Summary: "As you read my story, there is something I want you to understand. That in spite of all the pain—past, present and that still to come—I wouldn't have done anything differently. Nor would I trade the time I had with him for anything—except for what, in the end, I traded it for."
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.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the beloved classics The Christmas Box and The Christmas List comes a breathtaking story of the transcendent power of love. -- Simon & Schuster
In the past, I have read a few Christmas books by Richard Paul Evans and I thought they were wonderful reads for this time of year. In fact, I even passed these books along to my mom and grandmother because I knew they would appreciate these stories and their messages too. This year, Mr. Evans has a new Christmas-themed novel out called PROMISE ME. While I did enjoy reading this book, I'm not sure that it captured my heart in quite the same way as some of his other novels did.
That's not to say that I didn't like PROMISE ME because I certainly did. It just didn't touch my heart as much as I was expecting. I liked the characters and the story, and I thought the twist at the end of the story was creative. In addition, I felt that the presentation of the story -- both the diary format and the transitions between past and present -- were interesting. I just didn't feel that affinity with this novel. I guess what I'm saying is that I always cry like a baby when I read Mr. Evans' books, and I didn't have that reaction to this one. (Although I know it's probably not fair to judge a book on whether or not it makes me cry!)
I have mentioned before that my reading tastes definitely change when it comes to Christmas-themed books. I read a lot of books that I'd probably never pick up if they didn't have a holiday cover or storyline. I think that's the case with PROMISE ME. It just isn't a book with a storyline that normally would appeal to me. I find that the beauty of reading this type of Christmas book is how much it makes me "feel" and "think." I appreciate the powerful messages and I like that a book can make me take a step back from all the chaos and reflect on my life and what I have to be grateful for. While PROMISE ME did have some very good messages, they didn't resonate with me so deeply that I continued to think about them. And ultimately, that's why I think I was a little disappointed.
PROMISE ME is definitely a book that certain book clubs would love to read and discuss. There are some powerful messages in this story that deserve some attention. There is a reading guide available which touches on some interesting topics including parent/child relationships, grief, loss, infidelity, new beginnings, sacrifice, and of course, all types of love.
Having said all of this, I don't want it to sound like I didn't find PROMISE ME to be a worthwhile read. I do think many people will enjoy PROMISE ME; and I'm pretty sure lots of readers will relate to the story, characters, and messages.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this novel.