It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the first day of the blog tour and sharing my review of The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear – available for kindle and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US. Having met AnneMarie several times now, I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for such a long time – while historical fiction isn’t always my preferred choice of reading, the sheer volume of five star reviews for her books and the enthusiasm of her readers made me want to give her writing a try. And I’m very glad I did…
Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs. However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe.
Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists. Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?
While I’ll admit that the comparisons with Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin on this book’s Amazon page rather passed me by – I’ve mentioned that historical fiction isn’t a usual choice for me – I can certainly recognise when I’m in the presence of a writer at the top of her form and capable of some of the very best story-telling. I raced through this book, real life disappeared, and I was absorbed in the world the author created and the lives of its characters. It really is a cracking read – full of strong characters, well-rounded and beautifully drawn, detailed portrayals of people who became totally real to me as the story unfolded. And it’s quite a story – filled with tension, full of twists and turns that had me gripped as I read it in a single sitting.
The romantic side of the story is just beautifully handled – believable, heartfelt and touching. I really took the two main characters to my heart, as life threw everything at them, testing their love and deep reserves of courage and bravery. The book’s villain was particularly strongly drawn, the sense of threat and danger well developed and sustained. But there are strong characters everywhere in this story – the supporting cast, whether heroes or villains, individually detailed and fully rounded. The more stark and raw elements of the story are so well done – at war, at the mine, and in the domestic setting – and memorably described. And the overall historical setting was just right for me – brought to life, plainly well-researched, a feel of authenticity, and a strong sense of both time and place.
Apologies for a shorter review than usual – life intervened a little – but I really don’t think I need to say much more. And I really wouldn’t be telling you that much more about the story – this is one to discover for yourself, to read and enjoy, and you can certainly expect to be as impressed with the author’s writing as I was. I really enjoyed it.
About the author
Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.