by Valerie Holmes
Published on July 14, 2016 by Endeavour Press
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
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London barrister and gentleman, Jerome Fender, has just returned to England after five years as a Captain in the killing fields of the Napoleonic Wars.
With the harrowing scenes of battle still haunting his every thought, he sets out to start a new life and to find a wife who will share it with him.
Meanwhile recently orphaned 21-year-old Miss Parthena Munro has also arrived at a North Yorkshire market town.
She has been sent away by her scheming sole relative, cousin Bertram, to be governess to a local family, only to find that the family has already moved away from the area.
Left stranded far from home with no job and no place to stay, Parthena encounters Mr Fender outside an inn, where she takes a chance to steal his money in a witless moment of desperation.
She whispers a promise to return the money one day and makes off across the wild Yorkshire moors.
But it’s not long before Fender catches up with her.
However, on learning of her plight they set out on a plan to seek justice against the wrongs plotted by Bertram.
With Jerome’s help, Parthena returns to her home to the great surprise of Bertram, who, thinking that Parthena, the rightful heir to the estate, was now out of the way, was about to clear his debts by selling the family estate.
Jerome endeavours to hatch a new plan to thwart Bertram, but Parthena’s rightful inheritance can only fall to her if she marries within the month.
Parthena and Jerome discover the flame of love has been kindled between them, but is it already too late?
Set during 19th century England, Parthena’s Promise leads the reader on a spirited journey to consider if justice and true love are possible in a society on the turning point of change.
This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’m not much of a beach-goer but if I were to go and take a book, this one would be ideal. Parthena’s Promise is the perfect example of short and sweet. A historical romance set in the early 1800’s, Holmes introduces us to Miss Parthena Munro and Mr. Jerome Fender. The lady has had her troubles and in a surge of desperation, brings Mr. Fender into them with her.
This book was exceedingly shorter than I expected. With no page count listed on Goodreads and reading on a Kindle, I found myself finished within an hour. After some searching I was able to get a number and realized the book didn’t even reach 100 pages. A novella, if you will. I mention all this because I went in expecting a long book. Something that would draw the story out over, say, 300 pages roughly. So it came as a bit of a surprise when everything just…ended.
I didn’t find many flaws with this book in terms of glaring content. The writing is solid, as are the characters, and while the book isn’t anything special in terms of a romance, it wasn’t bad either. Just…lacking.
First and foremost, it’s short. Too short. The story builds and builds to this point of justice and vengeance for Thena but when the time comes, everything ends and you’re expected to just believe that it all worked out. I wanted to see her get what she was due, and the same to her cousin. I wanted to watch her and Jerome become more than just friends because this is a romance. The cover even says that.
Romances generally have a few things: at least one character is rich/noble (check), they have chemistry from the start (Jerome knew it from the very beginning), some wrongdoing left one of them in need of help (yep, got that), and then there’s all that chemistry in action (hmm, no I think that part was missing).
So you give me a romance that ends well before it feels like it should (like is there a part 2 to this?) and you leave out essentially all physical contact. I think he kissed her forehead once? Really? That’s it? I know romances don’t have to have that stuff but, to be honest, I read them for the whole package and this just didn’t have it.
Now despite all this and my irritation with the book’s length and need for other content, it wasn’t a bad read. The writing is solid and I only caught a couple of errors. The characters worked fairly well, though missing in dimension which I chock up to the book length. Thena is desperate but also has a line she won’t cross, admirable considering her options. She does what she has to do to survive in at least a close resemblance to how she was raised. Jerome had this whole almost-too-good-to-be-true streak that made him the perfect hero for Thena. His romantic side was a little weird at the beginning, all the talk of wanting a wife, but it drops off when the story picks up. Which, for a plot, was good until the ending where I felt cheated. I was waiting for another chapter to magically appear and continue because these romances all have similar plots and this one followed suit, but needed to continue.
If you’re looking for a sexy novel, as my friend likes to put it, this isn’t it. But I would say it’s perfect for a lunchtime read or a break between your other books as it’s a standalone that you’ll breeze through. A decent read for all of 74 pages.