More Than a Promise
By Ruth Logan Herne
Franciscan Media, 2016
Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance
"My Three Sons"... Naughty sons, at that!... meets "Sarah, Plain and Tall" in this delightful marriage of convenience story that shows how amazingly inconvenient love... and life... can be!
Widower Matt Wilmot is in trouble. His boys are causing chaos and wreaking havoc, his former mother-in-law is threatening to sue for custody, his father just had heart surgery and their family company is liable for a huge balloon payment on a loan his father took out to expand the business the previous year. But rain and illness took their toll, and Matt is having a rough time spinning multiple plates in the air.
But when he discovers Elle Drake next door, a woman with a wonderful hand at managing errant boys, cranky relatives, and frustrated men... Matt's world suddenly tips back into a more normal orbit. And when drastic measures are required, it's the girl next door who's there to save the day.
Elle Drake wanted nothing more than to create beautiful pottery and have a family, but when her millionaire husband publicly dumped the renowned artist for another woman, Elle moves back to Cedar Mills to start anew, the spinster artist with her big potting shed. But when her to-die-for good-looking neighbor thinks marriage is a good idea, Elle figures he's either crazy, desperate or right.
But a marriage of convenience can become its own conundrum, and when life takes sudden turns, can this marriage become all that they bargained for? And maybe more than a promise?
Ruth Logan Herne writes the kind of stories that I like to read – stories with a tender poignancy that will resonate with any reader. I’ve read two of her books this week, completely different on the surface, but with the same heartfelt emotion and rich, complex characterization. I’m not sure how to describe it, but there’s that special “something” that elevates Ruth’s writing in my opinion. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, instead of standing on the outside watching the action, Ruth draws you right into their lives.
More Than a Promise is a heartwarming love story with great chemistry and conflicting emotions between Matt and Elle, but it’s so much more. One of my reviewer friends, Kav, described it as “rollicking fun, achingly sweet and peppered with large doses of love and laughter” … and I’d have to agree. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, coupled with themes of forgiveness, overcoming the grip of fear caused by past events, and acceptance.
If the Wilmots were a hashtag,
they’d rock the “trending now” list daily.
Matt and Elle are sympathetic, appealing characters. Matt works too hard and long, carries the burden of financial responsibilities in the family business, is often clueless as a dad, but loves his boys with all that’s in him. Elle is the no nonsense type, willing to meet things head on, felt that she’d been “born the ugly duckling in a family of swans,” and brought laughter back into the lives of Matt and his boys. Elle is a most memorable character. I loved her wisdom, courage to confront, and her giving heart.
And then there’s Matt’s boys. Todd, Randy and Amos just leap off the printed page and straight into your heart, making me want to wrap my arms around each of them. Todd, the oldest, is a lost soul and in need of a friend. Little Amos is gentle, kind and giving. But Randy “carried his anger like a coat of armor, still and unyielding” – and the way he defended a classmate was amazing. All three boys are heart stealers, and Elle’s gift for connecting with them is precious.
I particularly loved how a good bit of this story takes place after Matt and Elle marry, for I enjoy going beyond the “I do” and seeing couples grow closer as they deal with conflict and draw nearer to God at the same time. The Catholic faith of this family is a very real and natural part of this story.
More Than a Promise is an uplifting, true-to-life story that pulls at the heartstrings – an exquisite read. 5+ stars, best of the best. Highly recommended.
Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate and coffee! A country gal with a heart for the big city, Ruthy likes nothing more than to write the kind of books she loves to read, and she's even more happy that now she gets paid to do it! She's been married for a Very Long Time and she and her husband Dave live on a small farm in upstate New York where lake effect snow buries them on a regular basis in winter. But that's all right... it gives her more time to write!
Thank you to Singing Librarian Tours for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.