In Trish Doller’s Off the Map, two lost souls find each other during a road trip across Ireland.
Carla Black is a bit of a rolling stone, traveling the world in her old Jeep Wrangler. She’s careful not to stay in one place too long, form attachments or put down roots. Her next adventure is a drive through the Irish countryside to attend her best friend’s wedding. The groom’s best friend, Eamon Sullivan, has been tasked with meeting up with Carla in Dublin and helping her navigate to the venue.
The attraction is immediate when the pair meet at a local pub, and they end the night by hooking up in Eamon’s apartment. It’s refreshing to see two characters recognize their connection, satisfy their curiosity and handle the morning after like adults, especially since they’ll be stuck in a car together for a few days.
Close quarters lead to more nights together, but also deep conversations. Traveling is one of Cara’s last ways of connecting with her father, whose early onset dementia is getting progressively worse. She’s been honoring his love of travel by seeing the world on her own, but she wonders how sustainable and healthy her nomadic lifestyle really is. Meanwhile, Eamon realizes he’s never prioritized himself and his own dreams of venturing outside Ireland.
The trip is only supposed to take a few hours, but Carla’s penchant for exploration and Eamon’s desire to start taking more risks in life have the two of them taking all manner of beautiful, disastrous and hilarious detours in the Irish countryside. Doller’s detailed prose creates a noticeable sense of wonder as readers experience Ireland from the perspectives of both a first-timer and a local who is learning to look at the land with a new set of eyes. With its lush pine woods and mischievous herds of sheep, Off the Map could have been commissioned by Ireland’s board of tourism.
Steamier than the previous books in Doller’s Beck Sisters series (Float Plan, The Suite Spot), Off the Map is a sexy romp across the rolling green hills of Ireland. It’s easy to forget that Carla and Eamon have somewhere to be and can’t spend the entirety of their trip tucked away in the corner of a cozy pub or dancing beneath the stars. Romantic and whimsical, Off the Map will leave readers craving adventure and perhaps even tempt them into booking a trip to the Emerald Isle.