Promise Me Texas
Have you ever sat down to read a book and just not clicked with it? There’s nothing clearly wrong with the story—no major plot holes or overly annoying characters. All the same, you find yourself unable to really enjoy reading it. My latest experience with this feeling occurred when I opened up Promise Me Texas.
Beth McMurray is a golden girl who thinks she’s got her whole life planned out to perfection. She’s the youngest of the Texas McMurrays, and after living most of her life on a ranch, she’s now off to Dallas to marry the man of her dreams. It isn’t until she’s sitting in a train on her way to her wedding to Senator Lamont LaCroix that Beth realizes she’s made a mistake. By pure chance she’s found herself seated in the same car as the senator, and thus has the opportunity to hear him bragging to some other passengers about the rich heiress he’s bagged.
As you can imagine, Beth was not at all thrilled to hear the senator going on about her in such a way. Miserable and a little embarrassed that she was so foolish as to fancy herself in love with Lamont, Beth heads to the back of the train to sit with her horse for a while. Thus, when the train robbers arrive and the train crashes off its tracks, she’s nowhere near the passenger cars where she ought to be. Instead she’s near the back being saved by the one robber with a sharp enough eye to notice her.
Andrew McLaughlin is…I don’t even know. He’s not really a robber—this was his first job as one, and he only signed up for it because one of his friends did. He doesn’t even have a gun. He’s not a banker or a lawyer or any of the other things he went to school for. My understanding of his background is incomplete, to say the least. However, I do know he was once married, and that after his wife Hannah died he decided never to fall in love again. He just couldn’t. It would hurt too much.
So now here he is, saving some random girl on a train which he was kind of robbing. Both of them are tossed away from the train when it crashes, but Andrew is wounded. When he regains consciousness, he discovers that Beth has claimed the two of them are married, both in order to save him from being thought a robber, and to help her avoid Lamont.
After this, however, things slow down a little. Beth and Andrew head to Dallas so that Andrew can be seen in a hospital. By the time he’s back on his feet, they’ve gathered a little family of misfits, all of whom go with them to Fort Worth to take care of some business.
I wanted to like Beth and Andrew. They’re nice people, if a little odd. Beth doesn’t really seem spoiled, although she claims to be multiple times. What struck me about her was how, having grown up on a ranch, she had a sort of contempt for a city dweller like Andrew. She didn’t approve of the way he dressed, and definitely thought less of him for not carrying a gun at all times.
Andrew, in turn, is a sort of odd duck who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. He keeps a journal, in which he records the stories of anyone and everyone he happens to meet in life. I’m not sure whether to call him a writer or a record keeper, but either way the fact remains that Andrew made a conscious decision to let life pass him by. It’s not until the last little bit of the book that he decides it might be okay to love someone.
At the end of the day, however, these small complaints do not add up to anything important enough to give Promise Me Texas a bad grade. This book was not for me, it’s true, but that doesn’t mean no one else will enjoy it. I just didn’t click with Beth and Andrew. Perhaps someone else out there will.