Friday, July 9, 2021

Forbidden Promise by Lorna Cook - a downed airman in Scotland leads to a family rupture

Title: Forbidden Promise
Author: Lorna Cook
Publication: Avon UK, paperback, 2020
Genre: Dual time line fiction
Setting: WWII and present-day Scotland
Description: Constance McLay is a sheltered 21-year-old when she escapes a groping guest at her birthday party and takes refuge at the loch behind her family’s lovely home, Invermoray House. Improbably, she is the only person who witnesses a small plane crash, and swims out in her silk dress to rescue the pilot, whom she hides in an estate cottage. This decision will have ramifications for generations.

In 2020, Kate, escaping from a bad work situation, takes a short-term job helping to turn Invermoray into an exclusive B&B to save it from being sold. In addition to being attracted to the dour owner, she becomes intrigued with the previous inhabitants, Constance and her RAF brother Douglas. . .

My Impression: I would not have known about this book if there hadn’t been a description of it in The English Wife, which I read in February. Naturally, the combination of a heroine with my name, a dual timeline setting, and a backdrop of WWII intrigued me.
Sometimes it’s not the biggest lies, but the little white ones that bring about the most change. Although Constance couldn’t possibly have known that by pretending she had a migraine in order to escape the house, there would be such lasting consequences . . .

Dangling her feet in the cool water, Constance looked back through the darkness to where she could just about make out the outline of the baronial mansion. Inside were fifty or so of her mother and father’s closest friends, and barely any of her own, still celebrating Constance’s birthday with little regard for her absence and even less for the war outside Invermoray House.
This is a little misleading as it was already midnight when Constance escaped the dance and there is no sign of a baron. Constance’s rescue of a pilot who has crashed in the loch and subsequent decision to hide him makes a good story, if improbable. This isn’t rural France - didn’t every community in Britain have watchers scanning the skies for aircraft? The contemporary part of the story is about the family that inherited Invermoray when Constance did not and Kate, the public relations professional, who comes to do marketing for the proposed B&B, naturally falling for the curmudgeonly heir. We’ve read that story before but it is always fun to witness a crumbling estate being turned into a property that will allow its owners to make a living.
What was Constance’s Forbidden Promise? She promised Matthew, the pilot she rescued, not to tell anyone she had found him. Overall, while not in the category of genre experts, Susanna Kearsley or Kate Morton, this was an enjoyable read.

Forbidden Promise is my fourteenth book in the 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader.  

Purchase Links: Amazon * * Book Depository

Source: Interlibrary Loan


Lark said...

Glad it was still enjoyable despite it's flaws.

Dixie Lee said...

Must every historical novel now have a dual timeline? Has some one of the powers that be decided that readers won't read 'straight-through' plots based in the past? I'm tired of these dual or even triple tangles.

Emily G. said...

I like dual timelines, but must every cover of a historical novel, especially those set in wartime, show a woman walking with her back to the reader, or a woman holding a child's hand and the two of them walking with their backs to the reader?