Set Sail with Float Plan by Trish Doller

Since the loss of her fiancé, Anna has been shipwrecked by grief—until a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take together. Impulsively, Anna goes to sea in their sailboat, intending to complete the voyage alone. But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

“Traveling almost 1,700 miles might not have made an impact on mankind, but the crack in my own small world is patched.”

This is an epic story, in the very definition of the word. It’s a journey filled with so much heart, and FEELINGS, and personal growth. Float Plan by Trish Doller (Goodreads, Audible) is emotional, enlightening, empowering, encouraging —I think it could *and should* be the PS I Love You meets Eat Pray Love of our time. It has the power and capacity to truly connect with as many people in significant ways as those do. And the Romance! In addition, Anna’s determined ‘I’m gonna do this myself, in the middle of this heartbreak, I’ll figure out the logistics’ spirit is reminiscent of the sailing story (and Shailene Woodley movie) Adrift.

The love story is wonderful. Keane is charming and delightful, and adds a whole new dimension to the spirit of this trip. He’s a super special guy, a wonderful sailing companion and romantic partner. He’s also lost one leg and wears a prosthesis, and there’s a story arc on this trip about his career life coming to terms with this.

The Float Plan adventure feels incredibly vibrant and life-changing. Anna’s journey includes learning to sail, meeting an eclectic kaleidoscope of people, becoming part of a sailing community, grieving in so many ways, at so many stages, self-discovery, romance, and hope. I loved that she’s socially aware, and vocal about things like colonization and the role of patriarchal society even in tiny moments here.

Trish Doller’s writing is beautiful and descriptive, making every moment a vivid experience; as if the author went on this entire trip and documented every little detail, then handed some of the gems to us, between some very normal moments that make it seem more relatable. The sailing logistics never feel laborious or technical, the food always sounds delicious, and the landscape views are almost painted right before my eyes. I can’t really express how much it felt like I had been to each of those places.

And the bit that’s stayed with me most, throughout the months since I’ve read this book, is a shift in the language I will go on to use with people who are grieving: from the expected apology to connecting with them in the pain, frustration and heartache of the moment that Anna’s conversations with Keane have brought into my life. Every single time someone says “I’m sorry” to a grieving person, my brain automatically switches to “That fucking sucks.” It’s a game changer.

Read. This. Book. If you have a book club, this should be your next selection. I could not recommend it enough. It’ll also be a wonderful personal gift to give to friends, aunts, moms, cousins!

Content warnings: This story opens with a suicide note, and centers around a wife grieving the suicide of her husband. Discussions of self-harm. Descriptions and flashbacks to her husband’s depression, and actual suicide. The way she meets her romantic interest is questionable, in that it includes being black-out drunk and having to believe in his heroism based solely on his recollection of the vulnerable situation. Mention of a reckless driving accident in the past.

Bonus content!

I recommend following Trish Doller on Twitter for fun facts about Float Plan coming to be, photos of the places Anna visits in the book, and adorable dog pictures!

This awesome activity where you can build a puzzle of the cover while listening to the preview of the audiobook is also a fantastic idea!

It’s also lovely to read through the Float Plan posts in Trish’s newsletter Archive, where she shares the story of “accidentally” buying a boat while researching, and you can read a snippet featuring Keane from the version of Float Plan when it was still a YA novel.

And please enjoy the below close-up video of the cover, where we can see Keane’s prosthetic leg! Which I don’t think I noticed until seeing this gif:

Trish’s Instagram includes quotes, beautiful book cover pics, and scenes from the ocean-side lifestyle depicted inside Float Plan:

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