Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review ~ The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger

The Map That Leads to You
by J.P. Monninger


"Romantic and unforgettable." –Nicholas Sparks

A romantic, vivid novel that takes place in the tender time of a young woman’s life: Heather has graduated from college and is traveling around Europe with her two best friends. She’s left school responsibility behind and adult responsibility is looming, but this is her one, ONE last summer to be free. Heather doesn’t expect to even meet Jack, let alone fall in love with him. Jack is an enigmatic Vermonter a few years older than she is, who is following his grandfather’s journal to various cities around Europe. But in the same way that forces are bringing Jack and Heather together, life and duty are pushing them apart. And Jack has a secret that is going to change absolutely everything.

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 “It is the last great minute before he walks into your life, but you don't know that yet, can't know. Later, though, you will try to imagine where he was in this exact instant, when he had turned and started to travel toward you, you to him, and how the world around both of you took no notice. Your life would not be the same, but that was all waiting, up in the air, all fate and chance and inevitability.” 
Heather has her whole life planned out and after college she is entering the corporate world and plans to make it ‘big’ in New York.  After college graduation, she and her two best friends take a summer long vacation, touring Europe  -  making memories and most of all have fun before life intervenes and responsibilities are imminent.

Jack is also touring Europe, but he is following his grandfather’s journal in which he recorded his travels after WWII.  The site’s his grandfather visited could not be found in any tour guide, and they are all off the well-traveled roads, but Jack needs to take this journey to understand more of his grandfather.

When Heather and Jack meet on a train, neither could imagine how well they would ‘click’.  As the two travel together, they never imagined that they would fall in love – making plans for the future and treasuring each moment that they are together.

“Our eyes locked.  It wasn’t on a mountaintop, or beside a blue ocean, or in a flowered meadow.  It was in the center of Kraków.  I couldn’t speak for him, but I wasn’t feeling particularly in love, or gushy, or anything else.  But then he turned to me and smiled, and I smiled back.  We didn’t say anything.  The world kept going on around us, I was aware of that, but then the world no longer mattered.  What mattered was Jack’s gaze and his shy, soft smile that invited me in, invited me to share the pleasure of being here, in a foreign city, being in love, or the beginning of love, and knowing that we had the world by the goddamn tail if we wanted it, wanted each other, stayed with each other.”

With such a romantic story, I just knew that something tragic would happen, and I kept waiting for it – even having a box of tissues nearby, you know…just in case.  Heather and Jack were just perfect together, and I could feel the love that they shared and I did not want anything interring with that love.  While I won’t spoil the story for anyone, something did happen and it was tragic, but in the end the whole story was just so tragically beautiful, my heart was both happy and sad but amazingly enough I was completely satisfied with this love story and only happy tears fell from my eyes. Jack had given Heather hope and taught her to trust that life held surprises if she allowed it to reveal itself.  She didn’t need photographs or social media posts to clutter her life.  She just needed to give herself to the situation – live in the moment and love every minute of that moment.  That was Jack’s great lesson and one she would hold dear to her heart for her the rest of her life.

“To say we find love is a misuse of the word find.  Love finds us, passes through us, continues.  We cannot find it any more than we can live without love.  Love is essential and as common as bread.  If you look for it, you will see it everywhere, and you will never be without it."

I absolutely LOVED this story!  The Map That Leads to You is an utterly exquisite story.  It’s romantic without being cheesy and is a story that will remain in my thoughts and in my heart for quite some time.  The author’s writing is like a well-orchestrated symphony – the words flowing effortlessly and beautifully throughout.  With stunning attention to details and vivid descriptions, it was so easy to become engrossed in the story and I found myself completely captivated with each and every word. 

The Map That Leads to You is a really sweet and touching story that is by far my most favorite book this year.  J.P. Monniger truly has an amazing talent and is destined to take the literary world by storm with his outstanding storytelling abilities.   Mr. Monniger is an author that will now be on my radar and I can’t wait to see what he presents his readers next.  If this one book is any indication I have a feeling it will be epic!

I am giving this book 5 well deserved stars but really that is just not enough for this book because it was just that amazing.

*The quotes in the review are from an Advance Readers’ Edition and subject to change.