The Last Promise

The Last Promise

by Richard Evans

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Noel Street comes a rich and all-too-human novel about the tragedy and triumph of love...

Years ago, a sweet girl from Utah was swept off her feet by a handsome Italian. Today, the sweet girl from Utah is a wife and mother living in Italy. And she's about to be swept off her feet all over again...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451211019
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/2003
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 317,085
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Richard Evans is the Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His books include Death in Hamburg (winner of the Wolfson Literary Award for History), In Hitler's ShadowRituals of Retribution (winner of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History), In Defense of HistoryLying About Hitler, and The Coming of the Third Reich.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A lush world full of Italian history and mythology....Evans achieves romance without overcooking it." (

Reading Group Guide

When Eliana, still called Ellen by her close friends back in America, moved to Italy the future was bright with promise. Tuscany held magic in its sprawling vineyards, great food, and centuries of art. It was a life of the senses, perfect for a blossoming, talented young artist such as Eliana. Her family and friends back home all thought she had made the right choice in following her heart, and the man she fell in love with and married, back to his native country. In America, Eliana's story was that of a fairy tale.

But in Italy, in the small, rustic village nestled in the Chianti countryside, Eliana found her husband to be a very different man. Over time he distances himself from her, leaving Eliana to care for their young son, struggling with the asthma that threatens to take his life.

Although she longs for the romance she'd known in America, Eliana is happy as a mother and with the time she spends with her child; yet when fellow American, Ross Story, a deeply thoughtful man with a mysterious passion for art, arrives at the same villa, a chance encounter causes Eliana and Ross to look at their lives anew. And with their discovery that individuals may change and grow, they can never forget that the bonds of family last forever.

In The Last Promise Richard Paul Evans spins a passionate, bittersweet tale about the fantastic joy and great sorrow life can throw our way. Rich and complex as a vintage Chianti wine, The Last Promise is in the end an uplifting, all-too-human tale about the magnificent power of true love.



Richard Paul Evans is the author of seven bestselling books. His first novel, The Christmas Box was a publishing phenomenon simultaneously reaching the number one position on both the hardcover and paperback New York Timesbestseller lists—an industry first.

He has created charities that deal with issues close to his heart. Reports that grieving parents were looking for a place to mourn lost children drove Evans to commission the creation of an angel monument where they could find solace. Now there are more than forty angel statues around the country with one hundred more in the works. Every year on December 6, thousands gather at the angel statues for ceremonies and remembrances.

Evans also created The Christmas Box House International, a charity which works in partnership with local communities to seek, develop and implement comprehensive services for children who have been neglected or abused. Over 3,000 children have been helped so far.

Although Evans and his family moved to Italy, they still call Utah home.


  • How important to the story is the setting of The Last Promise? Could the story have been set somewhere else, or do you feel the story is unique to its locale?
  • Discuss the role of art in the lives of Eliana, Maurizio, Anna, and Ross. What, if anything, does each give and derive from art in his or her life? How would each of these characters define the concept of beauty?
  • Do the Italian characters in The Last Promise treat the American characters differently than they do each other? Do you think this is true in life as well as literature? How do different cultures respond to visitors? Does your opinion change when the word "visitors" is replaced by the word "tourists"?
  • In addition to bonds of love, the bonds of family play a crucial role in The Last Promise. Compare and contrast the relationships of Anna and Maurizio and Ross and Stan.
  • The story of the Vestal Virgins recurs throughout The Last Promise. How reflective is that story of Eliana's life?
  • Richard Paul Evans uses Italian proverbs to limn the theme of each chapter. Were there any proverbs you identified strongly with? Any you disagreed with? Are there some that apply exclusively to Italian life, or are they universal?
  • The love of a mother for her child is one of the strongest forces in nature. Discuss the mother-child relationships inThe Last Promise. How is the relationship between Eliana and her son different from the relationship between Eliana and her mother? How about Maurizio's relationship with his mother?
  • Does what The Last Promise tells us of Maurizio's father explain Maurizio's attitude about his own son, Alessio?
  • How important are food and wine to The Last Promise and to your understanding of Italian life? Does it speak more to character or nationality that Ross is willing to cook and Maurizio is not? How about Eliana's occasional yearning for American foods? Do they reflect on greater desire?
  • Everyone at Rendola seems to like Eliana, but why does everyone (except Maurizio's own sister) side with Maurizio against Eliana when her relationship with Ross comes to light?
  • Ross tells Eliana that "love doesn't give second chances." Do you think this is true? How is this borne out, or not, in the story, in regard to Ross, Eliana, Anna, and Maurizio?

