The Promise

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Title: The Promise
Series: The Restoration
Author: Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2013
Pages: 304

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Tom Anderson lost his job five months ago and hasn’t told anyone, not even his wife. He leaves each morning pretending nothing has changed and spends his days in coffee shops and bookstores job hunting. The stress of keeping his unemployment a secret is pushing him and his wife apart and putting his marriage in danger. Tom is going to tell her after he finds a job, if his marriage lasts that long.

Jean Anderson knows something is wrong with her husband. He’s been coming home angry and bitter for months now and he doesn’t want to talk to her about anything anymore and it’s scaring her. With the chasm growing between her and her husband, she begins to suspect that her deepest fears might be a reality and she has no idea what to do about it.

When Jean goes to the doctor, she realizes just what has her husband so frugal and it makes he think about what he has done with his day all these months. It’s up to Tom to prove to her that he hasn’t done anything but lie and that it’s her he loves. With his marriage on the line, Tom must really evaluate his life, marriage, and his goals in life. Also, he must realize why he kept his secret for so long and try and make it up to Jean.

Can Tom win back Jean after a five month long lie or will he lose her forever? Can Jean forgive Tom for his lie or will she leave him despite his pleas? Will Jean believe Tom when he says he hasn’t cheated or will she believe her fears instead? Will Tom’s reasons for keeping his secret be confronted and conquered or just buried for another time?
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The first book in this series wasn’t very relatable to me because of the wide age gap between myself and the main characters. This book is a tad different. Though there is still that wide age gap, it’s much smaller and Tom’s story was much more relatable to me. I was able to see bits and pieces of my childhood amidst the memories of the characters and that definitely made me be able to connect with this book more than the first.

First things first, I have to address Tom and his real reasoning for hiding his unemployment. I won’t give to much away but I will say this, though his method was extreme, the reasons he kept his unemployment a secret made quite a bit of sense and seemed like something someone would do if they didn’t want to disappoint someone who had put a lot of pressure on them. Though I wouldn’t be able to keep a secret that big for that long, I can understand his reasoning and understand the desire to not disappoint someone you love.

The storyline is interesting and, though it’s not very fast paced, engaging if the topic is relatable to you. There were times I had a hard time keeping my attention on the book, but that might be because I’m not married and am not very knowledgable about marriages, so I might not be a very good judge of this book as far as pacing goes. However, one thing I can’t deny and see despite my lack of marriage experience, is that the marriage advice and images on how to heal a breaking marriage were spot on and very helpful for me for the future.

My favorite part of this entire book was seeing the transformation of all The marriages in this book once they put the Lord first in their marriages and lives. The transformation was into something I rarely see anymore and it gives me great hope that marriages don’t have to be this awful institution that many make it seem. This book portrays marriages as work and sacrifice and love and trust and I felt that that was very accurate and gave me a realistic view as to what marriage entails.

I’ve been reading Dan Walsh’s books for a while now and his storytelling ability never ceases to amaze me. That’s why I keep coming back for more from him. Dan’s coauthor is another story. I haven’t read much by him. My fourth book by him, all fiction, but all of those books have one thing in common, they either show what a marriage that revolves around Christ looks like or how to fix a marriage at its breaking point and I love seeing that. Both authors are amazing at what they do and both authors and this book come highly recommended.

Overall, a great book about fixing a marriage. The pace for me got a bit slow at times, but in general, I liked the pacing. This is great for people who want a great story about marriage or want to figure out how to fix a marriage in fiction form. Keep your kids away from this one but it’s great for adults. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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