Ingrid Larsen, a young Swedish immigrant, arrives in Michigan in 1871 to search for her brother who has disappeared into the woods to work the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, she encounters a newly-widowed farmer who struggles to raise five children alone.
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Set in Michigan in 1871, this is the story of Ingrid, an almost too good to be true Swedish woman who amazed me more and more as each chapter passed with how hard she could work, how powerfully she could love, how quickly she could forgive! Incredible!! She takes on recently widowed Joshua and his 5 grief-stricken children, his neglected home, and his ailing mother. She wins victories over grief, his ex - in-laws, the drought, and a wildfire, all by her strength of faith and her shear determination. The fire scenes are so well written, I couldn't stop reading. A lovely surprise awaits Ingrid towards the end. I wont spoil it for you - you'll enjoy finding out for yourself!
After enduring being mistreated by her employer, Swedish immigrant Ingrid Larsen leaves service, but with nowhere to go. When a kind widower loses his children to his in-laws, Ingrid speaks up with a proposal of marriage - she will get a home and family, and he will get to keep his children. Marriage solves their immediate problems, but it creates a whole host of new ones: what do you do with a spouse you don't love? How do you deal with a spouse who doesn't love you back? How do you build a loving home with a complete stranger?
Though she writes a well-rounded novel, with excellent character development, well-researched history, and a solid plot, Miller does not write about easy subjects. Marriage between strangers is not a light subject; it involves sacrifice by both parties to survive. Being unloved is heart-breaking, but being forced to marry while in love with someone else - even if that person is gone forever - is no easier.
I'm proud of Ingrid - she sticks with the marriage, even after being rejected by her husband; she could easily have walked out on him with an annulment, but she stays to give the children the mother they need. For all her hard work, she is not a doormat; she sets rules and expects them to be obeyed, especially by her husband. Even in the face of a loveless marriage, she showers love on the family anyway and perseveres. It is not easy, and she discovers that she has to do it to please God, since pleasing man is nearly impossible. She is a model of strength and self-sacrifice.
At first I was not sure if I was going to enjoy it as much as The Measure of Katie Calloway, but because Miller did not mince on the difficulties of their marriage, but rather focused on how much went into making it work, I ended up really enjoying it. Really, what man who is in love with his dead wife will be attracted to another woman so soon after her death, especially when she has nothing in common with the deceased? That alone sets this book apart from so many other stories of arranged marriages - there is zero attraction on his part. It felt realistic while I was reading it, and then when I found out that some of that really happened to the author's grandmother, I was even more impressed. I highly recommend it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and therefore gave it a rating of 5/5 stars. The book starts with the character of Joshua and as you get to know him you can’t help but like him. During his difficult circumstances his love for his family is evident. The other main character, Ingrid, is harder to like. As you read more of the story though her personality finally wins you over. I thought the story was well written, flowed well and was a very easy read. I will definitely read anything written by this author! I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction books set in the late 1800’s.
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
What a book! Such a wonderful story about life and a real love story of 2 people needing each other. While your heart breaks for them you will also find yourself laughing and crying. Again!! such a GREAT book by Serena Miller. 20 thumbs up!!
This is such an exciting and skillfully written book! A Promise to Love begins with a tragedy and the action never stops. There are numerous twists, turns and side plots, so something of importance is invariably happening with each new scene.
The characters come off the page and into your heart and mind. Ingrid is a wonderful, caring and strong woman, who depends on her faith to carry her through life. I particularly enjoy the way she models the love of Jesus, which seems to come as naturally to her as smiling. Of course, she isn’t perfect, which makes her even more endearing. Joshua is the kind of flawed hero that readers love to cheer on. Several interesting, secondary characters, with strong personalities or distinctive quirks, add much richness to the story.
I love the historical aspects to this book and how the author was able to weave history around and through her story. A Promise to Love is a book that I wanted to just keep on reading without stopping, because I was anxious to see what would happen next. A Promise to Love is an extraordinarily good, historic fiction novel.
Another outstanding read by Ms. Miller! This book is a touching tribute to all the women who have married to provide shelter for themselves or to help someone else. This brought to mind the frailities of children and how we all were created to love and be loved and needed. There's surprise information in Ms. Miller's notes at the end that will endear the book to you that much more. This is an outstanding work and shows the perils some of the immigrants to our country faced after the Civil War, especially those who were of Slavic ancestry. This book stands on its own, but refers to Katie Calloway and the logging camps in Michigan after the Civil War.
Loved this book! First time I read this author and it certainly won't be the last. I read it in two days and was ready to pick up #2 but, alas! there was no #2. I highly recommend this book. Read it! You will not be disappointed.
