Tomorrow, Off the Map by Trish Doller hits shelves everywhere, and I was excited to get an early copy of it. This is actually the third installment in her Beck Sisters series, and I admittedly haven’t read the first two books yet. I’ve been reading romance series out of order more and more lately… not sure what that says about the state of my mind, but at least they (mostly) work as standalones! Off the Map particularly piqued my interest due to its setting in Ireland. This is a country I have a particular fondness for, not least of all because my sister lives there. This novel offers the chance to explore the Emerald Isle in a touristic yet off-the-beaten-path kind of way.
Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an ARC of this book!
Carla Black has just arrived in Ireland to attend her friend Anna’s wedding. Meeting her in Dublin is the groom’s brother, Eamon Sullivan, who will accompany her across the country to the wedding’s destination. But these two strangers hit it off right away, and their mutual attraction leads to some wild detours. Over the course of a few days, they connect both physically and mentally, but Carla isn’t ready for a relationship. She’s spent the last decade running, ever since her beloved father was diagnosed with dementia. Before she can open up her heart, she needs to reconnect with her dad before it’s too late. With both touristic frivolity and emotional depth, Off the Map explores Ireland, love, and a father-daughter relationship torn asunder by a devastating disease.
From the first chapter, Off the Map feels (mostly) lighthearted and energetic. Carla Black spends most of the year traveling the world, and her latest stop is Ireland. She’s actually here for her best friend’s wedding, but when she meets the groom’s brother Eamon, Carla is instantly down for a little vacation fling. I’m no stranger to steamy scenes in romance, but I was surprised how quickly these two get physical. What should be a quick trip from Dublin to the small town on the other side of the country turns into detour after detour as Carla and Eamon explore both each other and Ireland’s lesser-known landmarks.
Off the Map hits the ground running, and as ridiculous as Carla and Eamon are, it’s fun to see them go camping in a nearby forest and attempt some off-roading on the way to the wedding. Sometimes they just get side-tracked, and sometimes things actually go wrong to slow down their journey. But over the days they spend together, they really bond on an emotional level (in addition to their lust for each other!).
The first half of the book may be deceptively fun and action-packed. However, there are clues along the way of the emotional depth that will hit readers in the second half. Carla occasionally muses about her childhood, being raised by a single parent who took her all over the world. But when her dad was diagnosed with dementia, Carla closed herself off and used travel as a distraction from her feelings. After the wedding takes place, will Carla be able to keep growing closer to Eamon and pursue something serious with him? Will she continue to run from her real life and a shot at a real relationship? Or will she mend her scars and finally face her dad after all this time?
In contrast to the first half of Off the Map, the second half gets surprisingly emotional. My own grandmother also had dementia, and I could understand Carla’s pain at seeing her dad becoming disoriented and forgetting who she was at times. This latter part of the book made me cry quite a bit, but while it’s heavy, it’s also pure and honest.
Between the two halves of Off the Map, the pacing may feel uneven. From seeing Carla and Eamon constantly together and having a good time to seeing Carla work through her relationship with her dad, it can feel unbalanced. And yet, both parts are enjoyable in their own ways. Whether you like the tourism and easy-going romance or the emotional weight of seeing a parent with dementia, both halves offer something valuable.
The book does end nicely, and I love seeing where Carla and Eamon are at with each other a year later. I’m not sure how the book could have been better balanced, but for what it offers, it is a joyous and sweet ride.
Off the Map is a surprising book, from the instant connection between Carla and Eamon and their romp through Ireland to the heart-wrenching scenes between Carla and her dad. Be prepared for some whiplash between the two halves of the book, but if you can appreciate both the fun and the depth, this is a book that explores the range of emotions.
Since this is the third book in the Beck Sisters series, I do plan to go back and read the first two, Float Plan and The Suite Spot.
Get the Book
You can buy Off the Map here – it’s available as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
|Off the Map by Trish Doller|
|Series||Beck Sisters (#3)|
|Number of Pages||272|
|Format I Read||ebook (NetGalley)|
|Original Publication Date||March 7, 2023|
On the road to love, you don’t need a GPS…
Carla Black’s life motto is “here for a good time, not for a long time.” She’s been traveling the world on her own in her vintage Jeep Wrangler for nearly a decade, stopping only long enough to replenish her adventure fund. She doesn’t do love and she doesn’t ever go home.
Eamon Sullivan is a modern-day cartographer who creates digital maps. His work helps people find their way, but he’s the one who’s lost his sense of direction. He’s unhappy at work, recently dumped, and his one big dream is stalled out—literally.
Fate throws them together when Carla arrives in Dublin for her best friend’s wedding and Eamon is tasked with picking her up from the airport. But what should be a simple drive across Ireland quickly becomes complicated with chemistry-filled detours, unexpected feelings, and a chance at love – if only they choose it.
Trish Doller’s idyllic romance, Off the Map, proves sometimes a wrong turn can lead to the exact right destination.
About the Author
Trish Doller is a writer, traveler, and dog rescuer, but not necessarily in that order. She is the author of Float Plan, The Suite Spot, and Off the Map. She has also written several YA novels, including the critically acclaimed Something Like Normal. When she’s not writing, Trish loves sailing, camping, and avoiding housework. She lives in southwest Florida with an opinionated herding dog and an ex-pirate. Find Trish on Twitter and Instagram at @trishdoller.
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