Book Review: Michelle Vernal, The Promise

The Promise

The Promise

The Promise Cover

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry.

Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits, and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight.

In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother; Ted brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.

When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?

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The idea of a promise to a dying woman is an intriguing way to begin a tale, and we are thrown straight into the deep end in The Promise, with Isobel sharing Ginny’s last few moments of life. The action then quickly moves to the Isle of Wight, where Isobel tries to find Constance, and pass on Ginny’s message.

Through Isobel’s interactions with the people she meets, we see what sort of person she is; a girl who vanished on an adventurous trip of a lifetime to get over a broken relationship, currently feeling a bit lost as to who she is, and where she’s going. Finding Constance, discovering her story and past, gives her a real focus, and that’s something we can definitely all empathise with!

There were odd snippets I struggled with in the book, with the occasional turn of phrase which jolted slightly, but overall, this was a heart-warming and heartfelt tale of finding the truth, and finding yourself.

About Michelle

btyMichelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.

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