A Promise to Love is an excellent read. Serena B. Miller is a gifted storyteller. Her characters are awesome. I fell in love with Ingrid from the start. She’s real, fun, likable, and has a heart of gold–along with a nice pinch of spice. Joshua is a great hero, although this grieving widower has a few lessons to learn. My heart went out to him as he made some startling discoveries.
The story, set in Michigan in 1871, is rich in historical detail. It moves along nicely. The action-packed ending kept me flipping pages well into the night. I highly recommend A Promise to Love and look forward to reading more of Miller’s work.
A sweet and engaging romance, that was hard to put down!
Ingrid is a brave, hardworking young woman, who is searching for her brother in the wilds of Michigan. Joshua Hunter is a widower, in a battle to keep the custody of his children. When Ingrid loses her job, marriage to the handsome Mr. Hunter seems like the perfect solution for both of them.
I loved this book! Let me just say that I had high expectations after reading last year's The Measure of Katie Calloway, and A Promise to Love more than lived up to them!
I absolutely adored Ingrid, who was so hardworking and dedicated. Joshua was such a good man who did the best that he could for his family.
A Promise to Love was an engaging read with endearing characters, and a great plot full of heart. The pages turned steadily and I was loathe to put it down. A wonderful read, and I savored every moment of it!
I recieved this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Serena B. Miller takes the well used marriage of convenience tale and turns it into an engaging story with multi-layered characters, a unique setting and faith that matters. I enjoyed Ingrid’s devotion to her new family and her determination to hold Joshua accountable for his attitude and behaviour towards her. While I find dialogue in broken English a little distracting, I appreciate the effort to be authentic to Ingrid’s circumstances. The circumstances surrounding Joshua’s first wife’s death add substance to the story, particularly when Joshua realises some truths about their relationship. While there was an abrupt transition or two between some scenes, Serena has penned an appealing historical romance readers will enjoy. Serena’s inspiration for the story is a personal one and many of the events based on true occurrences, making them more fascinating. For those who adore a marriage of convenience story, A Promise to Love should not be missed.
I love children (obviously) but I don't think my love for them would make me want to jump to their aid and marry a man I did not know and who also happened to be their father. Marriage is a life long commitment. But Ingrid did just that in A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller. It is a heart-warming story of how a kind, loving young girl offers to marry a man named Joshua Hunter, whom she only met once. She does it for the sake of his children, and her initial attraction to him after he saved her from a difficult situation.
Ingrid and her family lived and worked on a farm, so of course I loved the farming aspect of the book because of my own interest.
I bawled like a baby at Ingrid's child-like ways, like at the dance on page 219 and her when she received her gifts. In many ways she's unassuming, yet she was definitely working hard to capture Joshua's attention and love. It was very easy to feel Ingrid's emotions of pain, rejection and anger as Joshua sorted through his own issues. It was heart-wrenching at times to read the beginning account of their marriage.
I loved this story and the grit Ingrid showed and the intertwining of I Corinthians 13. This story is based on the author's grandmother's life, which makes is that much more compelling knowing the details are based on real events.
It was interesting how Serena interwove how prevalent abortion was in the 1800's. So often life for wives and mothers during that time period is painted at "rosey" and hunky-dory. Women were very hard working and the struggles they faced were anything but rosey. A Promise of Love shows the struggle of one woman who had dealt with many losses in her family, which led to emotional disconnect with other people in her life. And it showed the character and strength of yet a completely different woman. It was a striking contrast to how women are usually portrayed in that time period.
A Promise of Love was a refreshing read for me and gets two thumbs up, as it is probably going to be read again and again.
Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.
There have been quite a few books - and some movies - written over the years about marriages happening in emergency situations for convenience's sake. Think Sarah, Plain and Tall, and you'll get the general jest of A Promise to Love.
I loved Sarah, Plain and Tall, and its sequels when I watched them. I guess that's why I was excited to give this new book a try! Like Sarah, Plain and Tall, there are some similar elements including anger, bitterness, unforgiveness. A motherless family. A grieving father. And true stories of people's lives in times past woven in as key elements into the story.
But there are a few things about A Promise to Love that I enjoyed even more than I ever enjoyed Sarah, Plain and Tall! (I didn't think I'd ever say that.)
The author, Serena Miller, writes a book whose words flow well, so that it is an easy read. Not all authors write so that the words flow effortlessly for the reader.
The character's emotions are realistic and appropriate. There are hints of romance throughout this story, but nothing more than a quick kiss or a gentle hug or a husband's arm wrapped around his wife's waist. It's nice that my children can read this if they'd like, and I don't need to worry about the content.
My own great-grandfather, although not a logger or sawyer in Michigan, passed away from a logging accident many years ago in the Pacific Northwest. I've heard a few stories about logging camps over the years, and have seen quite a few displays in museums here in the Pacific Northwest about logging in the 1800s and early- to mid-1950s. It was a rough life, not easy for anyone in the family. Since my husband is employed in the timber industry, I find true stories about its past quite interesting!
