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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Promise Me This

"That's all there is to it," she said as if she'd heard his thoughts.  "Each morning, when we wake - if we wake - we pick up whatever it is we've been given to carry for that day, with the sweet Lord Jesus in the yoke beside us to tote the load.  Each night we lay it down, giving it into God's hands.  If it's still there in the morning, we pick it up and begin again.  If the burden is gone or if there is something different, we know where to start."  (Maggie Allen in Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke.

I almost passed up the opportunity to review this book thinking, "I'm just not that interested in another story about the Titanic or WWI."  However, Promise Me This is NOT just another story.  I read a lot of books in a number of different genres, so I'm always looking for a fiction writer to knock my socks off with a great story.  Ms Gohlke has done an excellent job of leaving me spell bound and wanting to read more of her books!

 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.

Cathy is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award and was listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008. 
    Cathy’s writing has also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul, in My Turn to Care--Affirmations for Caregivers of Aging Parents, in newspapers, magazines, and in plays and monologues produced on local stages.  Her story, Meet Me at the Holly Tree, was awarded an honorable mention in the Genre Short Story category of the Writer’s Digest 2000 Writing Competition.
    She and her husband, Dan, live in Elkton, MD where they raised their two now grown children, Elisabeth and Daniel.  In 2010 the Gohlkes welcomed a new son, Tim Gardiner, when Elisabeth and Tim married.  Cathy is active in her community and the church she loves, Elkton United Methodist.  You can read more about Cathy by visiting her website

"At the end of a very long month Maggie found her knees and vowed, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.'  She sat back on her heels and whispered, 'What is next Lord?  Show me your path and give me the strength, the grace to walk in it.  But do not leave me Lord.  Stay close, for I must lean hard.'"  (Maggie Allen in Promise Me This)

My pastor is always encouraging us to look at all of life (even the things you watch and read) through a gospel lens - look for pictures of the gospel, the good news.  You won't have to look very hard to see a clear picture of the gospel in Promise Me This through the characters of Owen, who is a type of Christ and Michael, who personifies all "who have fallen short of the glory of God" and need a Savior.  I'm not sure I have ever read a work of fiction so clear on gospel truths as this one!

The story is beautifully written and flows with the grace it captures through its characters.  I couldn't turn the pages of the last fourth of the book fast enough.  I'm so relieved I didn't pass this one up!  Thank you Ms Gohlke for writing a stirring novel with such a crystal clear picture of the gospel.  I'm thankful that many, who may have never been to church or picked up a Bible, who might read your book will be drawn to our wonderful Savior.  I'll be looking for more from you!

You can read the first chapter by going HERE.

Thank you Tyndale House Publishers for providing a copy of Promise Me This for the purpose of review.

You can order the book from Tyndale by going HERE.

Or you can order from by going HERE

Blessings and Happy Reading,


Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for your wonderful review! You truly captured and understood the story, and I'm so thankful. I, too, am praying that readers will be drawn closer to the Lord through this book. Those of us who know Him well are eager to share that wonder and great joy with everyone. I know you understand that, too! God bless and keep you, and continue to make you a blessing to all you encounter.