In A Promise To Love, Serena Miller sweeps us away to the wilds of Michigan in the late 1800s; a savage land both bold and beautiful--filled with majestic, white pine forests, the scent of cherry blossoms permeating the air, vast lumber camps, and the threat of horrific forest fires.
The Swedish born, Ingrid Larsen, arrives in Michigan to search for her brother, Hans, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps, with nothing save the clothes on her back. In her desperation she proposes to Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed cherry farmer with five rambunctious children.
Joshua is determined to establish a lucrative cherry orchard, and after losing his wife under strange circumstances, agrees to marry Ingrid to help out with the farm and his motherless children. Ingrid finds herself in for the biggest battle of her life as she struggles to be a good mother to five needy children, and must also fight the ghost of her husband's dead wife as well.
Soon terrible secrets are unearthed concerning the death of Joshua's wife, and Ingrid is faced with some challenging decisions. Can she continue to be Joshua's wife in name only?...and how can she endure the many hardships that face her without his love? Where is Hans and is he dead or alive? And it's only as she seeks the face of the Lord for guidance and help that the answers to her angst-filled questions are ultimately revealed to her.
Serena Miller has fast become one of my favorite authors! This compelling, heartwarming fiction based on fact story, grabbed me from the first chapter and did not let go until the last! I loved her realistic main characters (Ingrid never lost her Swedish accent throughout the whole book):), and her irresistable secondary characters just as much. Never boring with a fast-paced, exciting conclusion, this is an absolute must read! Nicely done, Serena Miller!
When I picked up A Promise to Love, I never would have guessed I would be clinging to the book until the end. This book is utterly fantastic. Miss Miller's writing and characters, from the start, transport you back in time to Michigan in 1871.
In the first few pages, we meet Ingrid. Oh, how I loved Ingrid! She and her twin brother, Hans, moved to America from Sweden. They made a promise to meet each other when they parted. But when he doesn't show up, Ingrid fears the worst and moves to White Rock to take a position as a maid for a snobbish woman. It's there in White Rock that Ingrid's life takes a turn.
There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. One in particular is how Miss Miller was able to write Ingrid's broken English. It gave the story another layer of accuracy, it made me laugh, and it made me smile.
Miss Miller has done a wonderful job with her latest release. Her writing is so easy to read and her characters so lovable. I read A Promise to Love in a day simply because I couldn't put it down for very long. I was so sad to see it come to end.
Those who liked Janette Oke's Love Come Softly series will enjoy this one. :-)
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.
This novel was un-put-downable and I read it straight through. I know that's not a real word, but it best describes this compelling story as I simply couldn't set it aside. I read it straight through to the end. I always enjoy reading the afterward part of a novel that tells what portion of history a story is from and what really happened that the author based their story on. It's even cooler when there is some familial history involved.
As far as romance goes, this story was better than most. It put a different twist on a marriage of convenience that is typically seen in historical novels. I loved every minute of it. In fact, my eyes welled with tears a few times. The emotion of the story is touching. Ingrid personified steadfast love and I was very touched by her attitude and the discussions she had with his eldest child. I also loved how the hero recounted in his mind on numerous occasions how many wonderful qualities the heroine had that drew his heart to hers. The reunification scene at the end was emotional and I loved it.
If you enjoy a good historical novel set in the 1800s and you've read the first book by this author, you'll be delighted to see a few characters from the first book showing up in this one. Great writing, a unique plot, and intricate story-telling all make this book worthy of my top fiction list. The pulse-pounding action (especially toward the end) and the deep biblical application about real love make this novel a winner. I highly recommend it.
Serena B. Miller treats readers to a gentle story of love and sacrifice in "A Promise to Love." She portrays life in 1870s Michigan with historical detail, and many of the events are based on actual occurrences. A plot based on a marriage of convenience is relatively common, but the circumstances surrounding Ingrid's and Joshua's relationship make it unique. Their love blossoms from a partnership, shared grievances, and Ingrid's tender nurturing. It is a departure from the more romantic leanings of other novels, despite the fact that Ingrid falls in love with Joshua at first sight.
Ingrid is a very compelling and sweet character, with remarkable strength and determination. Her broken English adds authenticity to the dialogue; and it is endearing, but a bit distracting at times. Despite the many hardships she faces, Ingrid remains upbeat, and it is impossible not to like her and hope that Joshua will realize his treasure. In some ways she seems almost too perfect. She almost effortlessly transitions into a mother and takes on numerous duties to support a husband who cares for her but does not love her.
In addition to striving to win her husband's love, Ingrid also hopes to find her long-lost brother. Both issues are resolved at the end of the novel, but a bit too quickly for me. A longer epilogue or perhaps a couple of more chapters would have left me more satisfied.
There are some gripping action scenes toward the end of the novel. I found myself eagerly reading the last 100 pages, captivated by Miller's vivid descriptions. She paints clear scenes throughout the novel, but the clarity takes on extra poignancy when danger enters the plot. The tragedy that occurs is based on actual events experienced by Michigan residents in 1871. It is a small snapshot of a major event that significantly altered the Midwest. One of the treasures of historical fiction is the introduction to events that shaped history. Miller's history lesson will definitely remain in my mind.
"A Promise to Love" is a heartwarming novel, and I enjoyed my first introduction to Serena B. Miller's writing. I will put her future novel and her debut novel, "The Measure of Katie Calloway" on my reading lists.
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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."
Such an amazing book. I think it rates at the top of the books I've read this year. I Loved, Loved, Loved it. Serena B. Miller has out done herself with this wonderful, page turning read.
Ingrid Larsen has arrived in 1870's Michigan with hardly any possessions. When a chance meeting with Joshua Hunter, while she is being beaten with a whip, is about to change her entire life. Joshua has his own problems, he has just lost the love of his life, his wife and mother of his 5 children.
His In-Laws have accused him of murder? If he is able to convince the judge that he was not responsible for his wife's death, will he be able to raise his children alone, and keep up with the farm?
Ingrid has come to America to meet her twin Hans, but she has not heard from him. She doesn't know what she will do, now that she has left the employment of the woman who was beating her.
There is a blessing out there by the name of Hazel, and her She-Wolf dog.
There are many struggles ahead for these people, but there is a lot of love and compassion shown. Especially by Ingrid, loved her reaction and acceptance of the children, and Mary. She loves the Lord, and shows it in her actions.
If you only read one book...read this one! It is GREAT!
I received this book from the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.