Saturday, February 6, 2021

Promised by Leah Garriott

Promised by Leah Garriott

Oh, what a lovely cover. I can feel the dew and smell the morning air. Love it!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Margaret Brinton keeps her promises, and the one she is most determined to keep is the promise to protect her heart.

Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious matchmaking party intent on securing the perfect marital match: a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake Mr. Northam.

There’s only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won’t leave Margaret alone. Condescending and high-handed, Lord Williams lectures and insults her. When she refuses to give heed to his counsel, he single-handedly ruins Margaret’s chances for making a good match—to his cousin or anyone else. With no reason to remain at the party, Margaret returns home to discover her father has promised her hand in marriage—to Lord Williams.

Under no condition will Margaret consent to marrying such an odious man. Yet as Lord Williams inserts himself into her everyday life, interrupting her family games and following her on morning walks, winning the good opinion of her siblings and proving himself intelligent and even kind, Margaret is forced to realize that Lord Williams is exactly the type of man she’d hoped to marry before she’d learned how much love hurt. When paths diverge and her time with Lord Williams ends, Margaret is faced with her ultimate choice: keep the promises that protect her or break free of them for one more chance at love. Either way, she fears her heart will lose.

And now, my review:

I love the premise for this story: our heroine has made herself a promise. She will protect her heart in the future. She’s suffered a broken heart. So, Margaret will go into a relationship with her eyes wide open. And she’ll avoid love. She thinks. The Proper Romance novels are often so delicious. I hadn’t read this author before (later I learned this is her debut novel), but I knew with that cover, and since it was from that line, I had to give it a try. So glad I did. The story kept me hooked. Just when I thought the plot might wind down, it picked up momentum again and I was more delighted than before.

The author is adept at including symbolism, and I relished the hidden messages and dialogue subtext. Her descriptions immersed me in the setting and helped me experience the story with the characters. I loved the setting of the English countryside and the manors. Mentions of lakes and rivers and trees and gardens.

Our hero is a mystery. Since the story is solely first person from the heroine’s POV, and we never have the advantage of another’s point of view, we are left wondering what he’s thinking and what his motives are.

Once we understand what the hero is about, we love him. He’s determined and honorable and gentle. There were a few confusing moments because again, we’re only in her POV. And at times, though overall the romance threads were enjoyable, the heroine's internal monologue felt a little juvenile. The narrative was a bit redundant while the heroine ruminated. It’s believable that someone would deliberate over and over, but it isn’t always engaging. I read the ARC, and this element may have been worked out in the editing and rewriting stage. Still, I didn’t skim very often.

Overall, a very enjoyable debut by a promising author! I’ll watch for her next book.

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