"Ellie Craig brushed the last leaf from the surface of a granite marker embedded in the soft earth. 'There, Lizzie.' She crooned her daughter's name. 'Isn't that better?'"
So begins the first chapter of The Promise of Morning by Ann Shorey. The year is 1846 and Ellie and Matthew Craig have lost three of their eight children. The Craigs live on the Illinois frontier where life is, at times, almost unbearable. The Craigs face many trials, including death, betrayal, and threat of the loss of intimacy in their marriage. As Ellie attempts to cope with these and other personal heartaches, Matthew struggles with problems in the church that he ministers to as well as a long ago broken relationship with his father.
As I read this book, I kept thinking "What terrible thing is going to happen to them next?" It was a very sad book that left me somewhat depressed. I couldn't bring myself to like any of the characters. They all were so self-absorbed and had negative attitudes throughout the book. I know that life on the homestead in the 1840's was no piece of cake, but in reading this book one would get the impression that there was no joy at all in people's lives at that time. Especially since most of the main characters were Christians, I was disappointed to see them being so ungrateful, fearful, and hopeless. I'm not saying that Christians never act this way, but I saw no joy of the Lord in these characters until the very end of the book, where everything "miraculously" got all better and everyone "lived happily ever after." The book lacks credibility.
I hope I'm not sounding too harsh, but I think this book could have been so much better.
Ann Shorey is the author of The Edge of Light and has published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul.
“Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
For more information, visit http://www.revellbooks.com/.
(If you like novels set this time period, I recommend Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot, which I reviewed last week. Or perhaps you would enjoy books by Deeanne Gist or Tracie Peterson, two of my favorite Christian Historical Fiction writers.)
(I received a complementary copy of this book from Revell for the purposes of this review. I received no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.)