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.

My Thoughts: As I followed along with Kate’s journey in Ireland, I was soon caught up in her unexpected love connection with Ozzie. The two of them were captivating, frustrating, and soon they were broken.

Seven Letters showed us the path to their love, their loss of each other, and how Kate tried to move on.

The story was one that revealed the beauty of Ireland, followed by the lovely cabin Kate bought in New Hampshire after she and Ozzie separated. At times, there were quick leaps between events, and I sometimes felt lost. But overall, I couldn’t stop reading and wondering what would eventually happen to the two of them. In the end, I was pleased by the culmination of events. 4 stars.

***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.





We first meet Eilis Lacey in her small town in Ireland: Enniscorthy, on Friary Street. The author sweeps us up into the world of the Lacey family: her sister Rose and her sad mother; the town, with some of the young people; and the shops. It is the 1950s, revealed to us in the styles, mannerisms, and expectations of the times.

Rose has a good job for the local mills, but there are few possibilities for Eilis, with only a dull job in a local shop to bring in a little extra money for the family. A situation which inspires Father Flood to begin talking about an opportunity for her in America, in Brooklyn, where many Irish people have settled.

Soon the plan is in place, and the details of how it all comes about bring the reader into the moments of leaving; of the passage, with all the sea sickness; the newness of a life beyond the village.

After her arrival, she moves into a boarding house arranged by Father Flood, which consists of Mrs. Kehoe, a rather controlling woman, and several young women.

Eilis has work in a nice shop, and soon is taking night classes to become a bookkeeper.

Dances, church, charity events…her life fills up and becomes routine. When she meets Tony, a young Italian boy at a dance, everything begins to change.

What happens near the end of the second year that changes everything for Eilis? How will she deal with revisiting the old village to see her mother after a family tragedy? What will become of her and Tony? What dilemma will Eilis face upon her return to Ireland?

Brooklyn was the kind of story that might seem quiet and even ordinary, on the surface, but the rich details and the vivid portrayals of the various characters kept me engrossed all the way through, experiencing a new life along with Eilis, feeling her awe at each new event. Like baseball, hot dogs, Coney Island. And love.

I felt swept away by how the author showed us Eilis’s inner thoughts as she came to some decisions. I enjoyed watching the interactions between the young women in the boarding house, and loving how Eilis was learning how to stand up for herself. And after her return visit to Enniscorthy, I appreciated how her time in America had changed her, how we could see her growth as she dealt with her demanding mother and her old friends. I could now imagine how her future would unfold. 5 stars.