The Promise by Lucy Diamond

A tale of grief and loss mixed with mystery and gentle humour
makes this a compelling read

About the Book

When faced with the sudden death of his brother, Dan’s mission is clear. He puts together a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is Dan’s promise – to ensure his family’s happiness, and to try and live up to the man his brother was.

But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything Dan knew about his older brother. With more than just his promise on the line, Dan is faced with an ultimatum: Should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own?

What I thought

I knew I had read other Lucy Diamond books but it wasn’t until I got to the end of the book where there’s a list of all her previous titles that I realised I’ve actually read quite a few over the years. I’ve also found that with time and further along the chronological line of publications her writing has changed from initially quite light reads to something much deeper and heartfelt.

Maybe because of the current, rather dire times we’re living in, I did find the first part of the book perhaps a little too sad and gloomy. We start the book with Zoe. Zoe has very recently lost her husband in uncertain circumstances. However he came to die, the fact is Zoe is left a widow with three children to bring up, and many unanswered questions. The main one being why did her husbands brother Dan leave Patrick to wander off on his own, what is Dan not telling her, because he definitely knows more than he’s letting on.

Meanwhile Dan is suffering terrible guilt as well as trying to work through the grief he feels at losing his brother. He can’t help feeling in some way responsible, not helped by the fact that both Zoe and his mum both seem to blame him too. Rather than wallow in self pity and to try to assuage some of the guilt he feels, Dan decides to try and step into his brothers shoes by offering to help Zoe with her family and to sort out his brothers business affairs, taking over the running of his property rental business.

The rest of the book follows Dan and his somewhat clumsy but well-meant attempts to get to know his nephews and niece better. As the reader, you really feel for both Dan and Zoe. They’re both struggling with their grief and feelings of guilt, with Zoe often taking it out on Dan and not always fully appreciating what he’s trying to do for her and her family.

In the meantime Dan is finding out more and more about the somewhat secret life of his brother, putting him in some very awkward situations.

Despite the unhappiness surrounding the family there are lighter moments in the book, with plenty to bring a smile and a chuckle especially when Dan decides to take on a more active role in keeping his nephews and niece entertained.

I really enjoyed the book overall. It certainly kept me turning the pages with revelations coming out from all angles and laughs and tears in equal measure.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

♥ Happy Reading ♥

With thanks to the publisher Macmillan for an ARC of the book via Netgalley.

The book publishes in both hardback and e-book format on 18 February.

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