Customer Reviews

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The Last Promise 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
KarenBFL More than 1 year ago
I'am a fan of Richard Paul Evans, I have read everyone of his books. His mastery of story telling has never been better! Set in Italy, The Last Promise tells the story of Eliana, who is a wife and mother. She is so lonely, she ends up making a mistake. That then foreces her into making a horrible choice after falling in love with an American who moved in next door to her. In pure Richard's fashion, you become totally absorbed in the lives of these characters. No matter where you are when you begin this book, you heart and mind are thwarted into classic Italy, with images so vivid and rich you swear you were there. The Last Promise will soon become a prized volume amongst your collection! Richard Paul Evans is a master storyteller and this book will take your breath away!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading "A Perfect Day" by Richard Paul Evans, I was anxious to read The Last Promise. I must admit all the geographical explanations and such really made it harder for me to read. A very good story - one that I personally can relate to ... I may try to read it again in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Book_Worm_Mommy More than 1 year ago
Richard Paul Evans never disappoints! This is a great book for the lazy days of summer or just a "light" read any time of year. It's one of those books that you can just get lost in. Not a lot of twists and turns that get your heart racing, but definitely worth it. It leaves you with a good,cozy, happy feeling, like love could be just around the corner when you least expect it.
Sarah14 More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to people who crave a good love story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutley loved this book. I cannot wait to read another of Richard Paul Evans's books. I enjoyed this one because I could relate to Eliana quite a bit, and my name is Ellen too. It is always nice when I get to see my name someplace since it is uncommon. The characters are real, lovable, and take you on a roller coaster ride as their circumstances change and so do their emotions. The love between Ross and Eliana is remarkable, and I can only pray that I find love like that someday. That has been my goal since I could crawl. Don't worry, reader, you won't be disappointed, although it may feel like the end will once you are far enough into the book. And, trust me, it is a quick read, the kind you can't put down even for a second because you are so enthralled in the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
not a lot of stories come my way where i end up longing to read more about the characters after the book is done. i've laughed and i've cried and it felt like i've lived my life with these characters. it's such a sweet sweet story of hope and love. a definite read again and again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kept my interest from beginning to end. Great story line, beautifully written. I was actually sad when the story ended. Would definitely recommend, do recommend all the time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Paul Evans is my favorite author, and The Last Promise quickly became my favorite book. I couldn't put it down and at times that I had to I found myself missing it greatly. When I finished the book I immediately wanted to read it all over again. I felt as if I was a part of the book. I knew the characters, I felt their fear, love, joy and pain. This book gave me great hope, just as the main character 'Eliana' had hoped it would. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It will give you hope and joy!
bookscentlover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
ending was a little weak. too predictable.
Mzkitty570 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Can't remember too much about this book since I read it awhile ago, but I do love reading books from this author.
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extratime More than 1 year ago
fast read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great feel as though you are in Italy while reading it! Always enjoy books by this author.
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TammyK1 More than 1 year ago
So good...made me laugh and cry. The details are vivid and beautiful. Pure gold.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While reading this book I felt as if I was in Italy. The picturesque landscape that R.P.E. creates so dutifully is an example of his mastery of imagery. Combine that with his story-telling ability and you have this work of art that I know I will read many more times throughout my life.
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