God was going to save her marriage, Allison was sure of it. But neither her husband nor her marriage had been saved.
What had become of His promise?
Tony Kavanagh had been Allison’s dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials.
The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she'd misunderstood.
Now, living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself.
As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma’s life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord?
Drawing from her own heart-wrenching story of redemption, A Promise Kept is Robin Lee Hatcher’s emotionally charged thanksgiving to a God who answers prayers—in His own time and His own ways.
"Hatcher’s latest is an uplifting and heartwarming story about the power of faith to set people free from the pain of their pasts. Recommended where Tracie Peterson’s books (All Things Hidden; The Miner’s Lady) are popular." —Library Journal, STARRED Review
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Bestselling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, author of more than 75 books, is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an eleven-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award. In addition to many other awards, she is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin makes her home with her husband on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillion puppy named Boo and a persnickety tuxedo cat named Pinky. For more information, visit robinleehatcher.com; Facebook: robinleehatcher; Twitter: @robinleehatcher.
Read an Excerpt
A Promise Kept
By Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 Robin Lee Hatcher
All rights reserved.
This wasn't the life Allison Kavanagh had imagined for herself, but it was what her life had become. Like it or not, she had to get on with it.
She turned the key in the lock.
Hidden away in the mountains north of Boise, the two-story log house—built many decades before but completely remodeled on the inside—was open and airy with a state-of-the-art kitchen, modern efficiencies throughout, and spectacular views of the rugged Idaho mountains from every window. The place had been left to Allison four years earlier in her great-aunt's will. Never in her wildest dreams had Allison imagined she would end up living in it one day. Perhaps Aunt Emma had seen the future a little more clearly than she had.
Welcome to your new home.
A lump formed in her throat, but she fought back the tears. She was weary of crying—it was all she'd done for months and months. Sometimes it felt like years and years. Setting her mouth, she dropped her purse onto the small table inside the front door.
Some of her own furniture filled the living room. She was glad of it. Made the place feel a little less foreign to her. Not that it was foreign to her. She'd visited her aunt's home many times throughout her life, and after it had come into Allison's possession, it had served as an occasional getaway, a place of peace when life's storms became too much to handle.
Dear Aunt Emma. The sister of Allison's maternal grandmother, Emma Carter had been considered somewhat of a "rebel" in the family. Never married and financially independent because of her success as a nature photographer, added to sound investments and careful spending, she'd lived as she pleased. Oh, the stories Aunt Emma used to tell about World Wars I and II, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression. If ever a woman was born with the gift of storytelling, it had been Emma Carter. No wonder Allison had adored her.
"How do I get on with my life, Aunt Emma?" she whispered.
If Aunt Emma were still alive, she would have answered honestly and directly. No mincing words. Emma Carter had never sugarcoated anything for anybody. Not even for her favorite—as she'd always called Allison—and only—as Allison had pointed out in return—great niece. But Aunt Emma was gone. Allison would have to find the answers on her own or muddle along as best she could without them.
She passed through the living room and walked down the short hallway to the master bedroom. The new queen-sized four-poster she'd purchased sat against the opposite wall, bare of bedclothes other than a quilted mattress cover. Staring at the bed, she felt her aloneness afresh. It burned through her like salt in an open wound.
She looked away.
In a corner of the bedroom sat her large desk and credenza. It too was naked. Allison hadn't entrusted her MacBook, large external display, or printer to the movers. Those important items were still in her car in the driveway.
A design deadline loomed closer. She'd best get her office set up and make certain the Internet was turned on as promised by the cable provider. Her to-do list was too long to ignore, even for a few days. And besides, keeping busy took her mind off many less pleasant realities. Immersing herself in work had been her salvation. For years, really, but especially over the past eleven months. Ever since the day she'd uttered her ultimatum.
The lump in her throat returned. She swallowed again.
"Tough love" some would have called her take-it-or-leave-it demand, and she'd been certain tough love was required in the situation. But she'd believed what she said would be that last straw, that illusive bottom, those words that would change everything.
They had changed everything. Just not the way she'd hoped they would. Not the way she'd wanted. Not for the better. Not as promised.
Why didn't You keep Your promise?
It was the most she'd said to God in a while. The ability to pray seemed to have shriveled inside of her. One more loss added to so many others.
