When Ingrid Larsen arrived in Michigan in 1871, from her native Sweden, she certainly didn’t expect to end up the servant of an irrational, cruel woman who would be screaming at her about accidentally breaking a tea set.
Instead, she thought she’d be happily starting to live the American dream of religious freedom when meeting up with her twin brother, Hans, whom she is very close. But he wasn’t waiting for her as he was supposed to. Once the money ran out, she had nothing else to do but start working. Ingrid didn’t mind working – but her worry about her brother’s disappearance and the continual abuse of her new employer has her wondering what the future will hold now.
Then she crosses paths with Joshua Hunter. A handsome, newly widowed farmer with five children and a farm he’s trying to make successful. When circumstances arise that Ingrid sees in his principled, ocean blue eyes would destroy him – she spontaneously suggests, in her broken English, a marriage of convenience to help solve both their problems.
Life will still present many difficulties, though. One of which will be wondering if her still grieving husband will ever love her…
I’ll admit that I’m not always a fan of mail-order bride books or, like in this case, marriages of convenience. So often I feel they’re done with an oddly romantic ideal in the author’s mind. It can depend. But with A Promise to Love I was more than willing to give it a try because Serena B. Miller blew me away last year with The Measure of Katie Calloway.
And wow. She’s done it again!!
Both of the main characters here, Ingrid and Joshua, feel different, fresh, likable and genuine as real people. Ingrid, especially, really resonated with me – her personality is so strong, admirable, and oftentimes truly hilarious. She’s a woman to look up to – with a backbone. She was never simpering, which I tend to get tired of, unlike many other female characters in historical fiction/romance. I loved her!
I didn’t give all the info in my synopsis as to why a marriage of convenience comes about – because the circumstances are heart-rending, and I want you to experience it for yourself when you read A Promise to Love. What I will say is that it was one of the noblest reasons I have ever read. Plus, once it took place there was such a credible awkwardness, hesitance, and timid hope I was astounded.
A Promise to Love features charming, sweet, moving characters hobbling a life together out of faith and love. It’s a slow-building, unaffected, beautiful story of family and falling in love. I was truly swept away by the simplicity of joy, of strength and honor.
Then there ends up being connections and interweaving of the characters of The Measure of Katie Calloway, which thrilled me to pieces!
As the tension of multiple storylines I won’t give away come to climatic conclusion, I found that A Promise to Love could be one of my favorite historical romance novels of the year!
I’m a sucker for relationships built on friendship – and a glimpse of integrity that sadly doesn’t seem to be as commonplace anymore. A Promise to Love is definitely a must-read, in my opinion!
*Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
*I received a copy of A Promise to Love from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.