Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger Blog Tour with a Giveaway! And a Sneak Peek!

Book Jacket.Seven Letters

As soon as I read the first letter I knew I was going to love this story. And oh I did!

This isn’t a traditional romance story in beautiful Ireland. It is a deep, soulful, character-driven story of love, loss, brokenness, sin, and redemption. Kate is Irish through and through. Her dream of seeing the Blasket Islands and finishing her dissertation is finally coming around. She will be able to live by the sea and finish her research regarding the islands and how even her own family had been evacuated.

But life is never as tidy as that. When Ozzie comes along, it’s as if their souls knew each other at once. There was a palpable feeling of connection in the way the author told this story. The descriptions of the sea, the saltiness you could almost taste, the wild beauty of the islands and the warmth of the people. Ozzie and Kate are an island in a vast sea of people.

I don’t want to give anything away with this review. Just read it. And now I shall make myself a nice cup of tea and read it slower and savor all of the feels it has to offer.

Brilliant Work!

NetGalley/ October 8th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin  Here is a Sneak Peek and a Giveaway! Comment below and we will draw on Friday!

PROLOGUE

The Irish tell a story of a man who fell in love with a fairy woman
and went with her to live on an island lost to time and trouble.
They lived in a thatched cottage overlooking the sea with
nothing but donkeys and gulls and white chickens to keep
them company. They lived in the dream of all lovers, apart
from the world, entire to themselves, their bed an island to
be rediscovered each night. In all seasons, they slept near a
large round window and the ocean wind found them and
played gently with their hair and carried the scent of open
water to their nostrils. Each night he tucked himself around
her and she, in turn, moved closer into his arms, and the seals
sang and their songs fell to the bottom of the sea where the
shells held their voices and relinquished them only in violent
storms.
One day the man went away, mortal as he was; he could not
resist his longing to see the loved ones he had left behind. She
warned him that he would grow old the moment his foot
touched the soil of the Irish mainland, so he begged her for
one of the donkeys to ride back to his home for a single
glance at what he had left behind. Though she knew the risk,
she loved him too much to deny his wish, and so he left on a
quiet night, his promise to come back to her cutting her ears
with salt and bitterness. She watched him depart on a land
bridge that arced to the mainland and then turned back to
her cottage, knowing his fate, knowing that love must always
have its own island. She raised up

2 J. P. Monninger

the fog from the ocean and she extinguished all light from the
island and the chickens went mute and the donkeys brayed
into the chimney smoke and the gulls called out her
anguish.
After many days of travel, and through no fault of his own,
he touched ground and became an old man in one breath. Even
as age claimed him upon the instant of his foot striking the soil,
he called to her to save him, but she could not help him any
longer. In the seasons afterward, on certain full moon nights,
she permitted the island to rise from the mist and to appear to
him, or to any broken-hearted lover, the boil of the sea stilled
for an unbearable glimpse of what had been lost so
thoughtlessly. To his great age he lived for the moments
when he might hear her voice rising above the sea, the call of
their bed and their nights and their love, the call of his heart,
the call of the gulls that held all the pain of the world. He
answered on each occasion that he was here, waiting, his
heart true and never wavering, his days filled with regret for
breaking their spell and leaving the island. He asked her to
forgive him the restlessness, which is the curse of men and the
blood they cannot still, but whether she did or not, he could
not say.

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1

I had misgivings: it was a tourist bus. As much as I didn’t
want to admit it, I had booked a passage on a tourist bus. It
wasn’t even a
good kind of tourist bus if there is such a thing. It was a
massive, absurd mountain of a machine, blue and white,
with a front grill the size of a baseball backstop. When the tour
director—a competent, harried woman named
Rosie—pointed me toward it with the corner of her
clipboard, I tried to imagine there was some mistake. The
idea that the place I had studied for years, the Blas- ket Islands
off Ireland’s southwest coast, could be approached by such a
vehicle, seemed sacrilegious. The fierce Irish women in my
dissertation would not have known what to say about a bus
with televisions, tinted windows, air-conditioning,
bathrooms, and a soundtrack playing a loop of sentimental
Irish music featuring “Galway Bay” and “Danny Boy.”
Especially “Danny Boy.” It was like driving through the
Louvre on a motor scooter. It didn’t even seem possible that

