Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 8th 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
Be still my heart! So many words to describe how I felt while reading this book, after reading this book. Maybe beguiled, captivated, charmed, mesmerized. This book spoke to my heart, to my very own fascination with Ireland and reminded me of my LONG AGO trek to this enchanting land. It reminded me of what I wanted to be when I grew up, a historian. A dream set aside for the practicality of life. But I have no regrets and now J.P. Monninger has shared this GEM of a story, I felt as though I lived a bit of it through Kate Moreton. Kate is a brave and passionate woman matched with a brave and passionate man in Ozzie – but Ozzie is a very broken man. A man trying to outrun (out-sail in his case) his demons all while falling deeply and irrevocably in love.
Having traveled to Ireland as a part of her dissertation work, Kate is immediately transported to the subject of her work, the people on the now-vacated Blasket Islands. When she meets Ozzie she really has no idea how much this will change her life, and the spark of physical attraction can’t be ignored. Theirs is a whirlwind romance, one that the reader feels in their heart and soul. For me, it had the essence of an EPIC love story; all-consuming, beautiful, soulful and at times, tumultuous. While change is inevitable, Ozzie doesn’t manage it well. We start to see how he struggles with his past, experiences neither Kate nor the reader is privy too. They experience happiness and heartbreak, leading Kate to a decision that resets their course.
As the letters are shared, you’ll come to expect the unexpected. A healthy part of the book had me on tenterhooks. Ready to cry at any moment. Through Kate’s eyes, we understand the deep pang of grief and regret she feels. That try, as she might, moving on is agonizing and seemingly impossible. I grappled with her decisions which is, I believe, exactly what Monninger intended. We take quite the trip with Kate, as she sets out to uncover the truth, to come to terms with the past and present, to be able to heal.
Monninger’s writing is prolific, insightful and contains details that indicate experience and/or a great amount of research. The details capture the essence of the characters and places. This is a character-driven story that is rich and deep in their narratives. Kate really is at the center, as the story is through her eyes, and even though she falters at completely considering a 360 view, it’s understandable. She has to protect her heart. The cast of characters that support Kate and Ozzie adds so much to the story, drive the pace and the plotline forward.
As I’ve said this book was all-consuming. I’ve often seen reviewers say a book as addicting, and all I could think was sure I’ve read plenty of books that captivate me. But not often do I find myself putting off real life, clamoring to get back to the story as I did with this. There was absolutely no way I was sleeping until I finished. I guess I was addicted. I needed to see their story through to the end. Considering the range of feelings I experienced, what I feared for Kate, I couldn’t be happier with how it ended. This is a 5++ star read and one that I HIGHLY recommend.
~Review by Cyndi
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