Trish Doller's idyllic romance Off the Map proves sometimes a wrong turn can lead to the exact right destination.
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.
Doller takes readers on a rollicking Irish road trip in her wonderful third Beck Sisters rom-com (following The Suite Spot). Free-spirited Carla Black meets Eamon Sullivan, the brother of her best friend's fiancé, when he comes to pick her up from the Dublin airport and drive her to the countryside for the wedding—and she knows immediately that they'll be falling into the "cliché" of the "maid of honor and the best man hooking up." After all, just looking at Eamon is "like trying to stare directly at an eclipse and not go blind." After a night of witty banter and hot sex, the pair set off on the road—unaware that the trip will change both their lives. Carla was raised by a single father, the loving but now ailing Douglas "Biggie" Black, who gave her the passion for adventure that's followed her into her nomadic and spontaneous adult life. Meanwhile, Eamon has always wanted to see the world, but he's had too many family responsibilities to find time to leave Ireland. Just a few exciting days on the road together are enough to have Clara questioning her tendency to run from her problems and Eamon ready to slough off his reputation as the "sensible lad" in his family. Doller uses this fun, adventurous romance to explore big themes of home, family, and finding happiness and purpose in life. Readers won't want to put this down.
A fun time in Ireland!
First of all - I grabbed this book when I first dove back into NetGalley and had zero restraint. I received an email with a few romance novels available and I requested them all. Even though I don’t particularly like this cover. (I think it’s the fact that her hair makes it look like it takes place in the 1920s or something, when it does not.) I do appreciate that the cover is actually a scene from the book. That’s not super common.
With that out of the way, this book has a lot of heart. Carla has a lot of baggage (despite traveling with very little baggage! Haha) Her father, the only parent she has, is slowly fading away from her, losing his memory to dementia or Alzheimer's (sorry, I can’t remember which.) He doesn’t want her to watch him suffer, so he tells her to keep traveling—which was their thing—and see as much of the world together as they could. He doesn’t want her to watch him waste away and forget her.
When Carla arrives in Ireland for her BFFs wedding, the grooms brother, Eamon, picks her up. And they almost immediately jump into bed, which is something I absolutely abhor in romance novels. Buuut they won me over in the end. What starts as a fling, becomes so much more once the pair get to know one another.
Eamon is Carla’s opposite. While she’s home, she works as a bartender saving all her money to travel the rest of the time. Eamon has a well paying desk job, and has never given himself the chance to travel, despite his desire to do so. Despite being so opposite, they connect. And experiencing that relationship build up was a joy. And, as with any good book, both of these characters have to face the things in their lives that are pulling them down and make some big choices.
Bonus points for all the descriptions of Ireland. That’s a location on my bucket list, for sure!
So, do I recommend this book? Well, I plan to read books 1 and 2 in the series, so what does that tell you? 😉
Off the Map by Trish Doller is the third book in her popular Beck Sisters series and can easily be read as a stand-alone. So far, Off the Map is my favorite story of the series.
Carla Black has lived her life traveling the world as her only parent, her father taught her when she was growing up. With her jeep named Valentine, she travels the world in search of adventure. She’s a loner and only stays in one place long enough to make more money for her adventure fund. She doesn’t do attachments.
Eamon Sullivan is a cartographer in Dublin. He makes digital maps that help others find their way, but he hasn’t been able to find his own way in a long time. He isn’t happy at work, was recently dumped, and has lost direction in his life.
When fate throws them together, can Eamon and Carla find a way to stay together?
As I said above, this is my favorite of the Beck Sisters' stories so far. I love adventure so I really connected with Carla and her adventurous spirit. Eamon was a very swoon-worthy hero. He comes from a large Irish family but is also vulnerable and damaged.
Although Carla and Eamon become romantic almost instantly, it takes time for their feelings to grow, and as they travel together across Ireland, they start to appreciate each other and become friends as well as lovers. It was clear to me that they are kindred spirits, but it took them some time to figure it out.
I enjoyed their adventures together and loved seeing characters from the first novel in the series.
I highly recommend, Off the Map to anyone who enjoys romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Loved this book. It delighted and gave me a lift from beginning to end. Eamon, Carla and Biggie (who must be included, as his character is, as his name indicates, a large presence in this story) find their way, not only by way of traveling adventures, but to their hearts contentment. So much warmth, heartache, humor, romance and their HEA is woven throughout this book. A lovely read and definite addition to your TBR list.