Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Promise Me This

Summary: 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 Take: I'm going to admit to be being more than pleasantly surprised by this book. There's something about Titanic that still captures our imaginations and breaks our hearts. With the anniversary this year there have been a lot of books and events to help us never forget. This story doesn't stop there though. It travels farther and deeper into the lives of one family to see how they were never the same after that night.
I've heard comparisons before that a good character is like an onion -- you can peel back layer after layer, revealing more and more of the "real" person as you go. This whole book is like that. It is filled with so much meaning and depth and you watch as the characters mature and change into who they need to be - always hoping for them to find happiness in the midst of the sorrow around them. 

The summary tells you enough about Annie and Michael - at least I don't want to give away any more than what she has. What I would like to say is that the author has written the perfect story for us right now. Not just as a tribute to those who went through the events described in her book, but when we look around and see war and wish our loved ones were home safe, or we have worries about the economy in the United States or around the world, with a divisive election coming up . . . We can read about the insecurities, failings, bravery, determination and the faith of those that came before us. A reminder of who we are and how we overcome is exactly what we need - and this does it with a beautifully woven story that is one of my favorites.  

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