Life is full of unexpected moments, ones that often define who we are to become as people. Whether that experience meeting a person, exploring new countries, going into a new career, moving to a new city or country, or starting at a new school are all moments that define and shape our destiny. But how often does an encounter with a new person lead us down a path we thought we would never go? An encounter that would ultimately shape our future, our destiny and allow the molding of our future to be held by someone else. It is often a scary thought when we allow another person to shape who we are to become, no matter what age and stage we are in life. In The Map that Leads to You by J.P. Monsignor, Heather never expected her life to change with one encounter.
“Two strangers take the road less traveled…Heather Mulgrew’s world is already mapped out: she is going to travel abroad with her friends after college, come back to a great career in September, and head into a life where not much is left to chance. But that was before an encounter on an overnight train introduces her to Jack, a passionate adventurer who changes the course of her journey and her life. Throwing Heather’s careful itinerary to the wind, they follow Jack’s grandfather’s journal through post-World War II era Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Turkey―exotic places that serve only to heighten their feelings. As September looms, Jack urges Heather to stay with him, to keep traveling, to give in to the romance of their experience; Heather convinces him to return to the United States. Jack has a secret that could change everything. And Heather’s world is about to be shaken to the core. The Map That Leads to You is a breathtaking novel about love, loss, and the best-laid plans that are meant to be broken.”
I strictly picked up this book out of the dozens of other books on my desk because I needed a little romance in my life. I felt that my life was lacking an adventure, spontaneity, and excitement, and thankfully this book helped me out of my funk. This tale of young love breathes fresh air into the other “contemporary romance” novels I have stumbled across the past few years. Most contemporary romance novels are there to fulfill the secret desires of the heart, but with The Map that Leads to You I was observing a story that could be considered a true life adventure. An adventure that would define a person’s future, and help them to become the person they are meant to become. Even though this novel shares the typical adjectives of a story of young love, it does deeper with showing the emotional growth of its characters. Heather and Jack go on the journey of finding their first loves but ultimately facing real issues and decisions that lead to building a true life together. The fantasy of the romance is faded away quickly with the realization that their lives could still exist out of their meeting, where choices and conversations needed to occur to ensure the future of their relationship. Even though this story has a YA approach to it, it has some very grown up themes and mentalities to appeal to a wide audience.
As a reader who has read a great deal of YA romance, historical romance, and adult romance, I can say that The Map that Leads to You is one that surprised me. Not surprised in a sense of how good it was, but surprising in that it had the appeal to reach a wide audience while keeping the attention of someone who reads a wide range of romance. I was captured by the story and often felt a bit of nostalgia of what my life was like when I was living abroad and traveling the world. J.P.’s writing is simple, and easy to follow but had a characteristic of being dotted with rose petals. Even though the story appeared to be very matter of fact and real, it still head an air of romance in it. Even though the characters were going through real life problems and adult decisions, seeing the bond and the love between them was lovely to witness as an outsider looking in. I haven’t read any of J.P.’s work before, and I am pleasantly surprised on how much I liked it. Of course getting a shout out from Nicholas Sparks, Mr. Romance himself, doesn’t help your cause either.
I only have one qualm with the novel in that I guessed the end WAY before I was even close to finishing the book. The twist wasn’t a twist for me but a very obvious choice by the author to explain the situation between the two lovers. What surprised me even more what that I wasn’t annoyed by the ending but saw it as something that could have happened outside of a fictional novel. This fictional novel was interlaced with possible real life experiences which I found intriguing and fascinating to read, which allowed me to breeze through this novel in 2 days. If you are looking for a book about travel, love, loss and the discovery of oneself then, I highly suggest picking up this novel and throwing it into your beach bag. The Map that Leads to You would be an ideal companion for the pool, vacation, beach, or wherever you go this summer.
The Map that Leads to You is out on June 13, 2017.
Disclaimer: I was sent The Map that Leads to You for free from St. Martin’s Press for an honest review. This review is of my own work, and I did not copy or refer to any other reviewers/writers/bloggers for this post. All content provided on “A Comfy Chair” is for informational purposes only. I make no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. I will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. I will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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