With a shake of her head, Allison retraced her footsteps to the living room, went out onto the wide redwood deck that circled three sides of the house, and descended the steps to her pale gold SUV parked in the driveway. From behind the driver's seat she released her dog from his crate and set him on the ground. Gizmo sniffed at his new surroundings.
"You stay close. I don't want an eagle or a bear having you for lunch." The tricolored papillon perked up his ears, and she couldn't keep from smiling. "You're such a good boy."
She'd bought Gizmo from a local breeder to help fill the vast emptiness that had surrounded her after her husband walked out the door, leaving her and her ultimatum in the dust. Having an active puppy around had helped ease the emptiness too. There was always something she needed to do for the little guy—feed him, take him for a walk, give him a bath, let him out to do his business.
She'd read somewhere that owning a papillon meant never going to the bathroom alone, and it was true. Gizmo followed her everywhere. He slept on the unused right side of the bed. He sat near her feet when she ate, a hopeful expression on his face even though she never let him eat table scraps. He curled up beside her on the sofa while she watched television. He lay in his dog bed under her desk when she was on the computer. He was her constant and best companion, and she loved him for making her feel less alone.
Perhaps she would become that crazy old lady who lived in a log cabin in the mountains, talking only to her dog. Or dogs. She could get Gizmo a friend or two. Or maybe she should acquire a half-dozen cats. She could give herself a funky haircut and let it go all frizzy and kinky. She could dress in bright, baggy clothes. But then, who would know if she was crazy or not? Who would see her? A dense forest separated her from her nearest neighbors, and she was miles up a winding highway to the nearest town. Not to mention that her only child, Meredith, lived halfway across the country.
A crazy old lady. She closed her eyes and released a sigh. Forty-five wasn't old, but some days it seemed like it. Some days forty-five felt like ninety.
She went to the back of the Tribeca and opened the rear door. Her LED computer display was in its original box with a handle. She grabbed it along with her laptop case and headed into the house. And for the next several hours, while she hooked up electronics in the bedroom and the living room and otherwise settled in, she managed to keep her thoughts from returning to the sad place they too often traveled to.
That was no small victory.
It was the silence that awakened her the next morning. She'd forgotten how quiet the forest could be, especially in the spring before vacationers found their way to the campgrounds that dotted the area and in the fall when the hunters were out in force. In Boise the sun would already be full up. Here, it took longer before it topped the eastern ridge. But there was still enough light in the room to see Gizmo staring at her, silently asking to be let out.
"All right," she grumbled. "All right. I'm getting up."
Gizmo barked and jumped off the bed.
Allison reached for her robe as she sat up. It might be May on the calendar, but there was a wintery chill in the morning air.
"I need coffee," she whispered as she headed toward the front door.
She stood on the deck, hugging herself to keep warm while she kept an eye on Gizmo. When he returned, they went straight to the kitchen. She grabbed her favorite mug, plopped a K-Cup into her Cuisinart coffeemaker, and pressed Brew. When her coffee was ready, she carried the mug into the living room and settled onto her favorite chair. Watching sunlight kiss the tops of tall trees, she let her thoughts meander through time, at last settling on her parents.
Robert and Margaret Knight. Bob and Maggie to their close friends. If ever two people loved each other, it was her mom and dad. Growing up, when her dad's car pulled into the driveway at 5:40 p.m. each weekday, her mom's eyes lit up. She acted as though she hadn't seen him in nine days instead of nine hours. Dad was the same way with her.
Allison and her brother, Chuck, had golden childhoods. They truly did. They were loved and encouraged and supported. They had everything they needed and plenty of what they wanted. Their mom had hauled them all over creation for their various activities—ballet, football, piano, track, Brownies, Cub Scouts—and she'd beamed with pride over their accomplishments. And their dad had been the rock at the center of their home. He still was.
Allison's extended family had never been huge, but all of them—"in-laws and outlaws," her dad used to call them—were close. They used to gather together for birthdays and Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. They used to have summer barbecues and weekend card parties. They'd gone camping together, the whole lot of them, sometimes in the forest behind Aunt Emma's log house.
Good food and lots of laughter. Those had been two constants throughout Allison's growing up years. Foolishly, she'd thought that was how it was in every family. Naively, she'd thought that was how it would be after she married Tony and they had a family of their own.
