Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Carrie Goes Off The Map by Phillipa Ashley

Posted by Simcha 3:08 AM, under | 2 comments

I love a good road trip story, especially if it involves a bit of romance, and so when I read the the brief blurb provided for Carrie Goes off the Map I thought this would be a book I would really enjoy.

    Carrie lets her best friend talk her into a scenic European road trip as the perfect getaway from a nasty breakup. Unexpectedly along for the ride is the gorgeous Matt Landor, MD, who sorely tests Carrie's determination to give up men altogether. Careening through the English countryside, these two mismatched but perfectly attuned lonely hearts find themselves in hot pursuit of adventure and in entirely uncharted territory.

Unfortunately there is very little travel, or romance, in this story, which was pretty disappointing. Instead, the focus is on Carrie's struggle to get her life back on track after her fiancée dumps her and all her plans for the future fall apart. The road trip is Carrie's first step towards making a new start for herself, after which she feels prepared to plan a new future and perhaps embark on a new romantic relationship. In other circumstances I would have probably enjoyed the story, but given that I was expecting something completely different I felt let down.

While Carrie does head out on a road trip, circumstances prevent her from driving through Europe, as planned, and instead she gets saddled with Matt Landor and forced to drive around the English countryside instead. During this trip they only visit two locations, one of which is a beach where Carrie spends two weeks getting drunk and sleeping with some guy she picks up there while Matt goes his own way. There were no descriptions of the scenery they passed or of any of the market towns or villages that must have been on the way, which was very disappointing in a book that I expected to be about a road trip.

The relationship between Carrie and Matt is also far from romantic. At first Carrie resents Matt's intrusion on the trip that she had planned to go on with her best friend but eventually she gets used to having him around. After that the two of them remain mostly indifferent to each other for a majority of the trip. Then out of the blue Carrie expresses jealousy of the women Matt is hooking up with, he responds with a smoldering look, and then they are in bed together and in-love. Yup, that's pretty much how it happens. The road trip then comes to an end as Matt and Carrie each return to running their individual lives, while they continue to think about each other and develop their relationship long-distance.

The main problem for me with Carrie Goes off the Map is that I went into it expecting one kind of story but ended up with a very different one. And the truth is that I probably wouldn't have read it, it if I knew what it was really about just because that's not really want to read right now. But there is definitely a large audience for stories of this kind, about women who rediscover themselves after losing, or being rejected by, the men they had loved, and those readers would probably enjoy this story much more than I.


I think I expected something else too, but I went along for the ride :)

Okay, the only reason I would read this book is for the travel and the romance but if there is very little of either then I don't think I will go further than reading your review. Plus one smoldering look and then they're in bed together? Uh-uh. Need more sexual tension please.

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