Promise Me This, by Cathy Gohlke

book cover(I’m posting a day early this week because I’m participating in a blog tour for this title.)

Annie Allen never imagined the day she watched her brother, Owen, sail on Titanic would be the last time she’d see him. Nor could she guess how the tragedy would forever knit her life to Michael Dunnagan, who survived through Owen’s sacrifice.

As Annie struggles to navigate a challenging life in England, Michael labors in New Jersey to create the gardening business Owen once dreamed of and to heal Annie’s grief through letters. In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when her brother did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected.

Bound by a promise yet battling circumstances beyond their control, Michael and Annie dream of the day she can join him in America. But just when Michael saves enough money for her passage, WW1 erupts in Europe. Then Annie’s letters mysteriously stop, forcing Michael to risk everything to find the woman he’s grown to love before she’s lost forever.

Even though I was raised in England, I never put the two events together. The Titanic sunk in 1912 and World War One began in 1914, but in my mind the two were unconnected. I never thought about the families that experienced losses in two events that were so close together, until I read Promise Me This.

Michael, running from a terrible home situation, goes through massive trauma on the Titanic. He is weighted down by the knowledge that Owen sacrificed his life so Michael might live. Owen’s hopes and dreams become Michael’s hopes and dreams, and he is determined to Owen’s promise of bringing Annie to America. When war breaks out and Annie’s letters stop coming, he gets back on a boat and crosses the Atlantic in order to find her. His mission will take him onto the battlefields of a continent at war.

Annie has also been released from a terrible home life, but she can never quite be free of the malicious aunt who is set on ruining her life. Aunt Eleanor’s riches mean she has the potential to destroy the lives of anyone in Annie’s life and blackmails the young woman in doing her bidding. As a result, Annie is sent to nurse soldiers in one of the worst battlefield areas. Will Annie and Michael be able to find each other in war-torn France?

Promise Me This is a beautiful story, even though there are some traumatic scenes. The characters are vividly portrayed, and you get a real sense of what it must have been like on that fateful night of April 1912. Woven into the story is John Bunyan’s Christian and the concept of laying down your burdens, something both characters must do in order to achieve their hopes and dreams.

Publisher: Tyndale House

Publication Date: 20 January 2012

Page Count: 416

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I received my free copy of Promise Me This from Tyndale in exchange for participation in the blog tour for this title.

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2 thoughts on “Promise Me This, by Cathy Gohlke

  1. Thank you, Sally, for an excellent review of “Promise Me This.” You truly captured the heart of the story. How interesting to me that you were born and raised in England. Research there was one of the highlights of my life. Many thanks, and God’s rich blessings for you!

  2. Pingback: Old Favorites: February | Proverbial Reads

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