Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication date: February 23, 2016
Number of pages: 292
“My Three Sons”… Naughty sons, at that!… meets “Sarah, Plain and Tall” in this delightful marriage of convenience story that shows how amazingly inconvenient love… and life… can be!
Widower Matt Wilmot is in trouble. His boys are causing chaos and wreaking havoc, his former mother-in-law is threatening to sue for custody, his father just had heart surgery and their family company is liable for a huge balloon payment on a loan his father took out to expand the business the previous year. But rain and illness took their toll, and Matt is having a rough time spinning multiple plates in the air.
But when he discovers Elle Drake next door, a woman with a wonderful hand at managing errant boys, cranky relatives, and frustrated men… Matt’s world suddenly tips back into a more normal orbit. And when drastic measures are required, it’s the girl next door who’s there to save the day.
Elle Drake wanted nothing more than to create beautiful pottery and have a family, but when her millionaire husband publicly dumped the renowned artist for another woman, Elle moves back to Cedar Mills to start anew, the spinster artist with her big potting shed. But when her to-die-for good-looking neighbor thinks marriage is a good idea, Elle figures he’s either crazy, desperate or right.
But a marriage of convenience can become its own conundrum, and when life takes sudden turns, can this marriage become all that they bargained for? And maybe more than a promise?
Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate and coffee! A country gal with a heart for the big city, Ruthy likes nothing more than to write the kind of books she loves to read, and she’s even more happy that now she gets paid to do it! She’s been married for a Very Long Time and she and her husband Dave live on a small farm in upstate New York where lake effect snow buries them on a regular basis in winter. But that’s all right… it gives her more time to write!
1. I have friends in the excavating business, and a comment they made once a long time ago, about how some folks figure they’ve got plenty of money, and put off paying them… so that became the reasoning behind the financial difficulties that raised up to trip up the company.
2. Somewhere there are three boys who were the original three little boys who came into church SO RELUCTANTLY about six years ago, and inspired this book… and I hope they’re all well and happy!
3. The Polish aspects of Elle’s family were inspired by a wonderful wedding reception I attended years ago, where the ladies of St. Stanislaus’s Church did a Thanksgiving dinner, pass the plate at each table kind of meal, and it was marvelous! Wonderful turkey and stuffing, puddles of gravy and delicious cranberry sauce and homemade pickles. I love church dinners!
4. And at that same wedding, I made the wedding cake, drove it hours to the reception and a layer CRACKED…. Luckily I had made an extra layer (just in case!) and I took the broken layer out, slipped the extra layer in, frosted, decorated and used real red roses to give a “cascade” effect, and NO ONE KNEW A THING!!!!! Yes!
5. The three boys were actually based on two brothers and a sister I’ve had in daycare/after school care for years… Amos is based on Casey, when she was little, and my readers see Casey on my facebook page, on my blog, and in Yankee Belle Café because she’s my “mother’s helper” now and helps on the farm in the summer. And she’s ALMOST DONE WITH HIGH SCHOOL so you can see that life has moved on since I wrote “More Than a Promise”, LOL!
6. Sarah, Plain and Tall is one of my favorite children’s stories, and I used that premise to write an adult version in “More Than a Promise”. If you’ve never read “Sarah, Plain and Tall”, you should… it’s just a wonderful marriage of convenience story set in the early 1900’s. I love it!
7. I love heroes that work with their hands… and guys with big equipment are as happy as little boys with Tonka Trucks until they break! And then they are GRUMPY. If you’re wondering about farmers, insert “tractor” for “backloader” or “grader” and you get the same result! And don’t talk to these men about weather!!!!! EEEK!
8. I love the church setting in Cedar Mills. The fun of older Catholic churches is how the church may reflect the ethnicity of the immigrants who came here with nothing, but pooled together to explore and expand their right to practice their faith freely. Neighborhoods were often defined by these beautiful churches and the congregations that flocked there weekly and daily.
