Gold Star Award Winner!
1989 was not a good year for Beth Cardall. The novel starts out in the present day when Beth gazes at two necklaces she received way back when, but has never worn.
She always thought she had the good life. Though her husband traveled often for work, she thought he was loving and faithful. But when she was cleaning out his clothing pockets for a trip to the dry-cleaners (where she works), she found a note that hints that he has secrets. When she accuses Marc of infidelity, she's shocked to find out that it's true.
She kicks Marc out and then has to face an unexplained illness with her daughter. Young Charlotte is getting thinner and thinner and can hardly keep food down. Through countless doctor and hospital trips, she is still undiagnosed.
Marc returns to the picture, but this time terminally ill. He is diagnosed with cancer, and Beth is determined to make his final days comfortable. Soon, she's newly widowed, dealing with the mystery illness of Charlotte, and the looming possibility of losing her job and thus her house. It's on Christmas at the end of the year that she meets the mysterious Matthew.
The story moves forward from meeting Matthew and how he slowly works his way into her and Charlotte's lives. Matthew seems to come from somewhere else. He miraculously diagnoses Charlotte's illness. He slowly builds up Beth's trust in people again, and in the end, he reveals his true identity, much to Beth's total shock and disbelief. It's at this point that I went "WOW" and didn't see it coming.
It's not the holiday season without a Christmas story from Mr. Evans. I don't know how he does it, but each book I swear is better than the last. And this one really surprised me. I've never read one of his books where I didn't anticipate how it was going to end. But this one kept me guessing up until the final chapters. I loved it! It may have been a sad ending (in a way), but it was the right ending, and brought the story full circle, like it should.
Whether PROMISE ME is your first foray into Mr. Evans' work, or a continued tradition, it will leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling like his works always do.
Reviewed by: Jaglvr