Friday, July 29, 2022

Book Review: THE PROMISE

Title: The Promise

Author: Emily Shiner
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Pages: 251
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐


Wealthy lawyer Scott Anders is so devoted to his wife, Erin, that he keeps tabs on her. He has rigged the house with hidden cameras and taps her phone, all in an attempt to keep her safe. He persuades Erin to donate a kidney to a single mother, Kathleen, who needs it.

While Erin agrees to do so, what she doesn’t know is that she is the one who needs a kidney and that Scott has paid a huge amount of money to unscrupulous Dr Thomas, who has lined up Kathleen’s twin as a possible kidney donor for her.

What Scott doesn’t know is that Kathleen has some devious plans up her sleeve and they aren’t in favour of Erin.


The book is written in the first person present tense PoV of Scott, Erin and Kathleen. The prose is tepid. It seems as if the narrative voice almost addresses us as readers, and that takes us out of the story.

I particularly hate it when characters get a thought that makes me shiver but push it away, unwilling to give it any more of my time and energy just to push the plot forward.

Much of the writing, in all three PoVs, is repetitive, belabouring a point long after it has been made. Over and over, we are told that Erin is good and kind. The over-explanation is extremely tedious.

The same thoughts are expressed in different ways in chapter after chapter, with very little changing in the real world. Words, phrases, plot, everything is repeated. The overall effect is that of an under-developed plot stretched thin.

None of the characters are likeable. Erin is stupid and doesn’t question anything. She comes across as holier-than-thou, babbling on and on about her desire to save Kathleen’s life, and I just couldn’t figure out what she did all day. Also, she’s just a decade older than Kathleen, yet she thinks of the latter as a daughter.

Scott spies on his wife and brags that even if his wife were to pick her nose, he’d know. He is just too controlling, and constantly repeats that he just loves her so much. Sorry, but that’s obsession, not love.

Kathleen is horrible but she doesn’t make a mark. She has the potential to be a very menacing character, but the endless repetition ends up undoing whatever effect the author strives for. Her motivations are the most ridiculous.


There are some inconsistencies and omissions. In Chapter 7, Scott tells us that Erin can’t cook, that if she made scrambled eggs, they would taste like rubber. In the same chapter, he lets on that during their courtship, she used to make hot meals for him.

Erin calls Kathleen, saying that her husband told her that she needed a kidney and that she, Erin, was willing to donate hers. In her own PoV, Kathleen keeps thanking Dr Thomas for finding Erin, when it is Erin who has sought her out.


Each of the three main characters think they are outsmarting the others, but they are only fooling themselves. In truth, there were no secrets at all. Each character insists on repeating their motivations and intentions over and over again. The chapters end on what is intended to be a mysterious note, but the effort falls short of the mark.

Some things remain unclear. How could Erin not know that she suffers from kidney failure? And why on earth does Scott want to hide it from her?

In Kathleen’s mother’s obit, which we learn that Erin put together, it is mentioned that Francine, mother of Kathleen, had heart disease and Alport Syndrome, the disease that Kathleen suffers from. Why was this fact not mentioned before? The character only harped on about her weak heart.

Also, Alport Syndrome is a genetic disease. Yet Kathleen keeps insisting that it is only a matter of time before her daughter gets it, never once mentioning the fact that her mother has it too and that it is an inherited condition.

The big reveal about the non-existent twin is pathetic.

The Prologue does a poor job of foreshadowing. The resolution is weak and the twist in the Epilogue unimpactful.

(I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...