The Promise by Sally Jenkins

  • 41Y1bcHIK4LPaperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd (28 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912083981
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912083985
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 1.7 x 13.9 cm





A man has been stabbed. A woman is bloodstained. The nightmares from her teenage years have begun again for Olivia Field just as she is preparing to marry. Ex-convict, Tina is terminally ill. Before she dies, the care of her younger, psychologically unwell brother, Wayne must be ensured.


So Tina calls in a promise made to her thirty years ago in a prison cell. A promise that was written down and placed with crucial evidence illustrating a miscarriage of justice in a murder case. Tina believes Olivia is perfectly placed to provide the care Wayne needs, but to do so, Olivia must be forced to cancel her own wedding and wreck the lives of those close to her. Tina’s terrible blackmail demands put Olivia’s entire future and, ultimately, her freedom under threat. The Promise is a fast-paced psychological thriller told from several third person viewpoints.


The novel explores the lengths to which people are prepared go in order to protect those they love and the impossibility of ever fully escaping our past actions.



The Promise is a thriller based on the pretext of how far you would go to make someone honour a promise made years previously to someone now dead.  In fact in this novel there are two promises at the centre of the plot.  The first promise is one made to Tina, by her ex cell mate in prison Audrey, an offer of help on the outside if she should need it, albeit this promise was made about thirty years ago.  The second promise also involves Tina, a promise she made to her mum on her death bed to look after her younger brother Wayne, who has mental health problems and is vulnerable and easily influenced by others.  When Tina finds out she has terminal cancer she decides that to keep the promise to her mother she needs to call in the favour from Audrey.

Tina is a really unlikeable character;  She obviously cares for her brother and has his best interests at heart but the way she proceeds, blackmail, threats and violence is certainly the wrong way to approach the situation.  The rest of the characters, a fairly small group, are all very much interlinked together.  Simon is the son of her ex cell mate Audrey, and his ex wife Olivia are the two people mentioned in the letter from Audrey, to whom Tina should go to for help.  Both Olivia and Simon were at the scene of the murder for which Audrey was arrested and charged, and Tina has a piece of evidence that she can use to blackmail Olivia to get what she wants.  Joanne is Olivia’s best friend and girlfriend of Simon, and Mark is Olivia’s fiancé.  The final characters are Suzanne, Mark’s daughter from his first wife but very close to Olivia and Wayne, Tina’s brother.  The characters interact well together and all want to protect their families  but their friendship is tested by secrets and lies, and boundaries are crossed where there is no way back.

The Promise is a well written novel, nice short chapters to keep your attention and the plot moves quickly along with the past actions of Simon and Olivia being slowly revealed through the book. The   The Promise is a short read at just over two hundred pages so there is not a lot of room for a complex plot, or in depth characters.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, sometimes it is nice to be able to sit and read a full story in one sitting, and this is one of those books.  I was drawn in by the story line and characters and its thrilling conclusion; a brilliant, pacy thriller with an interesting plot line.













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Hi, I am an avid reader and have been all my life. I put it down to being an only child and having a teacher for a mum. The idea of this blog is to share my passion for reading and review new and upcoming books as well as those that may have been out for several years. I also review on Twitter @Bookliterat

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