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.*
If you love historical novels you must read this new one by Christy Award winner, Cathy Gohlke. Promise Me This is a riveting story that begins with a journey on the Titanic and continues through WWI. In it, we meet Owen Allenâ€”the loving, gentle man who tries his best to care for his little sister as well as the hungry teen boy he finds roaming the streets of London. Owen has a dream of a better life for his sister and sets out to meet distant relatives in America in order to make his dreams come true. His sister Annie has many hurdles to cross as she tries to make her way in the world after her brother's untimely death. Then there is Michael Dunnagan, the hungry orphan who gets a chance at a better life because of Owen's sacrifice.
While all of the characters are realistic and interesting I found myself especially drawn to Michael. The story of his beginnings and hardships fascinated me and I thrilled as I saw how he grasped the opportunities afforded him and created a better life for himself. His gratitude to Owen and his determination to become a good man just like him was very moving. Equally as moving were Owen's sacrifices to assure that those he loved had a better chance at life. Annie's character rounded out the story perfectly with her many struggles to protect her loved ones and survive insurmountable odds. In many ways, this novel reminded me of a Dickens tale with all the different characters and story lines woven together.
When you find a story that not only holds your attention but also has a satisfying ending, you feel your reading time was well spent. When you can also add to that the elements of Godly character, Christian sacrifice and spiritual growth of the people in the story you have found a rare and wonderful book to be read over and over as well as shared with others. This is such a book. I give it six out of five stars.
I received this complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers for this review. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here are my own.
I love all things Titanic, and Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke did not disappoint! When I started reading, I thought I would get an emotional romance focused around a journey on the Titanic and possibly the aftermath of the tragic sinking. I got so much more than I expected!
Cathy managed to tell the story of three individuals in a way that made it seem that they had been connected forever (and in some ways, I guess they were). The story began with the Titanic and ended sometime after World War I. I didn't realize before reading this how close those two major events were. I can't imagine going through one of those tragedies, much less two so close together.
Because the novel covered such a long period of time, I felt like I really got to know the characters. You could see real growth and struggle over a period of several years. I also appreciated how characters like Owen who were only present in a short portion of the book were still central to the rest of the story. Through Michael and Annie's story, I felt like I got to know Owen better too. Impressive!
The writing was incredibleâ€”powerful and descriptive and beautiful. Take this passage from page 44, for example:
"In that moment a hundred thousand flowers filled the air, a joyous farewell from the passengers aboard Titanic. But for Annie, the shower of Bealing's buttonholes and pert nosegaysâ€”so many lovingly grown and tended by her brotherâ€”beat against her face in a stinging rain, a million petal tears to mingle with her own, flung high and swept into the sea."
As far as drawbacks . . . I felt like the plot started off a little slow. However, once the book really got going, I was glad for the background that takes place over the first several chapters.
And for those of you who may be a little leery of romance novels, I wouldn't even classify this as a "romance," although there's enough romance to keep avid romantics hooked.
Promise Me This is a beautiful story of loss, family, and God's faithfulness through tragedy. I can't wait to see what Cathy writes next! [5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Promise Me This is the tale of Michael Dunnagan's promise to a near stranger.
A stranger who saved him from a life of abuse, sacrificed for him during the sinking of the Titanic, and taught him how to have hope.
Promise Me This is also the story of this stranger's sister Annie, left behind to wait in England until the groundwork was set for her to make her own voyage to America.
Michael and Annie have one thing in common...Owen, the stranger/brother.
When Owen discovered Michael in an alley he did what he thought best and got the boy some work.
When Owen discovers Michael a second time as a stowaway on the great Titanic, he does what he thinks is best yet again by taking this boy under his wing and again promising him work.
Owen teaches Michael everything he knows about gardening and as the days pass he grows to call Michael brother.
Michael makes one promise to Owen and that is that he will help him work to save up enough money to get Annie to the states.
The Titanic, as we all know, goes down.
Remembering that he made a sacred promise to Owen, Michael does all he can to hold up his end of the bargain.
Meanwhile, Annie, having lost everything and being tortured emotionally by an Aunt who hates the very thought of her, does everything she can to protect all she has left.
When all that she has left is suddenly threatened Annie must disappear.
Upon receiving news of Annie's disappearance, Michael ventures back across the seas and right into the middle of WWI to find Annie and make right on the promise he made to Owen.
I am not one to pick up books riddled with romance.
Nor am I one who typically reads book about the Titanic.
However, receiving this book from Tyndale.com gave me an opportunity to read something that I normally wouldn't have looked twice at.
I'm so thankful for the opportunity, as I have now discovered an author whose writing style sucks me in!
Cathy's passion for her characters is exposed in each page of this book.
The depth of their emotions and the continual ebb and flow of this book pulled me in so deep that I could picture the sinking Titanic, the graphic war scenes, and the characters in a context all their own.
My heart felt each emotion as though it were personal.
The extreme hatred towards Eleanor Hargrave and her wicked ways.
The deep pain of having lost everything that Annie faced again and again.
The growing hope that Michael developed in his new life.
I highly encourage everyone to get a copy of this book!
If you like books about the Titanic, but wanted to know more about the people who voyaged with her, this is your book.
If you like books that touch on the war, this is a book for you.
If you like romance, this is a book for you.
If, however, you don't think any of these categories fit you...I still encourage you to read it.
I was skeptical and now I'm a believer!
My only comparison would be to Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.
In my eyes this book far surpasses that love story.
Please find a reason to buy this book, your heart will thank you!