The Promise by Michelle Vernal
Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Promise by Michelle Vernal.
As always, thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part .
Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.
When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away. She asks her to find Constance and to say she’s sorry.
Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits. The promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight.
In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother. It brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. However, when Constance meets a Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and find love. However, it’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.
When Isabel and Constance’s paths cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?
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I am a huge fan of Michelle Vernal’s writing and couldn’t wait to get started on The Promise. I was drawn to it by the mysterious title and striking cornflower blue cover.
Isabel Stark is away travelling around New Zealand. Just as her working holiday comes to an end she comes across the scene of a car accident. She immediately rushes to see if she can help.
Inside the car lies a dying old lady who just lives long enough to pass Isabel a message. She promises to pass on the message to a person called Constance, however, she has no idea who the lady is.
Isabel attends the funeral to find out more about the old lady (Ginny). Surprisingly she is informed that she originated from The Isle of Wight. With Ginny’s last words on her mind, Isabel pledges to honour the promise and find Constance when she returns to England.
The book then goes into a dual timeline. We are introduced to Constance as a young girl in 1944. The war is ravaging the small island and Constance suffers unbelievable hardship and loss. Constance’s story is emotional but compelling and perfectly explains her character in later life.
Back in The Present Day
Isabel manages to find Constance after a series of coincidences. They then begin to strike up an unlikely friendship. In fact, the older lady is just what Isabel needs to restore her confidence. Finally, after never really fitting in anywhere she finally starts to believe in herself.
The thing I loved most about Michelle Vernal’s novels is the strength of her characters. Each one is uniquely different, usually warm and welcoming, with their own quirky personalities. The plot is interjected with humour which consequently gives a ‘feel good’ air to her writing.
I have never visited The Isle of Wight, however, the location is described so beautifully you can almost taste the salty air. There are also references to healing herbs and natural remedies which I found fascinating.
An absorbing, rather whimsical story, beautifully written with multi-layered characters.
Here are links to reviews I have posted on other Michelle Vernal novels.
Author Bio –
Michelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle believes in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.
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