Book Review: The Promise by Michelle Vernal

the promise michelle vernal book review


The synopsis on the back of the book:

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry. 

Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits, and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight. 

In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother; Ted brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.  

When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?

  • Genre: Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages: 309
  • Published: 7/2018
the promise michelle vernal
At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.
— Steve Maraboli

Why I Chose This Book: 

When I got an email to review this book I was excited to read it. It just sounded like a good heartwarming story to read over the weekend. 

First Initial Thoughts

Isabelle is a young woman who is traveling the countryside of New Zealand when she comes upon a car accident. There she finds an elderly woman named Ginny. Ginny, unfortunately, dies in front of Isabelle and that even forever, I think changed her life. Ginny asks Isabelle to find Constance and tell her "I'm Sorry". Isabelle promises this dying wish Ginny asks. Friend's advise her to just let it go but she feels that she is obligated to help Ginny. I related to Isabelle. She was very much an introvert and beat to her own drum. Her mother I adored. She was a little obsessed with the royals and even had a pet corgi. I have to admit that I also love the royals and follow them. ^_^

Constance doesn't appear till later in the novel when Isabelle finds her. There she finds the real truth Ginny was holding back at her deathbed. 


This book made me miss the beautiful scenery of the U.K. This also made me want to go visit New Zealand. It just looks like a gorgeous country! Michelle did her research well and kept everything accurate for both countries. 

Life’s trials will test you, and shape you, but don’t let them change who you are.
— Aaron Lauritsen

Final Thoughts

This book reminded me of life and its regrets. Especially when you reach a certain age and death is knocking at your door. I won't spoil the mystery but let's just say it's not something that anyone could really let go - like any life's regrets. It really put life into perspective and reminded me to live every day like tomorrow will never come (sounds like something from Tim McGraw ^_^). We shouldn't live with despair and regret. We should be free from these things in life. 

This book also touched on the subject of adoption and how it can divides families. I have never personally known anyone who has been adopted so I am not familiar with that aspect of life. All I know is from personal accounts that people who are adopted often feel something is missing or doesn't quite feel like they fit in with the family. It also touches on the struggle and courage to find your real family. However, I always admire families that have the courage to adopt another child that another could not take care of. 

Would I Recommend? 

Despite this being a non-christian contemporary fiction book, it was a very clean read. I think anyone would enjoy this uplifting and inspirational book! 

About the Author:

michelle vernal

Michelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth. 

Social Media Links –


Purchase Links:

Amazon UK




I hope you enjoyed the review and had a wonderful weekend. Until next time!  

the caffeinated bibliophile