Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Summary from Revell: Can a marriage of convenience ever become one of true love?
Ingrid Larsen arrives in Michigan in 1871 with little more than the clothes on her back and a determination to find her brother, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, the young Swedish immigrant crosses paths with Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed farmer with eyes the color of the ocean she had crossed and five rambunctious children to raise on his own.
Marriage would solve both of their problems, and Ingrid finds herself proposing in broken English to a man she barely knows. Many difficulties lie ahead--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.
Review: Serena B. Miller treats readers to a gentle story of love and sacrifice in “A Promise to Love.” She portrays life in 1870s
with historical detail, and many of the events are based on actual
occurrences. A plot based on a marriage
of convenience is relatively common, but the circumstances surrounding Ingrid’s
and Joshua’s relationship make it unique. Their love blossoms from a partnership,
shared grievances, and Ingrid’s tender nurturing. It is a departure from the
more romantic leanings of other novels, despite the fact that Ingrid falls in
love with Joshua at first sight. Michigan
Ingrid is a very compelling and sweet character, with remarkable strength and determination. Her broken English adds authenticity to the dialogue; and it is endearing, but a bit distracting at times. Despite the many hardships she faces, Ingrid remains upbeat, and it is impossible not to like her and hope that Joshua will realize his treasure. In some ways she seems almost too perfect. She almost effortlessly transitions into a mother and takes on numerous duties to support a husband who cares for her but does not love her.
In addition to striving to win her husband’s love, Ingrid also hopes to find her long-lost brother. Both issues are resolved at the end of the novel, but a bit too quickly for me. A longer epilogue or perhaps a couple of more chapters would have left me more satisfied.
There are some gripping action scenes toward the end of the novel. I found myself eagerly reading the last 100 pages, captivated by Miller’s vivid descriptions. She paints clear scenes throughout the novel, but the clarity takes on extra poignancy when danger enters the plot. The tragedy that occurs is based on actual events experienced by
residents in 1871. It is a small snapshot of a major event that significantly
altered the Michigan Midwest. One of the treasures of historical fiction is
the introduction to events that shaped history. Miller’s history lesson will
definitely remain in my mind.
“A Promise to Love” is a heartwarming novel, and I enjoyed my first introduction to Serena B. Miller’s writing. I will put her future novel and her debut novel, “The Measure of Katie Calloway” on my reading lists.
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”