Title: The Promise
Author: Lucy Diamond
Published: December 29th 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Obituary: Patrick Sheppard tragically died after falling into the Thames, aged just 42 years. Dearly loved husband of Zoe, hero to children Ethan, Gabe and Beatrice, he also leaves behind his parents, beloved brother Dan and a thriving business. A friend to all, a family man, Patrick’s legacy lives on.
But as Dan desperately tries to hold on to the unravelling threads of Patrick’s family and tie them back together, he begins to see that his brother’s legacy might not be all that perfect. Patrick had been keeping secrets. Patrick had been telling lies. And to put things right, Dan is going to have to risk breaking the hearts of his grieving family all over again.
With sixteen novels and three novellas to her name, Lucy Diamond is a popular author in the field of women’s contemporary fiction. The Promise is a family drama, encompassing feelings of raw grief, shock loss, regret, atonement and love. A heartbreaking story coloured with moments of light and dark, The Promise is a rousing tale that fans of this bestselling author’s work will value.
The Promise opens with a heartbreaking family tragedy. When Patrick Sheppard passes away in unexpected circumstances, he leaves behind a loving family and a brother consumed by grief. Patrick’s brother Dan decides he must take charge of his late brother’s affairs following the shock loss of his sibling. Dan resolves to care for everything Patrick left behind, from his family, home and business affairs. But in promising to take care of Patrick’s affairs Dan comes face to face with a life altering secret that Patrick left behind. This revelation has a strong bearing on Patrick’s family and his wife. Dan must weigh up his options, should he reveal this secret to Patrick’s widow Zoe? Dan knows the knowledge he now has may break Zoe even further. This emotionally delicate family cannot deal with another blow, so can Dan keep Patrick’s secret under wraps?
There is no doubting the success and notoriety of UK author Lucy Diamond. With over 2.5 million books sold worldwide, Diamond is a household name. From memory I have read at least two books in the past by Diamond. Although I don’t consider myself a keen eyed reader of this author’s work, something about the blurb of The Promise did appeal to me. Overall, I was slightly torn by this one. In all honesty I had trouble connecting to the first part of the book, but the second half and the revealing epilogue did help redeem my final impression of The Promise.
Opening with a rather shocking incident, involving the tragic death of a family man, The Promise is contemporary fiction novel heavy in emotion and feeling. It was heartbreaking to put myself in poor Zoe’s shoes, the widow left behind when her husband is found dead a few days after he disappears one night. Diamond does a good job of relaying the feelings and responses of a family unit dealing with the unexpected loss of their beloved husband and father. In addition, Diamond looks at how Patrick’s loss is felt by his other close family circle which includes his brother Dan and his parents. Diamond also examines the impact that Patrick’s loss has on his friends and business relations. The mystery surrounding the exact circumstances of Patrick’s mysterious death is what implored me to continue reading this book, especially when I struggled with the earlier sequences of this story. I liked how Diamond chose to eke out the circumstances of Patrick’s death until the bitter end of the novel, this style of storytelling served to keep me connected to The Promise.
The Promise is told primarily from the viewpoint of Dan, Patrick’s brother. Although we do receive a strong insight into Patrick’s widow Zoe’s life and that of their children, it is Dan who is left to hold things together. I did admire Dan’s promise and list, it was rather endearing. Overall, Dan came across as a genuine good guy and I appreciated his efforts. I really wanted Dan to release his grief and sense of regret following his final moments with Patrick. I also had high hopes that Dan would find love. The romance element of the story didn’t quite work out as I expected, but I think it was a good angle to take. There is significant secret that Dan uncovers as he attempts to tidy up Patrick’s loose ends. Once this aspect became a part of the story, I think The Promise seemed to pick up a fair bit in terms of pace and overall interest level. The introduction of another shocking revelation in regards to Patrick’s life added a further level of intrigue to the tale at hand. Both Zoe and Dan learn that Patrick wasn’t the perfect husband, father or brother. It is tough lesson to learn for all parties, but it is painted with a strong amount of realism.
Despite some issues with the early stages of this novel, I am pleased that I persisted with The Promise. Lucy Diamond’s sixteenth release is a story of the delicate threads of family life, grief, shocking revelations, redemption, protection, unconditional support, unexpected love and small blessings. Contemporary fiction fans will absorb this title.
The Promise by Lucy Diamond was published on 29th December 2020 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Promise, Lucy Diamond, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.