Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Promise Me This Book Review

SUMMARY:  One man's promise.  Another man's sacrifice.  Both would change her life forever.
     Michael Dunnagan was never suppose to sail on Titanic, nor would he have survived if not for the courage of Owen Allen.  Determined to carry out his promise to care for Owen's relative in American and his younger sister, Annie, in England, Michael works hard to strengthen the family's New Jersey garden and landscaping business.
     Annie Allen doesn't care what Michael promised Owen.  She only knows that her brother is gone - like their mother and father - and the grief is enough to swallow her whole.  As Annie struggles to navigate life without Owen, Michael reaches out to her through letters.  In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when Owen did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected.
     Just as Michael saves enough money to bring Annie to America, the First World War erupts in Europe  When Annie's letters mysteriously stop, Michael risks everything to fulfill his promise - and find the woman he's grown to love - before she's lost forever.

REVIEW:  Promise Me This was sent to me by Tyndale House for being the eighteenth comment on the eighteenth day on a Facebook post asking what book we were currently reading.  I was not asked to review it but, because I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to let everyone know my thoughts.
     This book is set in the early part of the twentieth century around the sinking of the Titanic and during the First World War. Annie is left behind as her brother seeks a better life for them both with family in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, he dies in the ship's sinking.  Michael, a young man Owen befriends, makes a promise to help Annie and his family.  Michael struggles with the sacrifices Owen makes for him during the short time they are together.  Annie struggles with being left behind after the deaths of her parents first, then Owen's.  After her very controlling aunt suffers a stroke, Annie moves in with her aunt's lawyer and his family, the Spragues, who continually show her what being part of a real family is like.  Michael and Annie find comfort in each others letters at first then slowly develop deeper feelings.  When Annie is forced to cut off all contact with her "foster" family and her family in America, including Michael, and send to the worst area of fighting in France after her aunt regains most of her health back, Annie sacrifices herself to protect those she loves.
     Time and time again you see sacrifices being made.  Owen sacrifices for Annie, Michael, and his aunt and uncle.  Michael sacrifices for Maggie, Daniel, and Annie.  Annie sacrifices for Michael, Maggie and Daniel, and the Spragues.  You even see it in the brief mentioning of Annie and Owen's father.   Again and again, these characters show us and each other the Ultimate Sacrifice: the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for us.

     You can also see unconditional love all over this book.  Owen shows it to Michael.  Maggie and Daniel show it to Michael and him to them.  Owen and Michael both show it to Annie, as do the Spragues.  Annie shows it to Michael, Maggie and Daniel and the Spragues.   Of course, the Ultimate display of unconditional love referenced throughout this story is the love Christ has towards us.
     This is a great book which I highly recommend.

This Advanced Reader Copy was provided by Tyndale House Publishers as a prize in a contest.  I was not required to write a review for it.

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of William Henry Is A Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which was also chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008.  Cathy and her husband live on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland.  Visit her website at

1 comment:

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Chelle, for this wonderful review of "Promise Me This!"

I'm thrilled when readers understand the nature of the story and see the woven fabric of unconditional love--a mirror image of what Christ did for us.

Many, many thanks and blessings on your new year!