- Mass Market Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: Signet Book (Sep 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451204492
- ISBN-13: 978-0451204493
- Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.6 x 3.2 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,370,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rebecca Neville was forced to flee London in 1760 for fear that she had accidentally killed her lecherous employer, Sir Charles Hartington. Fortuitously, she is almost run down by a passing carriage whose lone occupant decides to help her. Elizabeth Wakefield needs a companion and asks Rebecca to aid her in her journey to the colonies with her newborn son, James. Weak from childbirth, Elizabeth does not survive the voyage, and Rebecca is forced to raise James on her own.
Employing the skills she obtained at Mrs. Stockdale's Academy for Girls, Rebecca is able to make ends meet for herself and Jamey. She also skillfully fends off any amorous advances by inventing a fictitious Mr. Ford, her now deceased husband. Though Rebecca is a woman to be greatly admired for her ingenuity and fortitude, she is at times a little too sweet, with no apparent faults.
Nevertheless, Rebecca does well for herself and Jamey until ten years later when an agent of his father's tracks her to Philadelphia and asks that the boy return to England to live with his father, Samuel Wakefield, Earl of Stanmore. Rebecca travels to England to make sure that James is well settled and meets the coolly aloof Stanmore.
The development of the relationship between Rebecca and Stanmore makes this novel a step above many historicals. While Rebecca doesn't initially agree with the manner in which Stanmore relates to his son, she can't help being attracted to him. And while he is at first attracted to her beauty, he slowly begins to see beneath the surface and wants her for more than her physical attractiveness alone.
Villainous characters such as Louisa Nisdale, the jealous former lover, and Squire Wentworth, Stanmore's evil neighbor who dabbled in the slave trade, add a sinister element capable of tearing the lovers apart. And the historical depiction of the slave trade provides a unique addition to this novel primarily because the subject is not usually addressed as an eighteenth century English problem.
For a sure winner with characters you won't want to leave behind, THE PROMISE can't be beat.
Ten years had past when the lawyer for the Earl of Stanmore showed up at Rebecca Ford's door. James was hard of hearing and had one misshapen hand, but the kind lawyer relayed that the earl was claiming James as his heir. Rebecca went with them to London to make sure James was happy before she left his life. The father, Lord Stanmore, was a handsome, but cold hearted man who cared nothing for his new found son. Slowly, the earl saw what true love really was as he watched Rebecca and James. Passion ignited between Rebecca and the Earl. All might have been well, however, outside forces were at work.
Lady Louisa Nisdale had been the Earl's mistress for quite a while and refused to acknowledge the fact that their affair was over. In addition, the Earl had been fighting in Parliament to end slavery in England. The Earl's neighbor, who owned and abused slaves, was none too happy about that either.
***** A definite winner! The author is a husband and wife team who seem to have their pulse on what readers want to read! Excellent plot and interesting sub-plots that will capture the attention of its audience and hold onto them like cement glue! Highly recommended! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch
Regardless of the historical lessons, May McGoldrick has created memorable, remarkable characters. As the mother of a 9 year old son myself, I felt a particular kinship to Rebecca and was cheering along with her when her dreams came true.
This is a page turner of a novel, a beautiful love story and a mystery all rolled into one. It's a book not to be missed !
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