Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blog Tour: Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

Promise Me This
by Cathy Gohlke
Historical Christian Fictio
Published February 2012
Tyndale House Publishers
416 pages

About the Book
Michael Dunnagan was never supposed to sail on the Titanic, nor would he have survived if not for the courage of Owen Allen. Determined to carry out his promise to care for Owen’s relatives in America and his younger sister, Annie, in England, Michael works hard to strengthen the family’s New Jersey garden and landscaping business.

Annie Allen doesn’t care what Michael promised Owen. She only knows that her brother is gone—like their mother and father—and the grief is enough to swallow her whole. As Annie struggles to navigate life without Owen, Michael reaches out to her through letters. In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when Owen did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected. Just as Michael saves enough money to bring Annie to America, WWI erupts in Europe. When Annie’s letters mysteriously stop, Michael risks everything to fulfill his promise—and find the woman he’s grown to love—before she’s lost forever.

My Thoughts
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 incredible—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 nosegays—so many lovingly grown and tended by her brother—beat against her face in a stinging rain, a million petal tears to mingle with her own, flung high and swept into the sea.
See what I mean?

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.

About the Author
Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award–winning author of William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Book of the Year Award and was listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008.

Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children's and education ministries. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, make their home on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland.

Cathy Gohlke Online

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your wonderful review of "Promise Me This!" It's a story I loved researching and writing. The characters came alive for me, too, as I wrote, and felt very much like friends and family I'd known a long time. All these months later I still wouldn't be surprised to run into them in town. : )

    My next book, "Band of Sisters," set in New York City (1910-1911), will release in September. I hope you'll enjoy that one, too!


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