It hadn't turned out quite that way.
Tony Kavanagh. Star quarterback and president of the high school debate team. Straight-A student all the way through his schooling. Tall, dark, and handsome. A walking cliché. Whatever he'd touched in those early years had turned to gold. She'd loved him almost from the first moment she laid eyes on him as he walked across the Boise State campus.
Did she love him still? No. Although she still loved the memo ries of the good times they'd had as a family. Mostly, what she felt now was grief. The dream of a happy, lasting marriage had died a slow and painful death, and she'd buried it and mourned it. Mourned it even now.
She gave her head a shake, hoping to dislodge the sad thoughts. She should get off her fanny and get to work. She had a website design to finish by the end of next week. The client had been patient, understanding when Allison needed an extra few weeks because of her move. But she didn't want to miss the new deadline. She prided herself on being on time.
And yet, even knowing this, when she rose from the chair, she didn't head for her desk, nor did she walk to the bathroom so she could shower and dress. Instead, after brewing a second cup of coffee, she wandered up the stairs. She looked into the two bedrooms, empty except for boxes she needed to go through again and the treadmill she hadn't used in weeks. She'd given away and donated many possessions before the move, but there was still so much stuff. How had she accumulated it all? How had they accumulated it all? She needed to get rid of even more.
But not today. I don't want to go through it today.
She sighed and was about to retrace her steps but stopped when she noticed the trapdoor that led to the attic. Aunt Emma hadn't allowed Allison and Chuck to go up there when they were children. Allison had never asked to do so as an adult. And it hadn't occurred to her to explore the attic after the house came into her possession. To be honest, she'd forgotten it was even accessible via the door in the hall ceiling. She hadn't looked up until now.
Had Aunt Emma kept anything in the attic? Had she emptied it before her death?
A short rope was strung from a handle, the opposite end looped around a hook screwed into the wall. Allison unwound the loop, took a breath, and pulled downward. The trapdoor opened with surprising ease and the wooden ladder slid to the floor. As she put her foot on the bottom rung, she halfway expected to hear Aunt Emma scold her from downstairs.
"Wait here, Gizmo."
Her dog lay down, resting his muzzle on his paws.
When Allison's head rose above the insulated opening, she discovered morning light streaming through windows on both the front and back ends of the attic room. A naked lightbulb hanging from the ceiling told her the room was wired for electricity should she ever want to be up here at night. She doubted that would happen, but a brief glance around located the light switch.
There were numerous cardboard boxes stacked at one end of the room. A dress form stood guard near one window, a measuring tape draped around its neck. Beside the dress form was an old treadle sewing machine. When Allison was a little girl, both of those items were in Aunt Emma's bedroom, where Allison's desk sat now. It must have been a good twenty-five years since she'd last seen them.
She climbed the rest of the way up the ladder and stood in the center of the attic. To her left, against the sloped sides of the attic, were two battered steamer trunks and one cedar hope chest. Instinct told her the cardboard boxes would hold "things" while the trunks and chest would hold keepsakes. She was drawn in the latter's direction.
The United States declared war on Germany on Emma Isobel Carter's tenth birthday—April 6, 1917. Forever after, even when she was older and knew better, Emma would have the strange feeling she'd been the cause of one of her family's greatest sadnesses. But on that particular birthday, all she knew was that the adults wore grim expressions and her birthday party, complete with cake and ice cream, felt sad.
Although Emma had hoped for books for her tenth birthday, the gift from her parents was a doll, identical to the one her sister, Elizabeth, had received on her ninth birthday two months earlier. Emma didn't play with dolls, but Mama never seemed to notice. Emma would much rather tuck herself in a corner somewhere and read a book about foreign places. Or climb a tree. Or skip rocks on the pond. Or ride her horse bareback in the pasture.
Emma knew, even at her tender age, she would never be as pretty as her sister. Elizabeth—younger by ten months—was more than pretty. She was beautiful. Everyone said so. Liza, as Emma called her sister, had golden ringlets and sky-blue eyes and a smile that melted hearts, Emma's included. Liza was sweet and charming without even trying; it came as natural to her as drawing breath.
That night, well after Liza had fallen asleep, Emma got out of bed and went downstairs to get a drink of water. That was when she overheard her parents talking in the parlor.
"Will you have to go, Roger?"
