Monday, September 29, 2014

Lisa Norato's "The Promise Keeper" - a seafaring suspense

The Promise Keeper (Sea Heroes of Duxbury)In the first of her thrilling, new series, Sea Heroes of Duxbury, The Promise Keeper is a suspenseful tale set in 1820's Massachusetts.  Iris Moon, the beloved and curious daughter of a retired ship's captain, has be mystified by the keeper of the new lighthouse on the island across the way.  Keeper Jonathan Mayne has been a year at his post, yet she has never met him, nor does anyone save her father know anything about him.  When she finally gives into her curiosity and rows over to meet him, his enigmatic comments lead her to believe they knew each other long ago.  But Johnny isn't the only person from the past to come to Duxbury - a man who knew Iris' mother, who is bent on revenge against the Moon family, has also washed up on shore . . .

Though not based on any particular piece of American history, the story is full of details regarding this little-known period of peace between the War of 1812 and the Civil War.  While it does not speak to the politics of the day, it touches on fashion, architecture, the New England ship industry, the importance of lighthouses on the East Coast and how they worked, and even debtor's prison.  I enjoyed reading about this time and place so far removed from the world in which we live today. 

This novel speaks to something everyone has suffered from at some point - fear.  Coming from an abusive home, Lady Moon, Iris' mother, never lost the fear of her past catching up with her.  After his accident, Johnny understands better what Lady Moon went through - he too is plagued by fears that are far worse than any injuries he has sustained.  Fear robs one of peace and steals one's hope, but as Johnny comes to realize, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.

Maybe I am being influenced by the cover art, but the story has a slightly ethereal feel to it.  More than a love story, it echoes the classical romances of the mid-1800's with its heroism, imagination, and depictions of untameable nature.  There is a much stronger element of suspense than I was expecting, but it makes for a captivating tale. 

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