Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 371pp
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Landmark)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Phillipa Ashley on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Carrie Goes Off the Map (choose Look Inside Feature)
Just when she thinks she knows where she's going...
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 uncharted territory altogether...
Carrie Goes Off the Map is an engaging English contemporary romance written by Phillipa Ashley. Ashley's books tend to have common pattern and this one is no different, which is a good thing. Carrie Goes Off the Map is entertaining, it satisfies the readers interest in travel, it has some very interesting secondary characters that are unique and fun to read about, and of course it has a happy-ever-after! Ashley is able to take a somewhat overused idea and give it new life and a refreshing plot that readers will love!
I like Phillipa Ashley's writing for several reasons. Chick lit is a sub-genre that I never really thought I would be interested in, but I was pleasantly surprised after reading books by authors like Erica James and Phillipa Ashley. I was used to reading a lot of historical romance, in which I loved to read about England. But, I was unsure how that would translate to a contemporary setting. Ashley's books are always very descriptive and full of references to today's English countryside, as well as it's metropolitan areas. I like her descriptions of everything from the small villages to the food that her characters enjoy eating. There is always something about English books, that is slower and more laid back than their American counterparts and Ashley uses that to her advantage, spending a lot of time writing about where her characters are traveling and what they are doing. It's a nice change and I really liked that about her latest book, Carrie Goes Off the Map.
Ashley's protagonist Carrie has just suffered a terrible breakup with her former fiance. Not only has she lost her lover, but her job and her home as well. When she finds out he is marrying another woman only months after their wedding was called off, Carrie goes off her rocker a bit and attempts to bust up the wedding. Luckily, she gets talked down by Matt. I liked Carrie, she attitude and spunk. Ashley portrays her as a young woman who is about to take life by the horns and change her whole outlook. Her breakup with Huw certainly vacillates that. I liked the whole idea of cross country journey to clear her head and get her on a new path, the fact that at the last minute Rowena her friend can't go along and she ends up traveling with Matt isn't unexpected. But Ashley's smooth writing style makes the journey fun to read and full of surprises.
Matt is very sexy. He has this look about him that the reader will be able to see in their mind's eye. Sultry and down right seductive. I think readers will really like Matt off the bat and realize that all the bickering he and Carrie do in the beginning is just their way of communicating their attraction to each other. There relationship builds slowly and gives the author time to explore everything they are seeing and doing on their journey. I liked the build up and was really surprised at Matt at some points. I figured he would be the one to be afraid of risking his heart, when it's Carrie who gets cold feet. Ashley always has a way of pulling it out in the end though. Readers know they will probably get a happy ending with this author, but really it's all in the journey!
I recommend this to readers who enjoy contemporary women's fiction or chick lit. The English setting is full of detail and Ashley does a wonderful job of describing everything about it. If you like British romance novels, this is one for you!
Carrie Goes Off the Map is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Phillipa Ashley studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University before working as a freelance copy-writer and journalist. She lives in an English village with her husband and daughter.