by Lesley Pearse (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 978-1-71857043
“What did she know about Etienne? He might have saved her life back in Paris, but when she first met him he was no more than a hired thug.”
The Promise is the continuation of Belle’s story from Belle.
Belle is married to Jimmy and lives a comfortable life. She owns a hat shop fulfilling a childhood dream. Her customers think she studied millinery in Paris. Belle is at pains to maintain that façade. That is, until a reporter appears on the scene and threatens to disrupt Belle’s tranquillity.
Then World War 1 breaks out. Belle thinks that the reporter has lost interest in her story as the World struggles with food rations, men dying and broken lives. Belle volunteers as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. When she meets up with Etienne, she is torn between loyalty and passion. Belle is filled with guilt when she succumbs to passion. Belle’s world falls apart and she has to make painful choices.
This is Pearse’s twentieth novel and it does not disappoint. Pearse plunges the reader head first into a brutal war. Her story weaves around the heartbreak and futility of war. The characters are unforgettable as they pull the reader into their lives before and during the war.
A highly recommended read.