My favorite thing, though, about A Promise to Love is that the key character, Ingrid, a Swiss immigrant, uses her faith in Christ to strongly influence others around her who are hateful, unforgiving, or unrelentingly unkind. And yet, again, it is realistic. Women "under the influence" of the Holy Spirit's power can do great and mighty things with Christ's help.
Also, a very important message these days to share among wives and mothers, is the value of "keeping" a home and doing this for God's glory. This message came out loud and clear in A Promise to Love, but in a soft and tender way. I love it when authors acknowledge the importance of wives blessing their husbands and their children and serving their family with a joyful heart as much as is possible.
I appreciate the author's careful thoughts about motherhood and marriage spread throughout this book. It isn't often that a person will read modern Christian fiction books that share this godly message of being the Proverbs 31 woman, and I respect Serena B. Miller's choice to include this in her new book, A Promise to Love.
How frightening it must be to be alone and destitute. Frightening enough to propose to a virtual stranger so that he can maintain custody of motherless children.
On the surface it looks like a good bargain for them both, but it gets really complicated in a hurry.
It’s a struggle for each of them with there always being a third person in the marriage. The recently deceased wife who apparently killed herself is that third person - the one keeping Joshua and Ingrid apart.
Secrets are there also. Secrets and what to do with them as they start coming out.
You’re going to need a few tissues before you finish this book.
***A special thank you to Donna Hausler for providing a review copy.***
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written. The characters were well-developed. The story clipped along and held my interest. This is the third book I have read by this author. They have all been excellent.
Serena B. Miller in her new book “A Promise To Love” published by Revell Books takes us into the life of Ingrid Larsen in 1871.
From the back cover: Can a marriage of convenience ever become one of true love?
Ingrid Larsen arrives in Michigan in 1871 with little more than the clothes on her back and a determination to find her brother, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, the young Swedish immigrant crosses paths with Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed farmer with eyes the color of the ocean she had crossed and five rambunctious children to raise on his own.
Marriage would solve both of their problems, and Ingrid finds herself proposing in broken English to a man she barely knows. Many difficulties lie ahead–but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.
I like history and ”A Promise To Love” is filled with history. There are the lumber camps and the harsh activities that occurred there. There is the October, 1871 fire that if it wasn’t already documented history you would think that Ms. Miller made it up, that is how shocking it is. Then there is the marriage of convenience between Ingrid and Joshua. I think that these kinds of stories are difficult to write. This couple do not know each other, it is just that they each have a need, so the best way to meet their needs is to marry. Wow, marriage as a business arrangement. Yet, we read this book for the love story and Ms. Miller doesn’t hold back she really gives us a love story. And on top of everything Ms. Miller tells us at the end that this story is based on her grandmother. ”A Promise To Love” is filled with action and adventure. It is filled with family, overcoming adversities and even has a bit of a mystery in it. I think that “”A Promise To Love”" is a winner! Ms. Miller has given us a wonderful, sweet story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I liked it a lot and look forward to more from this talented author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
In A Promise To Love, Serena Miller sweeps us away to the wilds of Michigan in the late 1800s; a savage land both bold and beautiful--filled with majestic, white pine forests, the scent of cherry blossoms permeating the air, vast lumber camps, and the threat of horrific forest fires.
The Swedish born, Ingrid Larsen, arrives in Michigan to search for her brother, Hans, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps, with nothing save the clothes on her back. In her desperation she proposes to Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed cherry farmer with five rambunctious children.
Joshua is determined to establish a lucrative cherry orchard, and after losing his wife under strange circumstances, agrees to marry Ingrid to help out with the farm and his motherless children. Ingrid finds herself in for the biggest battle of her life as she struggles to be a good mother to five needy children, and must also fight the ghost of her husband's dead wife as well.
Soon terrible secrets are unearthed concerning the death of Joshua's wife, and Ingrid is faced with some challenging decisions. Can she continue to be Joshua's wife in name only?...and how can she endure the many hardships that face her without his love? Where is Hans and is he dead or alive? And it's only as she seeks the face of the Lord for guidance and help that the answers to her angst-filled questions are ultimately revealed to her.
Serena Miller has fast become one of my favorite authors! This compelling, heartwarming fiction based on fact story, grabbed me from the first chapter and did not let go until the last! I loved her realistic main characters (Ingrid never lost her Swedish accent throughout the whole book):), and her irresistable secondary characters just as much. Never boring with a fast-paced, exciting conclusion, this is an absolute must read! Nicely done, Serena Miller!
When I picked up A Promise to Love, I never would have guessed I would be clinging to the book until the end. This book is utterly fantastic. Miss Miller’s writing and characters, from the start, transport you back in time to Michigan in 1871.