"I don't believe so. Not unless the war drags on."
"It's already dragged on. England's been fighting in Europe for years. So many men have died and still it goes on."
"Don't worry, Pearl. They'll call up unmarried men first. Younger men. I don't think I'll have to go."
"But my brother will. Won't he?"
"Yes, Stewart would be called up. If there's a conscription, they'll take the younger and single men first. But I imagine he'll volunteer before that could happen."
Her mother's voice fell to a whisper. "You don't really think he'll volunteer, do you?"
"I think he might, Pearl. Young men always seem eager to rush off to war, and your brother has a strong sense of patriotism."
Her mother started to cry.
Emma returned to her bedroom without getting a glass of water from the kitchen. She'd lost her thirst. She didn't understand everything her parents had said, but she understood Uncle Stewart was probably going away. Her uncle was the one adult who seemed to like Emma just the way she was, and now he would be leaving.
She stood at the window, looking out at the moonless night. A tomboy—that's what Mama called Emma sometimes—and she didn't make it sound like a good thing to be. But one time, when he'd heard what Mama said, Uncle Stewart winked at Emma and whispered, "You go right ahead and be a tomboy. Climb those trees. Ride those horses. Read all those books. Go as high as you can as fast as you can and learn as much as you can."
When she heard Uncle Stewart's voice saying those things in her head, she wasn't afraid to do anything, try anything, be anything. But when she couldn't hear his voice, when he wasn't around to encourage her with a grin and a wink, it was easier to just do what others, like Mama and Liza, wanted her to do and to be what they wanted her to be.
Excerpted from A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher. Copyright © 2013 Robin Lee Hatcher. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Promise Kept, written by Robin Lee Hatcher, tells two stories of love lost. First, you are introduced to Allison Kavanagh. She is moving to set up residence in the cabin her great-aunt Emma had left to her upon her death. Allison is trying to put her life back together following her recent divorce. After a twenty-plus year marriage, she has finally decided to stop enabling her former husband, Tony, in his alcoholic ways! As Allison slowly settles into her new environment, she begins to meet people in the small town of Kings Meadow. As she is making new friends in this new place, it also seems like she is getting to know her great-aunt Emma in a whole new way. When Allison finds all the journals that tell the story of Emma's life, she gets a glimpse at all the joys as well as the sorrows that Emma experienced throughout her ninety years of life! As you learn about how God held Emma fast through the loss of her husband's place in her life, you wonder where God is leading Allison in this new place she is in! http://penlessreview.blogspot.com/
Allison Kavanagh who is recently divorced moves into her great aunt Emma's home in Kings Meadow, Idaho to put the pieces of her life back together after a painful divorce. The journals she finds in the attic that were written by her great aunt Emma completely change her life. Through the journals she learns to forgive her ex-husband, Tony. They help her draw closer to God and to hear his voice more clearly. She also comes to the realization that just because a prayer isn't answered immediately it doesn't mean it won't be answered. She learns she must simply wait on God. In this book you follow the lives of both Allison and her great aunt Emma. Allison's life happening at present and Emma's through her journals written over a span of forty years. Shared one entry at a time, each letter is a glimpse into Emma's past. A past that has been hidden for decades from future generations. You will come to know the true aunt Emma right along with Allison who uncovers secrets as she reads through the pages one by one. You will experience Emma's highs and lows, her moments of rejoicing and her moments of heartbreak along with little bits of wisdom on every page. Quote: "A faith that can't be tested can't be trusted" I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the lives of these characters for the duration of this story. They were so lovable and endearing and both Allison's and Emma's stories, although they happened in different eras, are prevalent today. You will see God's power of restoration unfold within the pages as each character draws closer to the One that makes all things new. Quote: "Freedom. I thought much about the word over the winter. I contemplated what it means to be free in Christ, and I resolved that freedom in Christ is the only kind of freedom worth anything. Every other kind of freedom pales beside it. And if I am free in Christ, then I will know freedom wherever he leads me, even if He should lead me into a prison cell, as He did the apostle Paul, or into a solitary life in a log house in the mountains of Idaho, as it seems to be now for me. I continue to pray for Alexander. I wish he might know this freedom too. I understand now, as I could not understand before, that he was bound up on the inside. I wanted him to fill my every need, needs that can only be filled by the King of Kings. It is not fair to put that burden on another human being..." Such thought provoking revelations are common in this story. It will satisfy you as a reader and strengthen your faith. The romance aspect takes a backseat but you will never miss it as the story makes a profound statement all on its own. Many tears were shed while reading this book and I encourage you to read the Author's Note at the end of the story as well because the tears don't end with the story. This is a miraculous story of healing and restoration that will touch the reader's heart. I HIGHLY recommend it! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. If I recommend a book you can believe it's simply because I liked it. I received no monetary compensation for the review.
