Desert Isle Keeper
When I started The Promise, Donna Boyd’s sequel to her Desert Isle Keeper The Passion, I figured I was in for another exceptional read. I am very happy to report that I was not disappointed! This review is likely to turn into a gushing rave because it’s been so long since I’ve read two consistently remarkable books in a row.
Unlike The Passion which (after the first chapter) began on a lighter note, The Promise immediately thrusts the reader into a dark, dangerous and emotionally gripping experience. This is a meaty book that spans centuries as it bounces back and forth between modern times and the past. If you have not read The Passion, these transitions may be bumpy, so I suggest picking up the just released paperback and reading them back to back.
Werewolf Alexander Devoncroix and his wife Elise have spent centuries creating harmony between werewolves and humans. All of their hard work is about to come to an abrupt end when their son Nicholas, the new pack leader, acts on emotion and signs into law a development that will put an abrupt and final end to the peace between the two races. Alexander begs Nicholas to read a family diary about their history with humans before he makes a rash decision, but Nicholas refuses and heads to Alaska to address the pack members about his momentous decision.
Hannah Braselton North has isolated herself in the wilds of Alaska and spends her time observing a family of wolves. Since the death of her loving husband Tom she has lost the will to live. When she spots a helicopter going down nearby she investigates and finds, to her horror, the broken bodies of several wolves. She takes the lone survivor home where she hopes to heal him. While searching the wreckage she also finds the battered briefcase containing the unread diary and begins to read it aloud to the wolf.
It is here that the story takes its first shift back into the past and we enter the world of two young werewolves: Matise Devoncroix and his beloved sister Brianna. The bulk of the novel is theirs, and their story seamlessly ties the past into the future. Inseparable since Matise’s birth, the siblings experience everything together until a heartbreaking misfortune begins to slowly tear them apart. Theirs is a tale of forbidden love that is emotionally draining and so compelling that it lingered with me whenever I had to put the book down. To say any more about the plot will ruin the book’s surprises for you, but things are not what they initially appear to be.
Donna Boyd further develops her unique brand of werewolf lore and creates a primal, sensual world that will simply takes your breath away. And, best of all, she peoples her world with wounded, sympathetic, and carefully drawn characters. You won’t find any boring, predictable characters here. No one is too good to be true or to bad to be believed. Her characters can be cruel and selfish and yet they can be selflessly giving and capable of unconditional love.
Do be warned, because like The Passion, The Promise can be a painful reading experience. I must admit that as much as I adored the book I did miss the flashes of humor that were such a big part of the early pages of The Passion. A little touch of wit here and there would have lightened up the tone of the book, which is sometimes overwhelmingly morose. And it’s probably not a good idea to become too attached to any one character because the author has a tendency to remove them from the land of the living, if you get my drift! However, it is tough not to get attached because she creates such fine people.
So, is it romantic, you’re probably wondering? Oh my, is it ever. Love and devotion are the foundation of the story and there are many sigh-worthy moments like this one:
“It was enough to simply look at her. I think I could spend my life simply looking at her.”
And although the ending is bittersweet in my estimation, I was not left dissatisfied.
It’s not often that a book comes along that thoroughly takes me away from everything and it’s even rarer for me to find a sequel that lives up to its promise. Donna Boyd succeeds on both counts and you can bet I’ll be waiting anxiously to hand over my cash for the next hardcover. I haven’t been this excited over a series of books since I began reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner novels.