Beth Cardall has a secret. For eighteen years, she has had no choice but to keep it to herself, but on Christmas Eve 2008, all that is about to change.
For Beth, 1989 was a year marked by tragedy. Her life was falling apart: her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was suffering from an unidentifiable illness; her marriage transformed from a seemingly happy and loving relationship to one full of betrayal and pain; her job at the dry cleaners was increasingly at risk; and she had lost any ability to trust, to hope, or to believe in herself. Then, on Christmas Day, as she rushed through a blizzard to the nearest 7-Eleven, Beth encountered Matthew, a strikingly handsome, mysterious stranger, who would single-handedly change the course of her life.
Who is this man, and how does he seem to know so much about her? He pursues her relentlessly, and only after she’s fallen deeply in love with him does she learn his incredible secret, changing the world as she knows it, as well as her own destiny. (synopsis from Richard Paul Evans’ website)
I haven’t read any of Richard Paul Evans’ other novels, so I didn’t really know what to expect with Promise Me. What I found, though, was a lovely holiday-ish story that surprised me.
First of all, Mr. Evans’ writing is descriptive and at times, very poetic. His descriptions are fairly simple, but they’re so accurate and enabled me to visualize very clearly what he was describing. Also, the dialogue read rather fluidly, which is always a plus in my book.
Although the characterizations fall a little on the weak side, the story felt very personal to me, like I knew everything about the characters despite being given little to build from. Beth narrates almost the whole story and it was great seeing her grow as a person and learn to trust again. I loved her relationship with her daughter, Charlotte, and I think their relationship was what really drove the story.
I don’t want to say anything that would give anything away, but I did not see Matthew’s identity coming! I thought I had him all figured out, but I was very wrong and I liked that. It was nice reading a story where my hunches weren’t correct. 🙂 Still, I’m not sure how I feel about who he is.
Overall, I would recommend Promise Me to anyone looking for a nice, heartwarming, story that is a good book to read during the holidays. It’s well-written, surprising, and fast-paced. Not once did I ever feel bored. Although this is considered “adult fiction”, it’s clean and would be appropriate for most readers. The only other thing I disliked about the novel was that the first few chapters were, in my opinion, very cheesy. But I’m glad I continued reading because I ended up really enjoying the book. My mom read it, too, and really liked it as well. 🙂
(cover image taken from Barnes and Noble’s website)