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- The Promise by Beth Wiseman
My ReviewWhen seventeen-year-old Mallory wasn’t allowed to donate the kidney that would have saved her cousin’s life, she made a promise to herself that one day she would do it. She would save a life. Twelve years later, she has another opportunity, but her parents aren’t going to like this one either, because it involves a trip to Pakistan and a sick teen. And her long-term boyfriend, Tate, isn’t happy either.
I quickly discovered Mallory is my least-favourite kind of fictional heroine: noble, academically bright but naïve, with little understanding of life outside her first-world bubble. She shows herself to be easily led--in the wrong direction--as she makes a vital decision based on some basic internet research, and has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. I hoped I’d be wrong about the way the story would progress, but I wasn’t (although it could have been worse. It usually is, based on the stories I used to read in the London newspapers when I lived there).
However, I really liked Tate. There was a nobility and intelligence about him that Mallory lacked, but he still had two major faults, one being Mallory. My dislike of her aside, Tate is a committed Catholic who attends Mass and believes Jesus is the only way to God. Mallory has no personal faith, and has never read the Bible, yet is happy to start reading the Quran—so why is Tate in a relationship with her? The second fault is that he cries. A lot. I guess that as a music teacher she’s supposed to be the sensitive new age (?) guy, the metrosexual who is in touch with his feelings. Maybe. But it came across as girly (note: this isn’t intended to be a sexist comment. I get equally annoyed by fictional women who cry all the time).
I can imagine a lot of people are going to rave about this novel. It’s based on real-life events the author was personally involved in—but I didn't find that out to the end. Maybe I'd have been able to feel more sympathy for Mallory if I'd known.
The writing is solid (not spectacular, but solid), it’s touching on subjects and issues not usually seen in Christian fiction, and it certainly inspired emotion in my as I read. The first half of the book was a real struggle as I kept hoping Mallory would come to her senses (and knowing she wouldn’t). The second half was a lot better, with a lot more action and suspense, but overall, I found the novel a frustrating read.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. To find out more, visit Beth Wiseman's page at Litfuse Publicity, or her website.