Sunday, October 27, 2019

Book Review: "Seven Letters" by J.P. Monninger

One of those books you devour but you don’t want it to end.

"There’s no cure for love but to love more."

Kate, on sabbatical from her teaching position at Dartmouth, travels to Ireland to do research for her doctoral dissertation about the Blasket Islands, a remote part of the country that the government migrated everyone away from years ago.

Shortly after arriving she meets Ozzie, the immensely handsome, part Irish-part American grandson of a woman she met on her journey. Ozzie is intense, mercurial, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He has fled to Ireland in the hopes he can put the memories of the war behind him.

Kate and Ozzie fall intensely in love. She knows she’s only in Ireland for a short while and knows she needs to concentrate on her research. But her love overwhelms her, and the two try to build a life on one of the islands away from everyone else. It is idyllic at times, at times challenging, and when Ozzie is unable to escape the pain of his memories, it tears at the fibers of their relationship.

When Ozzie’s impulsive nature puts both of them at risk, Kate returns to America and tries to put the memories behind her. And while they creep back from time to time, she is doing somewhat well—until she gets word that Ozzie is lost at sea, presumed dead, and she feels the need to travel to Europe to find out what happened to him. She must decide whether she’s ready to move on fully or whether she needs to be tethered to his memory for her own sake.

I’m a total sap, and this book was utterly up my alley. I thought it was beautifully written—having the gorgeousness of Ireland as a backdrop doesn’t hurt—and it captured me fully. The instant-love plot thread may seem a little overly dramatic and/or unrealistic for some but you can totally see two people be utterly consumed by the fire of their love without thinking.

I can’t get this one out of my head. I've never read anything J.P. Monninger has written before, but I'll definitely do so again.

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