About the Book
A Promise Engraved
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance
Release date: May, 2022
Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?
Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?
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This dual time novel got
off to a bit of a rough start. In the 1836 narrative, there are
allusions to something terrible having happened to Josie previously.
It seems very important but the information so vague, I wondered if I
had missed a previous novel. We eventually find out what happened but
earlier information would have helped me be more engaged in Josie as
a character. This part of the novel starts with the people having settled
in Mexican held territory north of San Antonio feeling in grave
danger. I was lost much of the time as I felt there was not
sufficient background material included to set an understanding of
the situation. A paragraph describing the historical, political and military
conditions would have helped a great deal.
While Josie is the
heroine in this time period, I had difficulty liking her. She acted
impulsively. Was she brave or foolish? She thinks, “If only she had
thought this through better.” (1791/3434) She had to repeatedly
apologize for her actions and at one point said she would never admit
to John that he was right. (2058/3434) I felt there were unreasonable
scenes of her being attacked by Manuel. One time she is riding on the
lonely prairie but does not notice him coming because she is thinking
about a poem. (1448/3434) On a prairie, where one can see for miles?
There was repetition in
the narrative. The Mexican camp tents lined up in perfect rows were
mentioned twice in close proximity with nearly exact descriptions.
(1760/3434 and 1781/3434) I am not sure all the shenanigans with the
ring work out well. In the contemporary story, the person desiring
the ring just comes out of nowhere. And the final information reveal
that puts it all together came out of the blue too.
I did appreciate the
information in the novel about the Alamo and the battle there. I
liked the informative historical note at the end, distinguishing fact
and fiction. While I think this is not Tolsma's best novel, I have generally liked her work and will be watching for her next
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.
More from Liz
The Story of Susannah Dickinson, Alamo Survivor
When asked how many died at the Alamo, many would answer that everyone did. While it’s true that all fighting on the side of Texas independence perished, there were survivors, all women and children and one slave. The only white woman (the rest were of Mexican descent) was Susannah Dickinson, along with her daughter Angelina. Susannah had followed her husband, Almaron, to Mexican Texas in 1831. They had married two years before when Susannah was just fifteen. She never learned to read or write.
She and the other women hid in the sacristy of the church, one of the surviving buildings in the mission and what we now think of as the Alamo. Her husband died, but Mexican General Santa Anna found them and spared their lives, sending them to Sam Houston with $2 each and a blanket.
She married again the following year but divorced him almost immediately on the grounds of cruelty. She married a third time the following year and was married for five years until her husband died of alcoholism. A fourth marriage occurred in 1847, but she divorced again in 1857, this time allegedly because she was having an affair. That same year, she married for a fifth time. This marriage lasted until her death in 1883.
The ring in A Promise Engraved is based on a cat’s eye ring supposedly given to Angelina by William Travis before the battle. Angelina was Susannah’s only child. She married and had three children, but that marriage ended in divorce. She gave the ring to a man she’d become involved with in New Orleans. She married again and had one more child but died in 1869 from a uterine hemorrhage.
Today there are many descendants of Susannah Dickinson. If you visit the Susannah Dickinson house in Austin, you’ll see a quilt that is signed by many of her living descendants.
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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.
star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it,
1-I hate it.)