Title: A Promise Engraved
Author: Liz Tolsma
Series: Doors to the Past
Major Themes: Texas, Alamo, Mexico, Social Workers
Synopsis: Two women, living 200 years apart, both love a particular ring—but how are these two women connected?
I have come to really enjoy Liz Tolsma’s books of historical fiction. She is an excellent author, and has a way of bringing history to life and creating believable characters. A promise engraved is a wonderful dual-timeline story about the Alamo and the tragedy that occurred there. While I don’t agree with the attitudes of all the characters involved, I did appreciate the story as a way to make a time of history come to life, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the personal stories of both the modern and the historic characters.
Josie lives with her father and stepmother in a small town in Texas. She had endured a horrific year of enslavement by a Mexican man after her mother was killed, and carried a secret she refuse to tell anyone. Now, she secretly admires the Protestant pastor in her town, who must work covertly so that the Mexican authorities don’t have more reason to chase out the American settlers—but she knows she is not worthy of his attention. She cares for her stepmother and helps the men of the town by spying on the Mexicans.
Two hundred years later, Kayleigh bought a ring from a market vendor. Could this ring hold the answers to her questions about why her parents both died as they illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States? She searched for answers while helping children who were detained after crossing the border and being separated from their parents, themselves, and trying to figure out why someone was terrorizing her. Could she find the answers she needed in time? And would finding those answers really make her happy?
I really appreciated the reminders that John gave Josie that “true joy is only found in the Lord,” and, “Give everything over to God….He will heal and restore and bring you everlasting peace that surpasses all understanding.” I loved the way John helped Josie to feel her worth as one of God’s children, and the way Brandon helped Kayleigh learn to trust. What I did not like about the book was the assumption, which I find frequently in Christian fiction, that it is all right for Christians to go to war and fight. Jesus said that His people are not to kill, nor even to hate, and we are to love our enemies. I understand why the Americans would think it was all right to kill the Mexicans—but does that really make it right?
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: Throughout the book, reference is made to a girl being kidnapped and used as a s*x slave, and an ex-boyfriend stalking another girl. Chapter 22: have a devil of a time. Several times, Josie lies, and she also fights off an attacker. In chapters 34, 36, and 39, and on the last page are detailed descriptions of kisses.