I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A big thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer!
It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.
Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.
But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol – before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.
Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.
But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?
As someone who reads a whole lot of crime / thriller/ mystery novels, it takes quite a lot to really surprise me or really wow me anymore. While The Promise followed the formula of a good thriller novel; secret buried in the past, turmoil in the present and then a big reveal, and while some elements were predictable, I still really enjoyed reading it.
I tend to really enjoy stories which are set in boarding schools or other places where characters must band together and form close bonds. This is so well done in The Promise , all the uncertainty of being away from home and the strict environment of the Catholic school with the nuns and the girls own troubled home lives enhances the story and brings it all together.
The novel is told from the perspective of Beth, Sally, Carol and Matthew. While the life changing secret the women keep tears Carol away from Beth and Sally, the latter two cling to each other and remain close friends. One of my favourite things about this novel would have to be the depiction of friendship and how strong it can be. Even after so much time and distance, it was quite heartwarming to see a portrayal of friendship which was so vital and central to the plot. It felt believable that these three women would form such an unbreakable bond and the flashbacks to when they were young teens in boarding school were very sweet too.
For fans of a relentless, fast paced thriller this would probably not be the best choice, however if you enjoy a slow burn thriller then definitely pick this one up. There were times when I just wanted to find out what the deep dark secret was and perhaps because of the slow pacing, it felt kind of anti climactic for me when it was finally revealed. There was another element to the reveal though which did catch me off guard however and was indeed shocking.
Once the shocking subject of the titular ‘promise’ is revealed, it’s easy to understand why the characters chose to keep what they did a secret and why it has haunted them for such a long time after. The characters are clearly traumatised after which they go on to be adults dealing with this repressed trauma, all resulting in different coping mechanisms.
Overall, I’m glad to have read this novel and look forward to reading any other of Driscolls novels, if this story was anything to go by, it will definitely be a thrilling journey. Perhaps another of her novels will prove to be more gripping for me and result in a higher rating – either way, an enjoyable read with dark twists and turns.
★★★ – 3 Star rating
Have any of you read The Promise? Or any of Teresa Driscolls other work? Would love to chat in the comments!
Until next time,