I'm a big fan of Robin Lee Hatcher, and when I learned that A Promise Kept was a smidge auto-biographical, I was even more intrigued. I flew through this book in a couple of days. Hatcher adopts a unique way of telling two stories—Allison's through the main narrative and Emma's through journal entries that Allison finds in the house. I loved getting to read both stories. At times, though, I felt that they could have been two separate stories, and I wanted just a little more of Emma's story to finish it out. But I loved how they paralleled each other so nicely. While this is a romance, I loved how the main focus was on Allison and Emma's developing relationships with the Lord—the greatest romance of all! Everything didn't turn out perfectly by human standards, but it still felt like a "happy ending." The two stories each gave a tangible example of what redemption looks like, again paralleling with the message of the gospel. Robin Lee Hatcher's latest novel, A Promise Kept, is a moving story that goes beyond the typical romance story lines. Inspired by events in the author's own life, it is Hatcher's most emotional—and thought-provoking—book yet. [4 stars] I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Robin Lee Hatcher in her new book, “A Promise Kept” published by Thomas Nelson brings us into the lives of Allison Kavanagh and Emma Carter. From the Back Cover: God was going to save her marriage, Allison was sure of it. What had become of His promise? Tony Kavanagh had been Allison’s dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials. The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she’d misunderstood. Now, living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself. As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma’s life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord? Drawing from her own heart-wrenching story of redemption, A Promise Kept is Robin Lee Hatcher’s emotionally charged thanksgiving to a God who answers prayers—in His own time and His own ways. There comes a point, I think, in everyone’s lives where what we believe God has said He would do and the actual events do not seem to agree. When this occurs it can be devastating, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I think God allows this to happen to see if we will then draw closer to Him or draw away from Him in our pain. All of this happens within the pages of “A Promise Kept”. Ms. Hatcher has reached into her own life story and given us an emotionally charged drama that shows this test of faith. I believe she has done a remarkable job of showing the intensity of feeling each character goes through especially Allison and Emma. Ms. Hatcher has given us characters that are marvelous, meticulously crafted, and each one literally breathes on the pages. Robin Lee Hatcher has written a well done novel that I liked a lot. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
A Promise Kept is a beautifully written and inspirational story of faith, love,forgiveness, redemption, and second chances. After dealing with unexpected trials and tribulations in their marriage, Allison Kavanagh gives her husband Tony an ultimatum: choose what's more important, alcohol or their family. She never expected Tony's choice to walk away from their family. While recovering from the divorce, Allison restarts her life by staying at a beautiful Idaho mountain cabin left to her by her Great Aunt Emma. Allison's journey of self-discovery will lead her to discover Emma's collection of journals in the attic. Emma's journals parallel a common struggle that both she and Allison have endured, a struggle between life's expectations and God's promise, will, and timing. As Allison reads the journals, the grace of God's promise comes shining through and renews her life with hope and faith. This wonderful story is told in the alternating first person narratives of Allison and Emma, it is an intriguing intertwining of the historical past and the present that easily draws the reader into Allison and Emma's stories. The story flows seamlessly between the two storylines, you can't help but become emotionally attached to the characters. I loved the story's message and lesson that Allison learned during her journey: God's timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. But He always keeps His promises, sometimes in surprising and even painful ways. Allison learns to love as God wants her to love, and she learns the redemptive grace of forgiveness. If you are experiencing a variety of struggles in your life, this inspirational story is a thoughtful guide that could change your outlook and provide an understanding of how God's grace is working in your life, even if it is not as you would have expected. A Promise Kept is based on the personal experiences of the author, it is an emotional and touching story of redemption that will pull at the heartstrings.
