Promise me This by Cathy Gohlke

Synopsis: Michael Dunnagan was never supposed to sail on the “Titanic,” nor would he have survived if not for the courage of Owen Allen. Determined to carry out his promise to care for Owen’s relatives in America and his younger sister, Annie, in England, Michael works hard to strengthen the family’s New Jersey garden and landscaping business.Annie Allen doesn’t care what Michael promised Owen. She only knows that her brother is gone–like their mother and father–and the grief is enough to swallow her whole. As Annie struggles to navigate life without Owen, Michael reaches out to her through letters. In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when Owen did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected. Just as Michael saves enough money to bring Annie to America, WWI erupts in Europe. When Annie’s letters mysteriously stop, Michael risks everything to fulfill his promise–and find the woman he’s grown to love–before she’s lost forever.

Review: I had never had the opportunity to read a book about the Titanic before. However, it is a subject that fascinates me and I enjoy every documentaries that allows me to learn more about it. So when I found out about this novel, I was immediately intrigued. It did not take longer to me to start it.

Michael is a young boy who is trying to escape his past, but it is actually quite difficult. One day, however, he manages to embark on the Titanic when crossing between Ireland and England. But once there, it is difficult for him to know what he wants to do with his life and that until he met Owen. This is a man full of kindness and tenderness. He dreams of one thing, to help others and do everything possible for everyone. So when he discovers Michael shivering with cold in a garden he built, he immediately decides to help him to find a shelter and a purpose to his life. Yet he himself has a lot of trouble but he is trying to help as much as he can. Michael likes Owen more than anyone else, but he can not accept to see him go and leave him in London when he goes to America. He therefore secretly embarks on the Titanic and travels with his friend to a better life. They do however promise to do everything for Annie, the younger sister of Owen, to release her from the hands of her terrible aunt and pay for her trip so she could join them. But the arrival of the war complicate their designs.

I enjoyed the story, it is very touching to see the relationship between Annie and Michael. They have a sensitivity and sadness that resonates and breaks our heart. I must say that they had a very difficult life filled with obstacles of all kinds and we’re still impressed by the persons they manage to become in spite of that. I looked forward to the meeting between Annie and our hero but it is still more complicated. They’re bounded together by their love for Owen, but they realize that it is not the only thing and there is so much more.

It is true that this book was nice but I had a problem, however, that bothered me a little in my reading. Religion does not really bother me when it has an important place in relation to the story, but I think the allusions are too present here actually. Everything is related to it eventually and after a while it becomes heavy. It’s a shame because I would have enjoyed it even more without all that.

It is still a nice discovery, the time spent on the Titanic is actually quite short but it was interesting to discover what happened later, something I had not yet had the opportunity to read.


8 thoughts on “Promise me This by Cathy Gohlke

  1. That’s a common problem with religious fiction, Dehlia! All these mentions of God make it a bit repetitive, but then again it’s no different from reading a fantasy book where gods mentioned all the time 🙂 It’s just we know Christianity way better, and it becomes annoying. However I’m glad you liked this book. I really love the colours of this cover.

  2. Hm… I think I’m with you and the religious aspect in this way would put me off. I could really see it being a distraction for the story. Too bad it wasn’t better woven in so it didn’t stand out too much. Still, enjoyed your review! I haven’t read too much on the titanic either.

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