SEVEN LETTERS A Novel By J.P. Monninger @StMartinsPress #BookReview

SEVEN LETTERS A Novel By J.P. Monninger

Back of the Book

J. P. Monninger, author of the international bestseller The Map That Leads to You, the novel Nicholas Sparks called “romantic and unforgettable”, tells a poignant love story of the ways the world divides two souls—and the way that love brings them together.

Kate Moreton is in Ireland on sabbatical from her teaching position at Dartmouth College when she meets Ozzie Ferriter, a fisherman and a veteran of the American war in Afghanistan. The Ferriter family history dates back centuries on the remote Blasket Islands, and Ozzie – a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States – has retreated to the one place that might offer him peace from a war he cannot seem to leave behind.

Beside the sea, with Ireland’s beauty as a backdrop, the two fall deeply in love and attempt to live on an island of their own making, away from the pressures of the outside world. Ireland writes its own love stories, the legends claim, and the limits of Kate and Ozzie’s love and faith in each other will be tested. When his demons lead Ozzie to become reckless with his life—and Kate’s—she flees for America rather than watch the man she loves self-destruct. But soon a letter arrives informing Kate that her heroic husband has been lost at sea, and Kate must decide whether it is an act of love to follow him or an act of mercy to forget.

Book Review by Tanya Kaanta

J.P. Monninger sweeps us to Ireland in this love story. Kate Moreton spends a semester in Ireland researching the Blasket Islands for her dissertation. While in Ireland, she quickly falls in love with Ozzie Ferriter, a veteran of Afghanistan and dual citizen of both American and Ireland. Their initial love story is a whirlwind, with Kate and Ozzie secluding themselves on his property above the ocean, living in a yurt and basically off the grid.

When they decide to take a tour around the coast of Ireland, things become shaky. Kate realizes there’s much to Ozzie she still doesn’t know. Only that the war left him with demons he refuses to speak of, creating a rift that seems impossible to cross. What starts out as a love fest ends with Kate returning to the United States, separated from Ozzie.

Fast forward a few years and Kate is ready to move on from her relationship with Ozzie. Yet his world beckons her back to Ireland. The second half of the story centers on Kate as she puts back together the pieces of their story, with or without Ozzie.

One thing I would have liked to have seen more of is deeper character development of Ozzie. I often had no idea what Ozzie was thinking or how he truly felt. Why he behaved in the manner he did. This hole left me yearning for more, especially since the story pulled me in and kept me engaged until the end.

We were able to understand the thinking of Kate but Ozzie remains a mystery. Even at the end, I’m still wishing I knew more. Perhaps this was the direction J.P. Monninger wanted the reader to experience. Leaving the opportunity for the reader to fill in the holes while still providing a page-turning story.

However, the seven letters throughout the story lend color and intrigue, sometimes foreshadowing of what’s to come. Basically nutritional food for thought. Despite wanting to know more about Ozzie and why their relationship materialized so quickly, I still enjoyed this story and was sad to see it end.

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