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM
the bus could fit the small, twisty roads of Dingle.
I took a deep breath and climbed aboard. My backpack
whacked against the door.
Immediately I experienced that bus moment. Anyone who
has ever taken a bus has experienced it. You step up and look
around and you are searching for seats, but most of them are
taken, and the bus is somewhat dimmer than the outside light,
and the seatbacks cover almost everything except the eyes
and

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM

8 J. P. Monninger

foreheads of the seated passengers. Most of them try to avoid
your eyes because they don’t want you sitting next to them, but
they are aware, also, that there are only so many seats, so if they
are going to surrender the place next to them they would prefer
it be to someone who looks at least marginally sane.
Meanwhile, I tried to see over the seatbacks to vacant places,
also assessing who might be a decent, more or less silent
traveling companion, while also determining who seemed
too eager to have me beside her or him. I wanted to avoid that
person at all costs.
That bus moment.

I also felt exhausted. I was exhausted from the Boston–Limerick
flight, tired in the way only airports and plane air can make you
feel. Like old, stale bread. Like bread left out to dry itself into
turkey stuffing.
I felt, too, a little like crying.
Not now, I told myself. Then I started forward.
The passengers were old. My best friend, Milly, would have
said that it wasn’t a polite thing to say or think, but I couldn’t
help it. With only their heads extending above the seatbacks,
they looked like a field of dandelion puffs. They smiled and
made small talk with one another, clearly happy to be on
vacation, and often they looked up and nodded to me. I could
have been their granddaughter and that was okay with them.
They liked “Danny Boy.” They liked coming to Ireland;
many of them had relatives here, I was certain. This was a
homecoming of sorts and I couldn’t be crabby about that, so I
braced myself going down the aisle, my eyes doing the bus
scan, which meant looking without staring, hoping without
wishing.
Halfway down the bus, I came to an empty seat. Two empty
seats. It didn’t seem possible. I stopped and tried not to swing
around and hit anyone with my backpack. Rosie hadn’t
boarded the bus; I could see the driver standing outside, a
cup of coffee

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM

Seven Letters 9

in one hand, a cigarette in the other. Two empty seats? It felt like
a trap. It felt too good to be true.
“Back here, dear,” an older man called to me. “There’s a spot
here. That seat is reserved. I don’t think you can sit there. At
least no one has.”
I considered trying my luck, plunking down and waiting
for whatever might happen. Then again, that could land me
in an even more horrible situation. The older gentleman who
called to me looked sane and reasonably groomed. I could
do worse. I smiled and hoisted my backpack and clunked
down the aisle, hammering both sides until people raised
their hands to fend me away.
“Here, I’ll just store this above us,” said the old man who
had offered me a seat. He had the bin open above our spot. He
shoved a mushroom-colored raincoat inside it. He smiled at
me. He had a mustache as wide as a Band-Aid across his
top lip.
I inched my way down the aisle until I stood beside him.
“Gerry,” he said, holding out his hand. “What luck for me.
I get to sit next to a beautiful, red-haired colleen. What’s your
name?”
“Kate,” I said.
“That’s a good Irish name. Are you Irish?”
“American, but yes. Irish ancestry.”
“So am I. I believe everyone on the bus has some connection
to the old sod. I’d put money on it.”
He won a point for the first mention of the old sod that I
had heard since landing in Ireland four hours before.
He helped me swing my bag up into the bin. Then I remem-
bered I needed my books and I had to swing the backpack down
again. As I dug through the bag, Gerry beside me, I felt the miles
of traveling clinging to me. How strange to wake up in Boston
and end up on a bus going to Dingle, the most beautiful penin-
sula in the world.

8 thoughts on “Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger Blog Tour with a Giveaway! And a Sneak Peek!

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