Reviewed by Amanda Schafer
Newly divorced Allison is moving into her Aunt Emma’s house in the mountains of Idaho, looking for a new start after finalizing things with her ex-husband. She joins her local church and becomes friends with the people there and slowly begins to put her life back together. While updating the house and doing some cleaning she comes across old journals of Emma’s along with a mysterious wedding dress–a strange wedding dress because no one in the family ever spoke of Emma having been married. While Allison is reading through the journals, she is also working on her relationship with her ex-husband, Tony. Tony was an alcoholic while they were married and it broke Allison emotionally and spiritually until she finally gave him an ultimatum. Now, her daughter, Meredith, assures her Tony is back to working the 12-Steps and is sober and doing well but Allison struggles to come to terms with it all. Knowing how many times she begged for God to heal her marriage, she is struggling with why God chooses now, after the divorce, to give Tony the courage to get sober and stay that way.
Emma’s journals speak of her life as a teen and then a young woman married to a man named Alexander. Alexander was completely in love with Emma’s sister, Elizabeth (Allison’s grandmother), but Liza fell in love with someone else. So as a consolation, Alexander married Emma. Knowing he didn’t love her, Emma decided to make the best of her marriage and did everything she could to make Alexander love her. But love never came and eventually Alexander cheated on her. The day he battered her was the day that Liza forced Emma to leave him. Emma never stopped loving him, though, and prayed for him until the day he died.
Allison learned much from reading through Emma’s journals and found a new sense of peace about her own marriage. She knew she needed to continue to pray for Tony and love him because God loved him. Was it possible God allowed for them to be torn apart only to draw them back together again?
As always, Robin Lee Hatcher has done a good job of showing grace and mercy within the pages of A Promise Kept and displayed how our promises are not negated by things like divorce or hard times. Allison struggles greatly and shows it by questioning God, asking many of the same questions that we all might ask if in the same circumstances. I like how it allowed us to relate with Allison and made her character feel “real” to us. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that Allison began to have a relationship with a man whose son had died in a car accident only months before, and whose wife had left him in the aftermath of it all. He had only been separated from his wife for a few weeks before he started coming around asking Allison out. It just seemed off to me that a man who had been married over a decade and had just lost his son would be out even entertaining the thought of a new relationship. Other than that one aspect, the book was great!
Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas Nelson. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.