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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Promise to Keep by Elaine Robinson

A Promise to Keep by Elaine Robinson
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (208 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Aloe

Thirty-six-year-old Maggie answers a newspaper advertisement for a wife and mother for two children. At last she will have a home, a husband, and children to care for. Instead, her home is a covered wagon because her new husband is relocating his family from El Paso, Texas to the Arizona Territory where he hopes to claim land for homesteading. Half way there Maggie finds herself in the New Mexico desert with a missing husband, an empty water barrel, and two resentful step-children. She prays for help and Charlie Yates limps, on foot, into her campsite. Maggie and Charlie strike a bargain. Maggie will share her wagon and supplies and Charlie will lead them out of the desert and help search for her husband (who left to find water). The bargain binds them closer to each other than their marriage vows which they believe are A Promise to Keep.

She was a mail order bride, but she never expected to be abandoned in the middle of the desert with her two step-children and a wagon…

This story is set in the 1800’s when immigration to a new land (the west) was done by wagon train. It was a hard unforgiving land, maps weren’t always accurate, there were Indians and outlaws, and you had just as good a chance at dying as you did at living and reaching your destination.

Ms. Robinson portrays her main female character as a woman determined to do the right thing for her stepchildren and her new husband. She willing goes on this forbidding journey planning to make a new home in Arizona. She wasn't planning on her husband going out to find water and never returning.

The hero is a man who has been wronged. He was jailed for a crime he had not committed. He’s a convict trying to clear his name. And he’s injured and needs help.

The author does a great job of showing the family conflict between the step-mother and the children she’s caring for. The oldest is a boy who refuses to believe his father isn’t coming back and he despises doing what his stepmother tells him to do. I’m a stepmother myself and the author eloquently expresses the difficulty of knowing what tone of voice and which words to use with a hurting child.

As they travel together towards their different goals, Maggie and Charlie start to realize they’re attracted to each other. But there are so many things separating them…

The plot is authentic, the characters are believable, and the challenges they face were common in that time period. Why not get yourself a copy of this book and see how and if the two star-crossed lovers finally solve their problems?