The Promise Box by Tricia Goyer
Publishing Date: May, 21st 2013
Visit the Author's website HERE
Every year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive “resident” status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Check it out on Kindle for $7.99 today! (4/18/14)
In The Promise Box, the second book of best-selling author Tricia Goyer’s Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, Lydia Wyse, a book editor from Seattle who grew up Amish, returns to the small community of West Kootenai to give comfort to her father after her mother’s death. She is drawn back to the familiar Amish ways after finding her mother’s most precious possession, a Promise Box of prayers and scripture. What her publisher sees, though, is an opportunity for a sensational “tell-all” book about the Amish.
Lydia soon finds herself falling in love with Amish bachelor Gideon Hooley. She wants nothing more than to forget her past and look forward to a future as an Amish bride. But will the pain of her childhood---and her potential betrayal of her community---keep her from committing her whole heart?
Typically Christian Romance (C.Rom) novels follow the same story arcs: meet, attraction, resistance, a big event tears them apart, and then a happy ending. Goyer took an approach that felt more like: down, up, up, up, way down, way up, way down, way up, end! Whew! A true roller coaster! I appreciated the attempt to be different and break the mold. And Goyer is a master. She has over 35 books published, over 500 articles published in various magazines and blogs, and has won numerous awards. That sort of cred is something I can trust. She also loves the Amish, so I feel comfortable knowing she has done her research on the topic and I don't have to second guess the validity of it all.
I loved Lydia more than I loved Gideon. His character felt too emotional for me. I think it was the way that he was refusing to trust Lydia and her decisions when he really had no basis not too. Personally, I don't think he would be someone that I would be attracted to in real life. I know that won't affect the decisions of all readers, but it was a big factor for me, obviously. But I could appreciate that Goyer made his character have enough dimensions for me to consider him a real life person. Also: his parents. Boo! I didn't like them at all, and don't really want to say why for sake of giving anything away. Again, even though I disliked them, I could still appreciate the fact that Goyer was trying break the mold of everything and everyone ending 'happy-go-lucky'.
For both characters, though, I really enjoyed their spiritual journeys. Lydia's really spoke to me. She walked away from her faith and family, but was wooed back to it through the beauty of God (no, not a spoiler, it's in the summary!). However, once she comes back to her faith, there are still several points which cause her to wonder and question. I would have loved to see even more of that. Again, it was a sign to me of Goyer breaking the typical C.Rom mold: when a character becomes a Christian or comes back to God, their faith is super strong and it all works out.
I enjoyed how what I thought was going to be the climax, wasn't. There was still much more to the journey! But what I didn't like: the actual ending. After a beautiful novel of what felt like Goyer continually fighting to break a lot of C. Rom stereotypes, the ending was too cliche. Too perfect. Too fairy tale. I was bummed out by it and ended up skimming a lot of it actually.
Still, it wasn't completely cliche! It was well written and had great spiritual aspects. Perhaps it is still the genre, perhaps it is just me, but whereas "The Promise Box" was a good, adorable read, I just don't find it memorable. It is book two in a seven part series (Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors). Book three, titled the Kissing Bridge, was just released and I am still trying to get my hands on it. It is a series that I will always pick up if I come across, but probably not purchase.
I am rating it with 3.5 stars and recommend it for: fans of Goyer, fans of Amish romance, fans of Christian romance.
Check out Tricia Goyer's Memory Jar craft ideas. I'm inspired to start one of my own! Do you have anything like a memory jar or promise box??