Thursday, January 26, 2012

Promise Me This - Book Review & Giveaway

Today's review celebrates the release of Cathy Gohlke's latest book, Promise Me This. Cathy has generously offered a copy for a giveaway (details below), and will be stopping by again on Monday with an insightful interview. Hope you can join us!

Promise Me This                    

Annie Allen is devastated upon learning that her older brother Owen perished when the Titanic went down.  Her only remaining relative in England is Aunt Eleanor, and Annie has never been close to the bitter spinster.  As details unfold, Annie learns that Owen requested a favor of a young street urchin and Titanic stowaway, Michael Dunnagan. Owen asked Michael to fulfill his American dream by going to Swainton, NJ, where Owen’s aunt and uncle own and operate Allen’s Run Gardens. He also requested that Michael bring Annie to America so she could start a new life, far from Eleanor’s disapproving eyes. 

As Michael begins a new life stateside, he struggles under a heavy weight of guilt that he survived and Owen did not. He reaches out to Annie via letter, but she rebuffs his correspondence at first. Eventually though, she warms to Michael’s efforts to build a friendship and letters fly back and forth across the pond. 

Michael works overtime to save enough money to bring Annie to NJ, only to see World War 1 erupt, making travel to and from England dangerous. In the meantime, Annie busies herself by training with the Red Cross, and she and a friend sign up to work with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in regional hospitals. As the war drags on, Michael is restless and more concerned for Annie’s safety, and embarks on a perilous journey across the Atlantic to see her. His arrival coincides with Aunt Eleanor’s mysterious dying wish that throws a cruel wrench into Annie’s plans to go to America.

Cathy Gohlke’s stories are not your run of the mill predictable fare. This Christy Award winning author has several books under her belt, with tales that envelop the reader with rich descriptions and intriguing plots. Promise Me This is no exception. Just about the time I thought it safe to turn a page and take a breath, Cathy ramped up the action with exciting twists and turns. As a fan of happy endings, I was relieved to see that these seemingly impossible knots were all happily untangled. 

One of my favorite aspects of this book was that it was partially set in southern NJ, just minutes from where I grew up. Allen’s Run Gardens was fashioned after Leaming's Run, a real botanical garden in Swainton that we visited on numerous occasions. Cathy captures the essence of the area and era to lend authenticity to Annie and Michael’s emotional journey through tragedy and beyond.

I seldom give a five star rating to a book, but this one earned it and then some. In my opinion, Cathy Gohlke possesses the gift of bringing stories to life in an amazing way. If you haven’t already guessed, I highly recommend this book. 

To learn more about Cathy and her books, click here. 

Giveaway Details
  • You must be a follower and leave a comment, with email address, on this post.
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please include link with your comment where applicable.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST, Friday, February 3, 2012. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, February 6. 

A Big Favor 

My blog has been nominated for a Top Blog Award at If you like my blog and would like to vote for me, click on this link and scroll down till you see Write Now, check the box, and click on VOTE. I'm told that visitors can vote as often as they like through February 3, 2012 at 5 pm. Thanks for your time and consideration!

Don't forget to stop back on Monday for the interview with Cathy. :)

Have you read any "five star" books lately?

Have a great weekend,


  1. Hi Karen! Promise Me This sounds like a wonderful read. Thanks for the review. I'm in for the drawing :-) bturn(at)fuse(dot)net.

    And I'm off to vote--congratulations on the nomination!

  2. I voted for you. Good luck!!! :O)

  3. Congratulations on your blog nomination, Karen! It's a pleasure to vote for you.

    Thank you for your insightful review of "Promise Me This." I'm delighted you not only enjoyed the book but that you recognized those lovely gardens in Swainton, New Jersey. The research part of this book was an amazing journey--here, in the U.S., and through England, France and Germany.

    I'm looking forward to connecting with your readers next week!

    Many thanks and blessings!

  4. Kenda,
    I think you might like this one. :) Got you down for the drawing! :)

    Thanks so much! You're a peach!

    It's always a pleasure to have you here on the blog. Love your books!