Secrets Unfold Recently divorced, Allison Kavanagh moves to the mountains of Idaho into the log home left to her by her great aunt Emma. The dissolution of her marriage weighed heavily on her heart, her conscience still pricked by the knowledge that God hates divorce. Her alcoholic ex-husband had wreaked havoc in their relationship. Her only daughter lives in Texas. Alone, she seeks resolution in her life, her faith having been destroyed along with her marriage. Through the discovery of her aunt's journals penned throughout the majority of her life, Allison begins a journey through her aunt's life that reveals secrets that lurked in her family's past. The spiritual journey that Allison exemplifies is quite familiar, as she struggles with questions regarding whether she imagined or truly heard God's commands, and guilt regarding her failed marriage. As voiced in the book, while God hates divorce, He doesn't hate the divorced. Allison's story is told alongside Emma's life story, alternating between the two time periods, occasionally reverting to Allison's early years with her former husband. At times I found this a bit confusing to follow, but as my reading continued their stories blended well. The author has created a very touching life history and spiritual journey through the pages of A Promise Kept. Very detailed and emotional, the story of how Allison began to rediscover her faith is heartwarming and an example for others who have faced divorce, and have lived with an alcoholic. The rediscovery of faith is a very strong point in this story of new beginnings and past heartache that have been blended into a poignant story of two very special women. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
"In the two weeks since moving into the log house, Allison and Gizmo had explored several paths on their daily walks. Allison's favorite was the one that followed the river. And today, with wildflowers blooming everywhere - an abundance of pinks and blues, yellows and oranges - she felt a lifting of her spirit. It was so pretty. God's handprints were everywhere. Thank You. Thank You that I had this place to come to. Thank You that I wasn't completely ruined in the divorce. I might've been. Other women have been. But I'm okay. After Tony's first stint in rehab, Allison went on loving him, even when others though her crazy to put up with him. Even when he lost another job and then another and another. Even when he landed in the hospital. Again and again. Even when he broke her heart and disappointed her and abandoned her emotionally. With his every new attempt at recovery, she took hold of hope and expected to see him overcome the desire to drink. She believed again and again that he would get sober and stay sober. Only to see him fail. Again. One good thing came out of her troubled marriage: Allison had been driven to the foot of the cross. Her faith in Christ has been born and then challenged and deepened. A Bible study leader once said to her,"A faith that can't be tested can't be trusted." Well, Allison's faith had been thoroughly tested. She'd gone through the refiner's fire more than once. And then, at long, last, had come God's promise to save her marriage. Or at least she'd believed it was His voice. His promise at the time. Tears sprang to her eyes at the memory. Disillusionment pierced her heart like the sting of a scorpion. She'd been so certain God would heal her marriage, but it was clear that she'd misunderstood. For Allison's marriage was over and God did not lie. She turned away from the bridal gown and the memories it had stirred to life and left the attic." (pg 42-43). In the latest novel from Robin Lee Hatcher, A Promise Kept takes the reader into two very different time periods as Allison Kavanaugh moves into her great aunt Emma's home she inherited, she discovers a collection of journals that describe a very different Emma that no one had ever known. As Allison begins to heal from the promise she felt that God had given her and come to terms of acceptance in His will for her life, she finds Emma Carter was a very different woman growing up in the early 1900's and the love she had showcased how much God can work in someone's life when they are willing to commit to His plans 100%. I received A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. This is a story of how can can redeem not only anything but also anyone when we least expect it. I was surprised by the path Robin took her characters in and found myself wishing some things would have gone different ways. At the conclusion of this novel, Robin takes you behind the scenes for the real-life details of the inspiration for this story. One that shows that even though our time table for things we believe God wants in our lives, is a very different one than God has in place at times. In the end, however, ALL things work together for the good of those that love the Lord. I easily give this one a 4 out of 5 stars.
As a child of an alcoholic, I felt an immediate connection to Allison, who is recovering from her divorce from Tony, an alcoholic. I understand how a person can love an alcoholic but hate alcoholism. One of the lovely statements in the novel came from Allison's mother who said, "God hates divorce. He doesn't hate the divorced" (171). Robin Lee Hatcher did not delve into the ugliness of the situation, but elevated the story into one of hope and promise. Anyone who has dealt with problems of addiction or divorce would benefit by reading this novel. Short chapters told in first person alternate between the stories of Allison and Emma, Allison's great aunt. Emma's log cabin is left to Allison. When Allison discovers Emma's journals, she also discovers how many things they have in common. The question of why God would not keep His word is thoroughly answered in a most satisfying way. I definitely recommend this wonderful novel! Thank you to BookSneeze® Thomas Nelson for my copy.
