Saturday, 4 August 2018

The Promise by Michelle Vernal

The Promise by Michelle Vernal
Self published on the 15th July 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon (ebook)

Add The Promise to your Goodreads

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark, happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock, asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry. 

Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight. 

In the 1940s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother, Ted, brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow, Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.  

When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?

The Promise is a heart warming story of a young woman, Isabel, finding herself after a broken heart, and an elderly woman, Constance, rediscovering her spark after thinking a care home was The End. Both are wonderfully created characters, quirky but always genuine, and I enjoyed spending time with them. The narrative takes in themes of self identity, friendship, adoption and family with the fascinating contrast of seeing these ideas explored from both youthful and aged perspectives. I especially loved Constance. She is witty and often sharp, but at the same time is great fun. The supporting cast are also all completely believable and their interactions add a real depth to the story.

I was disappointed that The Promise is let down by poor proofreading and research, incidences of which would suddenly snap me out of Vernal's carefully crafted atmosphere. For example, the Isle of Wight is almost always just referred to as Wight which jarred with me and, at one point, Isabel's father 'pressed a crisp hundred-pound note into her hand'. Where on earth did he manage to find that in Southampton? Edinburgh maybe! There's frequent use of Antipodean slang as well which, as most of the characters are supposed to be British, felt very strange and was often inadvertently humorous - words such as 'skivvy' have very different meanings! However, other than these minor distractions, The Promise is a wonderfully uplifting read.

Meet the author:

Michelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.

Author links: 
Website ~ FacebookTwitter ~ Goodreads

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Michelle Vernal / Women's fiction / Books from New Zealand


  1. That sounds like quite the story. Thanks for the great review.

  2. I really like the premise, but that research aspect is so important. It would distract me far too much, the incorrect word usage and such.

    1. I'd still recommend the story as it's a lovely tale

  3. Uh it's unfortunate when a author can get some really engaging parts rights and then flub equally important aspects of a book.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

    1. Yes, especially fairly easy to find information