9. I’m always amazed at how pockets of art can bring mass appeal. I wanted Elle’s work to be that way, based on a Thomas Kincade-type fame. Her longing and love came through her work and appealed to the masses, the “you and me” types. But there’s a downside to some of that because “true artistes” often find fault with commercial art, and abandon their friendships. Is it jealousy? Or disregard?
10. And finally… The spray-painted dog is a real thing. It happened a long time ago, and it wasn’t one of my kids (although it could have been!) and it took a long time for that dog’s fur to grow out. But… it did. Eventually!
(Carrie’s note: I am now laughing! I wondered if that poor dog was based on reality! :-D)
I actually reviewed More Than a Promise a couple of weeks ago but I love it (and Ruthy) so much that I jumped at the chance to spotlight it again during Singing Librarian’s blog tour!
“Life complicates things. Sometimes the grownups are innocent bystanders.”
Before I proceed with my review, I need to get something off my chest.
Well… two somethings.
First – I LOVE RUTH LOGAN HERNE BOOKS!!! Every time I pick one up, I know I’m in for a heartfelt story of love, faith, humor, and grace. No matter the setting, the plot, or the characters, I always have a huge grin on my face from page one to “the end”… even if I might also be brushing away a few tears or shouting helpful advice to the hero or heroine (who inevitably don’t listen to me). (I love Ruth Logan Herne, too. In fact, I chatted with her on the blog in March. Check it out!)
Second… I’M TERRIFIED OF CHICKENS. (see photographic evidence below) Elle has chickens. I almost had to quit reading. Ok, not really… but I totally “eeeeeeped” through those scenes
Whew. Now that I’ve gotten both of those things out in the open, I feel like I can talk freely now about More Than A Promise.
No – wait. I have to say something else. I LOVE THE KIDS IN THIS BOOK!!! Todd (“thoughtful and kind with a little bit of his dad’s protective nature”) , Randy (he could teach some adults a thing or ten about how to be a friend), Amos (oh, be still my heart with his widdle wisp)… even feisty niece Jenny in her brief appearance in the very first chapter.
And along with the kids comes a lot of the humor. Particularly as poor beleaguered Matt tries to wrangle all three boys into church. At the same time. By himself. Needless to say, it does not go well for anyone in the vicinity. It’s a comedy of errors and awkwardness, topped off with Randy’s “Can we come again next week?” I laughed out loud at that. Matt did not. 🙂
But really, who can blame him? His boys are … shall we say … a handful. As Elle so helpfully recites for him, “In the past three weeks, they’ve exploded cherry bombs, stolen my clothesline, painted a stray dog, attempted to hang their little brother playing Wild Wild West, and run amok with a piece of heavy machinery in my yard, successfully taking out both a perennial garden and a sizeable lawn ornament.” Haha! I’m still laughing! Pretty sure Matt still isn’t.
Speaking of Matt, he’s a lot clueless but a lot dreamy too. Elle makes such a great match for him with her practical yet nurturing personality. Neither of them have had an easy journey through life so far, and both have their fair share of battle scars deep inside. Having a front row seat as Ruth Logan Herne weaves their stories together with grace and romance is not to be missed!
Bottom Line: Delightful, warm, and charming, More Than a Promise is more than a love story. Or rather, it’s more than a story about two people falling in love. It’s a story of hope and faith, of humor and family, of blending lives, of second chances, and most of all it’s a story that points to the Author of all love stories and how He’s head over heels for us. You will instantly relate to these characters – whether married or not, single parent or multi-parent, or even just a “cool aunt” like me. Ruth Logan Herne has written another story that wraps you up in a warm quilt, hands you a piece of just-out-of-the-oven apple pie, and sits down with you on the couch to chat a while.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
April 11–cherylbbookblog | A Holland Reads
April 12–Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance | Reading Is My SuperPower
April 13–Buzzing About Books | The Power of Words
April 14–Smiling Book Reviews | Singing Librarian Books
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April 16–Just Commonly | Red Headed Book Lady
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