Saturday, February 18, 2012

Promise Me This Blog Tour by Cathy Gohlke

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 REVIEW-This is the first time I have ever read anything by Cathy Gohlke. And boy was it a pleasant surprise! I really enjoyed Promise Me This and her take on the Titanic story. I have always been a fan of reading about the Titanic and what a tragedy took place that day. In this story, Cathy weaves a tale of romance, mystery and suspense as well as a release of bitterness and guilt.

Annie is a young lady who deeply loves her older brother. But he decides to sail on the Titanic to go to New Jersey and make a home there with some family. Then when he has enough money and a business he will send for Annie. These two are very sweet together and I loved their relationship. But Annie gets irritated when her brother, Owen, befriends a street urchin who is actually a runaway from an abusive situation. Michael is the runaway who has never had a friend in his life. He also has a dark secret in his past that he thinks about often but was no fault of his own.

Well, I am sure you guess the plot but Michael finds his way onto the Titanic and ends up as a stowaway. When Owen finds out he takes him under his wing to help him. They share their food and sleeping area but Owen also shares his dreams with Michael. Then in the middle of their plotting and dreaming comes that dreadful night when the Titanic hits an iceburg. And Owen pushes Michael into taking his lifevest and a spot on a lifeboat. And from that moment on, everything has changed in their plans. Owen gave his life for Michael and now the dreams they both had become Michael's responsibility. He takes over the business that Owen wanted and plans for the day he can bring Annie to America.

In the meantime, Annie is dealing with her own troubles and an evil aunt. I have to admit, I felt like slapping the woman a couple times. Annie takes over gardening and the woman pulls them all down and burns them. Annie has to deal with the bitterness she has to this wicked woman and how it is pulling her down personally. She doesn't want to forgive the stowaway who she thinks is the reason her brother died.

In the end there is a lot of joy and freedom from guilt and bitterness but it was a long journey. I like how the author didn't just make everything a bed of roses but went through struggles we have daily in our own lives. I also like how she wove the story of John Bunyan and Pilgrim's Progress in this book. It has long been one of my favorite Christian classics and learning about his tombstone and the inscription made my day. There is the use of a swear word twice in this book in the terms of military time. I didn't like having it in there so I wanted to mention it in my review. I can't wait to see what the author has in store next for us her readers! Excellent book!

You can learn more about Cathy Gohlke at her website or on Facebook. Definitely going to be searching for her other books!

I received a copy of this book for review purposes through Tyndale Publishing. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.


Karen Lange said...

I read this too and loved it. She is an amazing writer. She has another book coming out later this year, just in case you wanted to know..:) I believe the title is Band of Sisters.

Happy weekend!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for your excellent review, Charity. Finding the relief on John Bunyon's tomb was a highlight for me. It so perfectly captures the Christian's journey!

Karen is right--my next book releases in September through Tyndale House Publishers, and is called, "Band of Sisters." I hope you'll enjoy that one, too!

Luxembourg said...

This book was well written and I loved the storyline of loss, strength, and love! Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, there would be a twist in the plot and it made me never want to put the book down! I think I read the book cover to cover in one day because I just loved it!

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