Promise Me, by Christmas mega-author, Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box, The Christmas List) is one of those sentimental stories that a reader either devours or detests. It is touching, yet schmaltzy; miraculous, yet impossible; feel-good, yet cliche-ridden.
The plot revolves around Beth Cardall, who is faced with an array of truly overwhelming problems. Infidelity. Unemployment. Foreclosure. Cancer. Who comes to save the day? A mysterious man, of course. For believers of love having the power to solve all of life’s difficulties, this book is a validation. For skeptics who would roll their eyes at such a premise, this is not a work to venture into. Promise Me does not apologize for being a complete escape from reality because that’s what it’s meant to accomplish.
For those who love to curl up on a snow-filled Saturday and get lost in a Lifetime television movie, this is the book for you. It is melodramatic, full of impossible twists and turns that culminate in a saccharine-sweet, happy ending. A jaw-droppingly handsome man saves a helpless woman from all of her problems - financial, medical, etc. He saves the day leaving her breathless with gratitude and contentment. Without his aid, she would have succumbed to disastrous, life-altering consequences. But he is the one to take charge of the situation—leaving her completely and irrevocably in love with him.
The true gem of the book is the unsung support team of Beth’s female friends. They are constantly babysitting her daughter, covering her shifts at work or bringing over homemade casseroles for her oven. They are the ones in the trenches with her helping her battle through the problems that life keeps throwing at her door. While not as glamorous or romantic as being championed by a beyond-perfect suitor—the power of women helping women is undoubtedly the true source of strength for many who find themselves in tough situations without a man by their side.
Overall, if you crave holiday fluff: indulge.