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A Promise to Love: A Novel by Serena B.…
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A Promise to Love: A Novel

by Serena B. Miller

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Ingrid Larsen is a young Swedish immigrant who arrives in Michigan in the spring of 1871 to search for her brother, who has not been heard from since he went in search of work among the dangerous lumber camps. While she is searching, she finds work as a hired girl for a shopkeeper and his wife, but she is forced to leave that job when the woman becomes abusive towards her. Destitute, and barely hanging on to hope, she encounters a recently widowed farmer who is struggling to raise his 5 children (4 of which are under the age of 7). Knowing that marriage would solve both of their problems, she proposes to him.

Even though she barely knows him, she has fallen in love with him, and she hopes that someday, he will love her in return. But he is still mourning his first wife, and trying to come to terms with the mysterious cause of her death.

I really enjoyed this story; it's not your typical "marriage of convenience" story. It's actually based on the life of the author's own grandmother. There are also other things happening in the story based on true events, which the author discusses in her notes at the end of the story.

I just wish this story had been a little longer; that does not mean it was too short, it's just that I loved the characters so much, especially Ingrid and her elderly friend Hazel, that I hated to "leave" them when the story was over. A few of the reviews I have read about this book criticized the fact that Ingrid spoke in broken English, but to me, that just made her character more authentic and more endearing.

I also liked that the story was set in Michigan, where I have lived my whole life. And though it has nothing to do with the story, I thought it was kind of cool that the main character had the same last name as mine. I have Scandinavian roots from my dad's side of the family. ( )
  mom2acat | May 26, 2014 |
Ingrid Larsen, a young Swedish immigrant, arrives in Michigan to meet her brother. When her brother doesn't show she decides to take the job of house keeper for George and Millicent (the store owner and his wife). Joshua Hunter stops by to pay a bill and witnesses Millicent's cruel behavior toward Ingrid. He shows kindness to her and she is immediately drawn to him. After that, Ingrid fleas from Millicent and heads for her friend Hazel's house. Hazel informs her that Joshua is newly widowed and is in danger of losing his children due to allegations by his mother-in-law. In a desperate moment, Ingrid proposes marriage to Joshua. Marriage would solve both their problems. It would give Ingrid a home and Joshua would have help raising the children. But can a marriage built out of desperation ever be a real marriage? She loves her new family and wins the hearts of the children right away, but will she ever win the heart of her husband?

I am one who gravitates toward 'marriage of convenience' stories, which made A Promise to Love one that I certainly wanted to read. What I found was a complex, multilayered story, filled with real-life characters dealing with real-life situations of that time period. I loved the fact that many of the situations in the story were based on actual historical accounts and people. One being the author's grandmother. For me, that just added a extra richness to the story. One surprise to me was learning the secret that Joshua's first wife and Millicent kept. What's the secret? You'll have to read the book to find out. Ingrid is a woman that I really admired. She was smart, savvy and truly trying to be all God wanted her to be. She lived out 1 Corinthians 13 and I found myself thinking I'd like to be more like her. Joshua was a man that I liked getting to know. He was a good man but sometimes I wanted to knock some sense into him for the way he acted. But I think that's what made him flesh-and-blood real to me. This was a story that was difficult to put down once I started reading it. When I did have to put it down, I found myself anxious to pick it back up again. If you're like me and enjoy 'marriage of convenience' stories then I definitely recommend this one. A Promise to Love is the promise of a great story!

Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Revell; Original edition (October 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0800721179
ISBN-13: 978-0800721176

*This complimentary copy was provided by Revell through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* ( )
  love2readnovels | Oct 26, 2012 |
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. ( )
  alekee | Oct 21, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0800721179, Paperback)

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 is struggling to raise five children on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and so Ingrid proposes to a man she barely knows. She will fight to protect her new family--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.

Readers who loved The Measure of Katie Calloway will be pleased to find more of Miller's emotive and descriptive writing here--and to discover that love is more than words.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

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 is struggling to raise five children on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and so Ingrid proposes to a man she barely knows. She will fight to protect her new family-- but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.… (more)

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