Promise Me This
written by Cathy Gohlke
published in 2012
The plot begins in 1912, with two sides of the story. There is Michael, an Irish boy in England, having to deal with an uncle who mistreats him severely. Finding a need to escape from his gutter-rat life, he becomes a stowaway in hopes of finding a new life in America. On the other side of the story, there are the Hargraves, a well-to-do family consisting of a scheming, depraved aunt, and her niece and nephew. Her nephew Owen, now becoming a young man, feels the desire to leave and start a safe life for himself and his sister before it's too late to depart from his aunt's house.
Owen and Michael both find refuge and a place to stash their dreams... on the R.M.S. Titanic. With hopes of creating something better for themselves, each is sailing to America. After the unforeseen, historically epic shipwreck shatters everything they had planned, the hopeful dreams dissolve into the ocean. But a promise is made.
One thing I really enjoy about this book is that it spans across a series of years. The story doesn't end when Titanic does, but it goes on, stretching into World War I. Annie, Owen's sister, takes up an important role in the war effort, becoming a nurse. The vivid descriptions of nurses, and the scenes they had to face every single day throughout that entire war---just horrid. Yet they pushed forward and became stronger women for it. I also enjoyed learning about gardens, roses, and landscaping, as these subjects becoming a recurring theme in the novel. It provided life in the center of a war where no life remained.
In the midst of all the years, a new love blooms, reaching from one side of the ocean to the other. It happens so tenderly, in a way almost imperceptible, but without this romance, much would be lost from the overall story.
The Christian themes running throughout were also quite pleasurable. Just the simple act of hearing the characters pray to God or offer their thanks to Him added extra emotion that can really tug on your heartstrings. Sometimes it is only with God that a person's true feelings emerge.
I personally savored this book, and it was well worth the read! I'm looking forward to reading more by Cathy Gohlke.
~*~I'm linking up to Book Review Wednesdays on Cym Lowell's blog!