In the first few pages, we meet Ingrid. Oh, how I loved Ingrid! She and her twin brother, Hans, moved to America from Sweden. They made a promise to meet each other when they parted. But when he doesn’t show up, Ingrid fears the worst and moves to White Rock to take a position as a maid for a snobbish woman. It’s there in White Rock that Ingrid’s life takes a turn.
There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. One in particular is how Miss Miller was able to write Ingrid’s broken English. It gave the story another layer of accuracy, it made me laugh, and it made me smile.
Miss Miller has done a wonderful job with her latest release. Her writing is so easy to read and her characters so lovable. I read A Promise to Love in a day simply because I couldn’t put it down for very long. I was so sad to see it come to end.
Those who liked Janette Oke’s Love Come Softly series will enjoy this one. :-)
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.
This novel was un-put-downable and I read it straight through. I know that's not a real word, but it best describes this compelling story as I simply couldn't set it aside. I read it straight through to the end. I always enjoy reading the afterward part of a novel that tells what portion of history a story is from and what really happened that the author based their story on. It's even cooler when there is some familial history involved.
As far as romance goes, this story was better than most. It put a different twist on a marriage of convenience that is typically seen in historical novels. I loved every minute of it. In fact, my eyes welled with tears a few times. The emotion of the story is touching. Ingrid personified steadfast love and I was very touched by her attitude and the discussions she had with his eldest child. I also loved how the hero recounted in his mind on numerous occasions how many wonderful qualities the heroine had that drew his heart to hers. The reunification scene at the end was emotional and I loved it.
If you enjoy a good historical novel set in the 1800s and you've read the first book by this author, you'll be delighted to see a few characters from the first book showing up in this one. Great writing, a unique plot, and intricate story-telling all make this book worthy of my top fiction list. The pulse-pounding action (especially toward the end) and the deep biblical application about real love make this novel a winner. I highly recommend it.
Serena B. Miller treats readers to a gentle story of love and sacrifice in “A Promise to Love.” She portrays life in 1870s Michigan with historical detail, and many of the events are based on actual occurrences. A plot based on a marriage of convenience is relatively common, but the circumstances surrounding Ingrid’s and Joshua’s relationship make it unique. Their love blossoms from a partnership, shared grievances, and Ingrid’s tender nurturing. It is a departure from the more romantic leanings of other novels, despite the fact that Ingrid falls in love with Joshua at first sight.
Ingrid is a very compelling and sweet character, with remarkable strength and determination. Her broken English adds authenticity to the dialogue; and it is endearing, but a bit distracting at times. Despite the many hardships she faces, Ingrid remains upbeat, and it is impossible not to like her and hope that Joshua will realize his treasure. In some ways she seems almost too perfect. She almost effortlessly transitions into a mother and takes on numerous duties to support a husband who cares for her but does not love her.
In addition to striving to win her husband’s love, Ingrid also hopes to find her long-lost brother. Both issues are resolved at the end of the novel, but a bit too quickly for me. A longer epilogue or perhaps a couple of more chapters would have left me more satisfied.
There are some gripping action scenes toward the end of the novel. I found myself eagerly reading the last 100 pages, captivated by Miller’s vivid descriptions. She paints clear scenes throughout the novel, but the clarity takes on extra poignancy when danger enters the plot. The tragedy that occurs is based on actual events experienced by Michigan residents in 1871. It is a small snapshot of a major event that significantly altered the Midwest. One of the treasures of historical fiction is the introduction to events that shaped history. Miller’s history lesson will definitely remain in my mind.
“A Promise to Love” is a heartwarming novel, and I enjoyed my first introduction to Serena B. Miller’s writing. I will put her future novel and her debut novel, “The Measure of Katie Calloway” on my reading lists.
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Such an amazing book. I think it rates at the top of the books I've read this year. I Loved, Loved, Loved it. Serena B. Miller has out done herself with this wonderful, page turning read. Ingrid Larsen has arrived in 1870's Michigan with hardly any possessions. When a chance meeting with Joshua Hunter, while she is being beaten with a whip, is about to change her entire life. Joshua has his own problems, he has just lost the love of his life, his wife and mother of his 5 children. His In-Laws have accused him of murder? If he is able to convince the judge that he was not responsible for his wife's death, will he be able to raise his children alone, and keep up with the farm? Ingrid has come to America to meet her twin Hans, but she has not heard from him. She doesn't know what she will do, now that she has left the employment of the woman who was beating her. There is a blessing out there by the name of Hazel, and her She-Wolf dog. There are many struggles ahead for these people, but there is a lot of love and compassion shown. Especially by Ingrid, loved her reaction and acceptance of the children, and Mary. She loves the Lord, and shows it in her actions. If you only read one book...read this one! It is GREAT!
I received this book from the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.