More Than A Promise – Ruth Logan Herne – Franciscan Media – Published 18 March 2016
Widower Matt Wilmot is an excavator by trade, but with his three rambunctious young sons making trouble all over town, he may not have what it takes to dig them out on his own. The boys’ antics have earned them a riotous reputation in their small town of Cedar Mills. When Matt’s former mother-in-law, a powerful lawyer and judge, threatens to sue for custody, Matt’s sure she means it.
Enter Matt’s new neighbor, Elle Drake. She’s made a successful career for herself as an artist and potter, but after a disastrously public break-up with her millionaire ex-husband, she’s back in Cedar Mills to lick her wounds and set her roughed-up self-image to rights.
After Matt’s oldest son causes damage in Elle’s yard, her common-sense approach forces the boy to take responsibility for his actions—and gives Matt the wake-up call he desperately needs. Initially adversarial, attraction grows between Matt and Elle as they get to know one another. Matt appreciates Elle’s effect on his sons, and when he gets cornered into having a Sunday breakfast with Elle and the boys, he has fun for the first time in…well, he can’t remember when.
Everything changes when Elle hears the boys’ grandmother berating Matt in public and threatening to take the boys. She defuses the situation by pretending to be Matt’s fiancée and the boys’ future stepmother. When Matt decides it’s a brilliant plan and kisses her to seal the deal, Elle knows he’s crazy. But he’s also sweet, funny, engaging, sexy and strong, which isn’t exactly a bad thing!
More Than A Promise is a delightful story of family, love and second chances. This is the first book I have read by Ruth and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely. It certainly won’t be the last book of hers which I read, and I can highly recommend it.
Elle is a strong woman. Despite having her heart broken and being vulnerable about her differences which are often looked down upon by others (her ex-husband running off with a supermodel didn’t help her self-esteem all that much either) she still has no problem speaking her mind or standing up for herself. Which is exactly what Matt Wilmot needs to help straighten out his life. Matt lost his wife a few years ago and desperately needs help parenting his three young boys. When Elle and Matt’s worlds collide they come to an agreement of convenience. Matt has a fair bit to learn regarding looking after his family, balancing work with his children and valuing Elle as more than just a glorified nanny. He is still rather charming though, so that helps his case and he isn’t above apologising for his numerous mistakes.
It’s wonderful to watch Matt court Elle. I loved the sparks that flew between them, at first frustration and then attraction which slowly develops into love. Theirs is a wonderful romance, with strong chemistry mixed with the harsh reality of daily life, struggles and fears. They have plenty to work out between them, but do so with kindness and love (and a bit of kissing, not gonna lie about liking those bits).
The book is full of great characters, especially the three rambunctious Wilmot boys. Todd, Randy and Amos leap off the page with their personalities and escapades. And the no-nonsense, loving way in which Elle treats them is a joy to read.
As always with great Christian fiction, faith underpins the whole story. In this case, Matt is struggling with the loss of his first wife and contending with raising his boys. He doesn’t want to believe in God and certainly not any of His plans. Elle and a few of the other characters are Christians (Catholics) and rely on God to direct their lives. I liked how it was their gentle demonstration of their faith that gets to Matt.
Overall, a very charming and heartwarming romance.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Christian Contemporary.
Themes: Marriage. Children. Family. Faith.
Published: 18 March 2016 by Franciscan Media.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 292 pages.