This was my first book by Cathy Gohlke. I really looked forward to reading this story. Although it was different than what I had expected, it was a good read and beautifully written.
Owen and Allie Allen are brother and sister. Their parents died and young Allie went to live with their mean aunt Eleanor in England. Owen saved money to sail to America to help an Aunt and Uncle with their garden business. Owen sails to America first with the promise to get Allie as soon as he has earned enough money.
Owen has a golden heart and takes pity on a stowaway on board Titanic.
Michael has ran away from the horrible life he lived with his abusive uncle. He is surprised by the love that Owen shows for him when he finds him on board Titanic. Owen is planning a new life for Michael in America and is teaching him all about plants and seeds. When the disaster happens with Titanic Owen gives Michael a chance for a future.
When Michael comes to America he is lovingly adopted by Aunt Maggie and Daniel. He's a hard worker and helps to make the gardens profitable. He's working hard to earn enough money to get Annie to America, meanwhile the two start writing letters.
Annie has a lot to adapt to after Owen left. She starts to love Michaels letters, but when WWI breaks out something happens and no one hears anything from Annie anymore.
What happened? Is she safe?
There surely happens a lot in this story, many years pass. And sometimes I wondered if some parts could have left out. Therefor I give 4 stars instead of 5. The writing is pleasant, the research well done, the characters are very real. Altogether this makes a good story!
I started reading this book thinking it was about the Titanic...it is so very much more! We all know the out come of the ships fate, and when you get engrossed in this story, you hope beyond hope that the all the character's we have now met on the ship will survive. Of course, this is a fictional story based on fact.
Owen Allen is such a great God loving Character, with such a big heart. His sister Annie has not had an easy life, her parents are deceased, and she has been living with her Aunt Eleanor, the Devil Incarnate!
Owen wants to send for her as soon as he has enough money, and have her come to America.
Michael Dunnagan, has also had a very rough life, and becomes a stowaway on the Titanic, and is helped and loved by Owen. Owen embraces him and has him sew his plants and seeds into his coat, to plant his Allen's Run Garden in New Jersey...in America!
Once we get to New Jersey we meet Owen's Aunt and Uncle that take Michael under their wings and give him the first home he can ever remember. There is so much emotion packed into this book, there are heart wrenching times, and so much love...and throughout it all I see God's hand!
This book then takes us on a journey of World War I, and the flu epidemic. So very much is packed into this unforgettable book...I LOVED it!!
I received this book from the Publisher Tyndale, and was not required to give a positive review!
This book was written to cover over a 4 year time line, so there was a lot going on in such a time span, that the author could have made this book longer or into two separate books. I would have loved it either way.
At times I was left wanting more, more details of what was happening. Like the time that Annie and the Sprague ladies were kicked off the train. I wanted to know more about the adventure and the people they met along the way, instead of the short version in a few paragraphs. And here is were I could see young Annie trapping around in a fancy dress walking along the railway with a parasol or something, looking weary.
For just an inkling of a second in about 75% through, I thought it was going to happen, the dreaded "rush and get this book over with". But it didn't! It kept right on going like a book should. This author surely did not rush the end so she could finish up and move on to something else.
I learned some new things about Titanic that I did not know, and some information about WW1. So I did get some history lessons in here.
I did some highlighting (kindle version) of some quotes that really struck a cord with me, that I wanted to keep.
Like this conversation: "That's all there is to it," she said as if she'd heard his thoughts. "Each morning, when we wake -if we wake- we pick up whatever it is we've been given to carry for that day, with the sweet Lord Jesus in the yoke beside us to tote the load. Each night we lay it down, giving it into God's hands. If it is still there in the morning, we pick it up and begin again. If the burden is gone or if there is something different, we know where to start."
Those are such profound words of encouragement. There are conversations like that through out the book.
If anything, this book will teach you to rely on God's faithfulness, and how bitterness can consume you and keep you away from God's love.
I received this book from Tyndale for free for an honest review.
Promise Me This is a novel of epic proportions, spanning tumultuous years of tragedy and hope.
Michael Dunnagan is an orphan fleeing his abusive uncle, when he crosses paths with Owen Allen, who swiftly takes Michael under his wing. That predestined meeting sets off a chain of events that only God could find a way to use for good. And the Titanic is only the beginning.
Told with a smooth style that allows the reader to be swallowed up into the drama, Promise Me This holds on tight and doesn't let go until the final page is turned down. I found myself lost for hours on end, unwilling to put the book down until I found out what happened next. This is one of those rare books that eludes description, it left me speechless as to how to properly portray it in a way even close to doing it justice.
To me, the characters were real, and I was standing right there with them through it all. My favorite character was Michael because of his unflagging determination to fulfill the promises he made to Owen and to himself. It was inspiring to see his faith grow from doubting to willing to trust God no matter the cost, even if it wasn't what Michael wanted--even if it hurt.
Richly woven with threads of love, sacrifice, loss, tragedy, and hope, written with a style that fills the senses, actually taking me there, Promise Me This would be a tragedy to miss!
Wow. Cathy packed so much into this book! From the Titanic to zeppelin raids, she kept me surprised with every turn of the page. Near the end of the book, just when I thought everything was going to turn out ok, she threw in another twist. Then another. I really had no idea if the final outcome would end to my satisfaction!
Love, hate, bitterness, guilt, fear, grace, and forgiveness - it's all in there! Promise Me This put me into past-midnight-reading-mode for two nights straight.
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine.*