  5. I love a book with twists and turns! Great review, thanks Karen!

  6. I did not do the eCollege thing simply because of the business junk. But I voted for you. This book sounds fabulous. And what a great reviewer you are, amigo. <3


  7. Oh, how lovely this story sounds! And five stars? MY. Please enter my name.


    Off to vote for your blog!


  8. I've been looking forward to reading this one; thanks for the review and giveaway!

    joyintherain8 (at) gmail {dot} com

  9. Lydia,
    Me too! It was great! :)

    Yes, and sorry to hear about that. You know I'm praying. Hugs, amigo!

    Got you on the list! Thanks a bunch!


  10. Quirky Grammar Girl,
    Glad you enjoyed the review. I love Cathy's books! :)

  11. It sounds like an excellent read. Please enter my name for a chance to win.
    I follow this blog through GFC (Carl Scott)
    my email is carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    I have tweeted about this giveaway,!/carlrscott/status/162633663010455552
    Thanks a lot for hosting.

  12. You bet I hopped over there and voted, my friend. I hope you win!

    And for you to give a book a five-star rating is big!! This author should be thrilled.

    My email address, of course, is Will share on FB, too.

  13. Hi! I'm a new follower. Would love to read this book.


  14. Carl,
    I thought it was, but I guess you figured that out! Thanks for following - got you down!

    Thanks for voting, sweet friend! :) Got you on the list, thanks for passing the word!

    Thanks for following! it's nice to meet you. Added you to the list! :)


  15. I hadn't heard of this one, but it sounds like a great read! Thanks for the review and the giveaway offer, Karen!

    sarah at sarahforgrave dot com

  16. Five stars! Wow, Karen, you've got my attention.

    cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  17. I just voted for you!!

    Cool that some of this book is set in Southern NJ!

  18. Sarah,
    Well, it's hitting the shelves as we speak. Hope you get a chance to read it! :)

    Well, I liked it a lot and it was so well written, what can I say? :)

    Thanks for voting! I appreciate it. Yes, South Jersey - who knew?! Cathy shares more about the setting in the interview on Monday. Have you been to Leaming's Run?

    Happy weekend,

  19. I totally agree with those 5-stars! Promise Me This is a wonderful story that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. No need to enter me in the drawing because I already have my copy, but I just wanted to encourage your blog readers to be sure to buy a copy so they don't miss out on this book.

  20. Looks like an interesting book! Off to vote for you.

  21. Carrie,
    It does stay with you! Cathy's draws parallels that really make you think. Thanks for coming by!

    It is! Loved it. Thanks for taking the time to vote. I appreciate it! :)

    Happy weekend,

  22. How nice of you to do a giveaway! Lovely cover.

  23. I'm always looking for a "five star" book. Thanks for the rec!

  24. Theresa,
    Thanks for coming by! I know your days have been packed full of late. :)

    If you pick it up, hope you enjoy it! Thanks for coming over to see me!

    Have a good week,

  25. hey karen;;
    your blog is awesome and very nice;;
    liked it very much;;

    and I have voted for you on ecollege finder

    best of luck;;

  26. Marci,
    Nice to meet you! Thanks for the follow. :) Let me know if you have a blog so I can check it out!

    Thanks for the compliment, and thanks for following and voting too. It's good to meet you!


  27. Hi Karen -

    Are we allowed to stuff the ballot box?

    I can't wait to get Cathy's book, but don't enter me. She's sending me an ARC. :)


  28. This sounds like a terrific read. Please count me in!


  29. Best wishes to Cathy and Promise Mw This. And I recently finished Open Minds which I gave a five star review to.

  30. Congrats Karen,

    It was only a matter of time. You have an awesome blog! Got my vote:)


  31. I'm a follower. The book sounds wonderful.
    Theresa N

  32. Susan,
    LOL - I would have to say no. :) Can't wait till you read it. I think you'll like it!

    It is! :) Got you down!

    Thanks for coming by; we appreciate it!

    Thanks so much! And thanks for taking the time to vote. :)

    Nice to meet you! Thanks for following. Added your name to the list!


  33. I'm always looking for another keeper for my shelf. sdlbishop2(at)gmail(dot)com

  34. Sally,
    You made it just in time! Added you to the list. :)
    Happy weekend,


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!