Title: Promise Me
Author: Kelly Walker
Publication Date: January 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Self-professed Harry Potter addict and math genius River Jacobsen can count on one hand the people who matter in her life. Really, it's just Dean, the boy who loves her despite her odd habit of counting everything around her when she needs to quiet her mind. When Dean promises her forever she never imagines it will be a lie.
After Marine hacker Ian Maclean is mistakenly declared dead by the US government, he's happy to correct them the moment he escapes captivity. He wants nothing more than to get home to the wife he left behind. Discovering she's been cheating on him since the moment he deployed wasn't in the plan. Devastated, he walks away from everything, even his name.
With the futures they were counting on destroyed, Ian and River find themselves starting over. Ian reminds River of things she'd much rather forget, but pushing him away is harder than she expected. Ian wants a second chance at happily ever after, but the more he gets to know River, the more he worries she isn't trying to figure out how to live again, she's figuring out how to die.
*I received this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*
This is more of a 3.5 star read for me but, it leans a bit more towards 4 stars than 3 so, there we go! Now that, that's cleared up, let's get on to the actual review!
Promise me follows River and Ian, whose paths intertwine under extremely tragic circumstances that bring them together but, have the ability to easily tear them apart. Grief has torn River's life apart and after losing the one person who promised her forever, she can't find the strength to move on. She's barely surviving a life riddled with pain and despair, slowly sinking and ready to drown as the darkness creeps closer. Ian also carries his own demons and has been through things most people wouldn't even have survived. When he meets River, he's inexplicably drawn to the sadness he can clearly see surrounding her entire being. And when Ian is scared of the darkness swallowing River and taking her away from him, he has to make a choice that will either break them apart or make them stronger than they could've ever been otherwise!
First of all, I want to express my appreciation towards Ian. He was amazing, caring and most important of all, loyal! Towards his country, those he loved and of course, River. I don't know if he sets expectations way up high for me, as a reader, in the sense that his personality is basically impossible to come across. He's so understanding and respectful towards River. He gives her space when she needs it and leaves her set her own pace in their relationship. The choice he had to make towards the end of this book was very tough but, he sacrificed River in exchange for her getting better and finding her way back to the light! I really loved that about him and would've definitely fallen for someone like him in real life.
River was also a very strong but, emotionally unstable main character! I was heartbroken over everything she had to go through and got extremely angry at how her parents handled her choices. Her grief can be felt through the pages of this book from the very beginning and I feel like the author did a great job at giving life to her characters through her writing and vivid descriptions! I couldn't relate to her in the way one would expect since, I have never been through something similar but, I could feel my heart break throughout the book and as more of her past came to light. I really enjoyed the fact that, nothing was revealed from the very beginning and the author revealed information about her past slowly and steadily. It wasn't unpredictable in the sense that, I could actually figure out what had happened in River's life and what she had to go through from the beginning of the book but, it didn't affect how the story progressed or how I felt about its development. I wasn't surprised by the facts but, at the same time, I wasn't unaffected by them.
The story is told through both River and Ian's perspectives, which I actually prefer when it comes to these types of books. That way, it's easier to see things through the eyes of the characters involved and identify with them on a deeper level. The only thing that frustrated me was how repetitive thins got at times. It briefly felt like the story dragged a bit during some parts of the book which, wasn't a huge deal but, it definitely affected my reading in general.
I feel like I would've also enjoyed this so much more if there were more flashbacks involved. This particular technique is one of my favorites when it comes to reading or writing because, it can offer vital information to a character's past and what they really went through. Not enough of the characters' pasts were revealed throughout the story and even though we got an image of what really happened to them both, I personally didn't get my closure by the end of the book. Considering that, they played a huge part in how the story progressed and they greatly affected both of them, it was like not enough attention was given to them, as a whole. I sincerely think that, they would've made a huge difference for me because I would've gotten to know River and Ian better through their pasts and would've eventually left everything behind with them!
Overall, Promise Me was a heartbreaking and quick read that broke my heart many times before finally putting it back together! It definitely does get emotional and could be a trigger for some readers so, keep that in mind if you're debating on whether to pick it up or not. It's on the darker side of Contemporary/Romance novels but, I really enjoyed how the characters found the light in each other by the end of it. Lastly, their development was something I was very grateful for because, that can be tricky sometimes when you're dealing with story lines similar to this one!
Until the next post,