their way while on the trail, then this is a good one.
If your looking for a book more about the trail and it's trials and tribulations then this may fall short.
Thank you to Text Publishing and Goodreads for a co
Jul 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
{ 1 star }

Wow. Legitimately so bad. It takes so much for me to give a book 1 star but I have legitimately nothing good to say about this book. It was incredibly dry and boring, the entire thing could've been shortened into a 100 page novel and still packed the same punch, maybe even more.
Kate Forsyth
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A charming romantic comedy set on the Camino Trail, Two Steps Forward is told in alternating chapters between the voices of Martin, an engineer from Yorkshire, and Zoe, an artist from California. Both are struggling with hurt and bereavement in their lives. Martin is in the midst of a messy divorce, and trying to rebuild his relationship with his teenage daughter. Zoe’s husband has recently died, leaving her exhausted in mind and body, and not sure how to go on in her life alone.

The couple firs
Great story! I kept forgetting that the chapter after Zoe's chapter was Martin's and vice versa and kept getting confused initially when I forgot that it wasn't a continuing on of the previous chapter, so that was a little annoying, but the story was great. Loved the description of walking the Chemin/Camino, although does anyone actually start walking the Chemin/Camino and continue doing it - at a rate of 25km each day for about 3 months - without ANY sort of training?!! But it is a novel, and I ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Lovely love story about two wandering souls. A common journey told alternatingly out of his and her perspective. Beautifully written. The stories literally suck you in and it's like you're walking the camino yourself!
I think this book is not as well known as The Rosie Project by the same author, but it is at least just as good. Different but wonderful!
Great read! Highly recommended!
Lance Greenfield
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of two people following the ancient pilgrimage route from south west France, over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain. The Camino Trail, also known as the Chemin de Santiago is an arduous walk which is well supported by the population along the way. To say that some hostels are better than others is an understatement.

The story is alternately told from the points of view of the two main characters: divorcee Martin, an English inventor and engineer who is testing his buggy, an
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Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant and the author of two nonfiction books on database design who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn his hand to fiction. His first novel, The Rosie Project, was published in 2013 and translation rights have been sold in forty languages. Movie rights have been optioned to Sony Pictures. The sequels, The Rosie Effect, and The Rosie Result, were also bestselle ...more

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The frescos flickered in candlelight and stained-glass men looked down upon me benevolently as the monks' singing brought pieces of me apart. Maybe this was why I had come, why I was meant to be here. I saw tears running down Fabiana's cheeks.

Brother Rocher asked in French and English for those wishing to be blessed to come forward. I sat and watched the three Brazilians and half a dozen others move forward in turn. There was a final chant and everyone filed out. Except me.

Centuries of singing, service to others and dedication to something bigger than twenty-first-century materialism had created a peace that permeated the walls. Whatever issues I had with religion were not relevant here. The stillness and austerity gave me a strange sense of comfort, and I seemed to be moving toward some sort of clarity.”
“I had begun to realise how much I'd adapted to Keith's needs and preferences. Just small stuff: what time we went to bed, which side I slept on, not cooking cauliflower. Allowances and adaptions anyone in a long-term relationship has to make, accumulating over time. But I wasn't in a relationship anymore. I wanted to know what of myself needed to be reclaimed.” 2 likes
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