A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christian fiction book definitely worth your time to read. It's a wonderful story of life, disappointment, forgiveness, and hope. It's not a romance, but just a story that seems taken from real life. Allison, the main character, is a newly-divorced empty-nester type woman. She has come to a place at which she never could have envisioned herself and is building a new life in her new normal. Her only daughter is grown and has moved far away and she has moved up to a new small town, to a house left her by her great-aunt. The book alternates between Allison's story and that of her great Aunt Emma, whose lives seem to have some similarities and many surprises. Allison finds Emma's journals and reads them, learning things about her that she could never have guessed, and observing (through the journals) her aunt's healing and growth throughout her years. Allison's new life develops and she grows in many ways, as God works in and through her. As with most of my reviews, I do not want to give away any more information about the story line, because I want you to read it! :) It is a very interesting book, a great read, and one which feels kind of "real" and "deep" but not bogged down. It's a story of surprises and, as I said earlier, hope and forgiveness. I definitely enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it. It's a good read, but more than that. This is one of those books I'll probably keep and re-read a time or two. Nicely written, enjoyably read. A real-life picture of God working in a normal life. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.
A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher Divorce, alcoholism and domestic violence are presented in Robin Lee Hatcher’s Christian novel, A Promise Kept. Heroine Allison Kavanagh, 45 years old, begins new life after her husband walks out of their marriage. Allison struggles to maintain her Christian faith amid feelings that God has let her down. She moves into her great aunt’s country cottage in the Idaho mountains and proceeds to discover the previously-unknown life of Aunt Emma. In her new community, Allison must also negotiate an attraction to a handsome fellow church member along with the feelings she still has for her former husband. Through this novel, Hatcher explains the conflicts and emotions experienced by the newly-divorced. We sympathize with Allison as she seeks spiritual guidance and finds it in an unexpected place, Aunt Emma’s journals that were hidden in the attic. This is overall a pleasant read; however, the story drifts at times; for instance, the purpose of a camping trip episode with ex-husband and daughter is not clear. Also, Allison’s decision in the conclusion seems to come too quickly with little explanation or development. A Promise Kept remains a Christian novel that explores contemporary themes. The Book Club guide should provoke interesting conversations. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the words expressed here are my own.
"This wasn't the life Allison Kavanagh had imagined for herself, but it was what her life had become. Like it or not, she had to get on with it." With these beginning words, Robin pens a deeply personal and moving story of marriage, divorce, heartbreak, and restoration. The descriptions of the mountain cabin and community of Kings Meadow just north of Boise, Idaho create a great sense of place. And while I'm not a dog person, I fell in love with Gizmo. Allison had "read somewhere that owning a Papillon meant never going to the bathroom alone, and it was true. . . . She loved him for making her feel less alone." The contemporary narrative seamlessly flashes back to the 1920s and 30s through the journals of Allison's Great Aunt Emma, a character I was immediately drawn to - financially independent as a nature photographer and considered to be the "rebel" of the family. But a different Emma emerges through the pages of her journal, and her words that impacted Allison will speak to readers also. Allison, a woman of deep faith who had tried so hard to save her marriage, is heartbroken when her obedience results in Troy walking away. "She'd been so certain God would heal her marriage, but it was clear that she'd misunderstood. For Allison's marriage was over and God did not lie." Relevant, compelling, emotional, honest, Spirit filled, real . . . A Promise Kept is Christian fiction at its best, a well-written story that entertains, yet challenges and convicts at the same time. For while this story focuses on a marriage torn apart by alcohol addiction, it also reminds us of spiritual truths that we know, but often tend to forget in the heat of the moment. It's piercing message is for all Christians as Allison asks herself, "Am I thankful for the hard things and disappointments that have happened in my life? Have I let Him be Lord over every area of my life?" A Promise Kept is a great example of how God can use Christian fiction to change lives. I am thankful Robin and her husband, Jerry, were willing to share their story and pray that many readers will pick up this book and be touched by its message. I highly recommend this story to all readers. Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.