I love children (obviously) but I don't think my love for them would make me want to jump to their aid and marry a man I did not know and who also happened to be their father. Marriage is a life long commitment. But Ingrid did just that in A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller. It is a heart-warming story of how a kind, loving young girl offers to marry a man named Joshua Hunter, whom she only met once. She does it for the sake of his children, and her initial attraction to him after he saved her from a difficult situation.
Ingrid and her family lived and worked on a farm, so of course I loved the farming aspect of the book because of my own interest.
I bawled like a baby at Ingrid's child-like ways, like at the dance on page 219 and her when she received her gifts. In many ways she's unassuming, yet she was definitely working hard to capture Joshua's attention and love. It was very easy to feel Ingrid's emotions of pain, rejection and anger as Joshua sorted through his own issues. It was heart-wrenching at times to read the beginning account of their marriage.
I loved this story and the grit Ingrid showed and the intertwining of I Corinthians 13. This story is based on the author's grandmother's life, which makes is that much more compelling knowing the details are based on real events.
It was interesting how Serena interwove how prevalent abortion was in the 1800's. So often life for wives and mothers during that time period is painted at "rosey" and hunky-dory. Women were very hard working and the struggles they faced were anything but rosey. A Promise of Love shows the struggle of one woman who had dealt with many losses in her family, which led to emotional disconnect with other people in her life. And it showed the character and strength of yet a completely different woman. It was a striking contrast to how women are usually portrayed in that time period.
A Promise of Love was a refreshing read for me and gets two thumbs up, as it is probably going to be read again and again.
Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.
There have been quite a few books - and some movies - written over the years about marriages happening in emergency situations for convenience's sake. Think Sarah, Plain and Tall, and you'll get the general jest of A Promise to Love.
I loved Sarah, Plain and Tall, and its sequels when I watched them. I guess that's why I was excited to give this new book a try! Like Sarah, Plain and Tall, there are some similar elements including anger, bitterness, unforgiveness. A motherless family. A grieving father. And true stories of people's lives in times past woven in as key elements into the story.
But there are a few things about A Promise to Love that I enjoyed even more than I ever enjoyed Sarah, Plain and Tall! (I didn't think I'd ever say that.)
The author, Serena Miller, writes a book whose words flow well, so that it is an easy read. Not all authors write so that the words flow effortlessly for the reader.
The character's emotions are realistic and appropriate. There are hints of romance throughout this story, but nothing more than a quick kiss or a gentle hug or a husband's arm wrapped around his wife's waist. It's nice that my children can read this if they'd like, and I don't need to worry about the content.
My own great-grandfather, although not a logger or sawyer in Michigan, passed away from a logging accident many years ago in the Pacific Northwest. I've heard a few stories about logging camps over the years, and have seen quite a few displays in museums here in the Pacific Northwest about logging in the 1800s and early- to mid-1950s. It was a rough life, not easy for anyone in the family. Since my husband is employed in the timber industry, I find true stories about its past quite interesting!
My favorite thing, though, about A Promise to Love is that the key character, Ingrid, a Swiss immigrant, uses her faith in Christ to strongly influence others around her who are hateful, unforgiving, or unrelentingly unkind. And yet, again, it is realistic. Women "under the influence" of the Holy Spirit's power can do great and mighty things with Christ's help.
Also, a very important message these days to share among wives and mothers, is the value of "keeping" a home and doing this for God's glory. This message came out loud and clear in A Promise to Love, but in a soft and tender way. I love it when authors acknowledge the importance of wives blessing their husbands and their children and serving their family with a joyful heart as much as is possible.
I appreciate the author's careful thoughts about motherhood and marriage spread throughout this book. It isn't often that a person will read modern Christian fiction books that share this godly message of being the Proverbs 31 woman, and I respect Serena B. Miller's choice to include this in her new book, A Promise to Love.
How frightening it must be to be alone and destitute. Frightening enough to propose to a virtual stranger so that he can maintain custody of motherless children.
On the surface it looks like a good bargain for them both, but it gets really complicated in a hurry.
It's a struggle for each of them with there always being a third person in the marriage. The recently deceased wife who apparently killed herself is that third person - the one keeping Joshua and Ingrid apart.
Secrets are there also. Secrets and what to do with them as they start coming out.
You're going to need a few tissues before you finish this book.
***A special thank you to Donna Hausler for providing a review copy.***
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written. The characters were well-developed. The story clipped along and held my interest. This is the third book I have read by this author. They have all been excellent.
Serena B. Miller in her new book "A Promise To Love" published by Revell Books takes us into the life of Ingrid Larsen in 1871.
From the back cover: Can a marriage of convenience ever become one of true love?
Ingrid Larsen arrives in Michigan in 1871 with little more than the clothes on her back and a determination to find her brother, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, the young Swedish immigrant crosses paths with Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed farmer with eyes the color of the ocean she had crossed and five rambunctious children to raise on his own.
Marriage would solve both of their problems, and Ingrid finds herself proposing in broken English to a man she barely knows. Many difficulties lie ahead-but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.
I like history and "A Promise To Love" is filled with history. There are the lumber camps and the harsh activities that occurred there. There is the October, 1871 fire that if it wasn't already documented history you would think that Ms. Miller made it up, that is how shocking it is. Then there is the marriage of convenience between Ingrid and Joshua. I think that these kinds of stories are difficult to write. This couple do not know each other, it is just that they each have a need, so the best way to meet their needs is to marry. Wow, marriage as a business arrangement. Yet, we read this book for the love story and Ms. Miller doesn't hold back she really gives us a love story. And on top of everything Ms. Miller tells us at the end that this story is based on her grandmother. "A Promise To Love" is filled with action and adventure. It is filled with family, overcoming adversities and even has a bit of a mystery in it. I think that ""A Promise To Love"" is a winner! Ms. Miller has given us a wonderful, sweet story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I liked it a lot and look forward to more from this talented author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.