About the Book:
A promise for the future. A threat from the past. Can Bel find happiness?
Back in Sydney after her aunt’s death, sixty-five year-old Bel Davison is making plans to sell up her home and business and return to Scotland where she has promised to spend the rest of her life with the enigmatic Scotsman with whom she’s found love.
But the reappearance of her ex-husband combined with other unexpected drawbacks turns her life into chaos, leading her to have doubts about the wisdom of her promise.
In Scotland, Matt Reid has no such doubts, and although facing challenges of his own, he longs for Bel’s return.
But when an unexpected turn of events leads him to question Bel’s sincerity, Matt decides to take a drastic step – the result of which he could never have foreseen.
Can this midlife couple find happiness in the face of the challenges life has thrown at them?
Isobel’s Promise continues the story of Bel Davison, who we first met in The Good Sister. Unlike its predecessor which was a dual time-slip narrative, Isobel’s Promise is entirely contemporary. It picks up pretty much where The Good Sister left off so there’s a nice thread of continuity linking the two novels.
There’s a lot going on for Bel when she returns to Australia with the intent of packing up her life and moving back to Scotland so she can create a future with Matt. It seems that once Bel makes the decision to alter her life, many aspects of it begin to unravel of their own accord. The story moves along at a fairly rapid pace, split between Bel and Matt, with another perspective thrown in, that of Celia, Bel’s new employee who is going through some major changes herself. I haven’t read enough of Maggie’s novels to know what her pattern is, but I’m wondering if the introduction of Celia within this story indicates that Celia will have her own book in the near future. If so, I’ll look forward to that one because Celia’s story held my interest, almost more than Bel’s did, if I’m entirely honest.
There were a couple of characters that really missed the mark for me in this novel. Lou, Bel’s friend, was not a very nice person at all and despite Maggie alluding to the firm history between Lou and Bel, I just wasn’t feeling that connection. Lou had very little to recommend about her and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would have put up with her rudeness for any length of time. Elspeth, Matt’s daughter, was another one that grated on my nerves, but Matt did too when it came to her. She’s a forty year old woman but he seemed to indulge her tantrums as though she were two. Unfortunately, I never warmed to Elspeth, I think she simply wore out her welcome to soon with me, and even after everything played out the way it did, I still couldn’t rouse any sympathy for her. Maybe it’s because she was a similar age to me and I just couldn’t imagine ever acting in such an infantile manner. Matt seemed to despair of her and indulge her in equal measure. He had definitely created a rod for his own back there.
Isobel’s Promise is a solid story and fans of Maggie Christensen will enjoy all it has to offer. For me, I felt it difficult to connect to Bel and I honestly put that down to the age difference, likening it to when I read a novel with a teenager at the helm. The age gap was too vast and I was consequently too removed from her generation to fully appreciate what was going on in her universe. I didn’t encounter this so much when I was reading The Good Sister, but I attribute that to the historical fiction aspect of that particular story. I’ve noted with myself as a reader that I am affected by the ages of characters more when it’s a contemporary read. It’s almost as though as soon as a story is set in the past, things like age and what generation a person is cease to matter. Weird, I know, but what we don’t understand about ourselves we should just accept! Older readers will appreciate Isobel’s Promise, for sure, because I do think Maggie does a fine job at catering for the more mature audience who wants to read about characters experiencing life at a similar stage to themselves.
Thanks is extended to the author for providing me with a copy of Isobel’s Promise for review.
About the Author:
After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her frequent visits to family in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. Living with her husband of thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven! She continues her love of books as a volunteer with her local library where she selects and delivers books to the housebound.
Published by Cala Publishing
Released 2nd August 2018
Available in Paperback and eBook