Thursday, January 16, 2014

His Promise True - Predictable Story, Characters You Care About

Maggie Boon’s got a tough life.  In 1823, a poor, mountain girl doesn’t have a lot of options, especially if her pa is determined to marry her off to an abusive widower with a passel of kids.

So when Maggie laments her fate to the handsome son of a farmer at a barn raising party, his sympathy is not unwelcome until her pa spies them and gets the wrong idea.  Pulling the magistrate from the festivities, Maggie and John David get hitched on the spot, John David befuddled by whiskey and a White Knight complex, Maggie seeing this marriage as a way of escape.

It takes just a few hours of sobering up for John David and Maggie to realize they made a mistake, but John David insists on rescuing Maggie from her predicament, and Maggie is eager to get off the mountain.   With a promise of an annulment and a better life, she sets off with her new groom.

Greta Marlow’s novel, His Promise True, follows the relationship of young Maggie and John David.  The storyline is not untypical of the genre.   Love kindles gradually over a period of time.  Several conflicts arise threatening their fragile relationship.  However, the historical setting gives the reader a taste of pioneering spirit as the couple set off to settle in Texas, overcoming many obstacles in the less than accommodating frontier wilderness.

Their journey is overflowing with peril as they make their way down the river navigating the shoals and snags of the waterways - and their relationship.

His Promise True follows the path of most romance novels, but the characters draw you in – especially John David, young, brash and flawed.   He’s not the heroic perfection populating the genre.  He’s trying to do the best he can – often falling short. And I liked him better for it.  Noble one minute, rash the next, John David was believable.  And Maggie’s scrappy attitude added definite spice to the mix. He and Maggie make mistakes, make the best of it, and move forward.  Like real human beings.

If you like frontier romances, His Promise True is an enjoyable read.  If you like characters who grow as they go, Marlow’s book shows true promise. 


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