50 in 2012: Book Thirty Nine

Promise Me ThisPromise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An evil oppressive Aunt, the tragic demise of the Titanic, World War I…and a harrowing love story.

Annie Allen is determined to escape the oppressive confines set forth by her vile Aunt Eleanor. Fearing no other option, Owen Allen courageously decides to pursue a better life in America, promising to send for his sister Annie as soon as he manages the funds to do so. Shortly before he is to set sail, he runs into a peculiar young man who is clearly homeless and in need of assistance. He takes this young man under his wing. Owen had no idea that doing so would forever change his life’s path. Michael Dunnagan admires his new mentor, longing for the familial bond he sees between Owen and his sister.

The day Owen is to begin his journey to America finally arrives and Annie sneaks out of school to bid her brother farewell and watch the magical Titanic set out to sea. Aboard the Titanic, Michael and Owen admire the beauty and opulence of the ship. Their bond strengthens as they discuss the gardening business they are to attend upon their arrival. Owen keeps meticulous notes in his journal while teaching Michael all he knows. A curious bump in the night begins a nightmare that will leave one young man heroically dead and the other plagued with survivor’s guilt for the rest of his life. Haunted by Owen’s last words, Michael devotes the remainder of his days to bringing Annie over to America and fulfilling a promise that means everything to him.

Michael follows the path set forth by Owen and works to bring Annie over. Meanwhile, Annie is living a troubled, difficult life in England. Her Aunt Eleanor striving to make each day more miserable than the last. Just as Michael believes all is ready to send for Annie, Eleanor and World War I promise to overthrow his best laid plans…

Annie Allen is a truly courageous, tenacious heroine. Her story spans heartache and tragedy not often known to one person. Surviving lifetimes of misfortune and loss, she never gives up. An undying tale of love and good conquering evil.

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