Monday, May 15, 2017

Adult Review: Promises to Keep

I know, this doesn't fit here at all, does it? :P An actual review AND an adult book? AND the book is somewhat new?

Promises to Keep by Genevieve Graham

Published: April 4th, 2017 by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Adult historical fiction
Binding: ARC
Page Count: 313 plus acknowledgements in my ARC but the finished copy should have 336 pages.
Part of a series? I don't think so.
Got via: It was sent to me for review consideration.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Review: A combination of a genre I don't read often plus some narrative choices I found very strange made this not my favourite. It seemed like an interesting story, and I didn't know much about the setting even as someone who's Canadian, but I had trouble connecting to the book and I just didn't enjoy it very much.

Plot Talk: I thought the plot dragged a bit, to be honest. It was slow to start and it didn't do a whole lot to draw me in. I also felt like it jumped around a little too much, and skipped over things that I thought would have been really interesting to actually see. I don't know - it just wasn't my favourite.

Characters: The book alternates POVs from Amélie to Connor... to two other people who get one or two chapters each. I liked Amélie and Connor well enough, but their romance happened so fast and they had almost no time to actually have that romance. There was a point where it switched POV (again) and my note about it just saying how I have no attachment to these new characters and don't understand why I should care.

And the POV switching was one of my big problems. Sometimes it highly unnecessary and it's page time that could be spent doing better things than listening to one dude complain about how angry he is, and it does that thing I hate, where it shows a scene, and then twenty pages later recaps that scene, completely ruining the tension. How are we supposed to be shocked by a revelation that we already knew?

PG-13 stuff: It's actually pretty light on sex and swearing and such. TW for mentions of rape/threats of sexual assult (it's more hinted at than anything actually happens). It's also fairly frank about how hard the starvation and stuff is for them, but surrpisingly light on violence and the death is a little glossed over. I don't think this would actually get an R rating if it were a movie.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: I think I got everything in the rest of the review. Didn't like the POV switches, didn't love some of the time hopping, couldn't connect to the characters/plot as well as I would have liked. I also thought it was really freaking weird that Amélie's chapters were in first person, and everyone else's were in third person. I don't get that.

This has several prominent Aboriginal characters, and I'm not entirely sure how the representation is in terms of quality. There were some moments I felt uncomfortable, and I looked for reviews, but I couldn't find anything. I'm not saying anything for absolutely certain, but I have concerns. Send me reviews of you know of them, please!

Cover comments: The cover sold me here. I think it's really pretty.

Conclusion: Other people might like this better than me. I'm picky, this isn't a genre I'm passionate about, and it ran into some of my pet peeves. I'm going to give it to my mom and see if she likes it. This isn't my favourite, but I thought it was an interesting setting, and I did like Amélie. Right now I'm sitting at about a three out of five roses.

Other notes:

- Some of the deaths were weirdly glossed over. It's like

"Two weeks later everyone was dead!"

That's about all I've got for now.

Peace and cookies,

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have comment moderation turned on for comments older than a month to cut back on spam. :) Thanks for commenting!

Also, if you subscribe to comments, I do try to eventually reply to all comments left... even though sometimes it takes me longer than it should.