I’m pleased to be sharing my review for Kathryn Hughes’ latest novel Her Last Promise today. She is the author of three hugely popular earlier novels The Letter, The Key and The Secret and this latest book, already available in ebook formats, will be published in paperback this Thursday.
Her Last Promise is a story told in two different time periods, a format I always enjoy. In the present day, Tara has received a letter from a solicitor saying that someone has been trying to track her down for years. She has been left the key to a safety deposit box and a letter. The contents of both, while being a total shock to her, may help solve the mystery of what happened to her mother, Violet Skye. In the thread of the story told in the past, there are multiple narrators including Violet and Tara. Violet was a beautiful and talented singer and when the opportunity arises to travel abroad, she takes it, hoping to improve life for herself and Tara. However, she never comes back and Tara has never known what happened to her.
Well, who wouldn’t want to be sent a mysterious letter from a lawyer? I was immediately intrigued as to what was in the letter and the safety deposit box, something which isn’t revealed straight away. What was the connection to the family in Spain? Why hadn’t Violet ever come back or made contact again leaving poor Tara all on her own at such a young age? There were so many questions which I was eager to find out the answers to.
While Tara is most definitely a likeable character and I so wanted her to get resolution about what happened to her mother, I have to admit that Violet and Alf were my two favourite characters. Life wasn’t easy for Violet but she always looked out for her daughter and wanted the best for her. She was fiercely protective and determined that Tara would have the best chance in life. With her talent, she could clearly have gone far but all she ever wanted was to provide for her daughter. When I eventually learned more about her life, I admired her even more.
Alf was an absolute sweetheart. He was a shopkeeper who took Violet and Tara in when they were in desperate need. It proved to be a mutually beneficial arrangement as Alf was quite a lonely person. He had a daughter but she never seemed to pay him much attention and he was always making excuses for her. She certainly came across as rather heartless at the various points of the book where she featured.
If I have one quibble with this book it is that I would actually have liked it to be a bit longer. I felt that it ended just a bit too soon for me, that I would like to have known more about what happened next for all the characters. Who got their happy ending, who got their comeuppance? Personally I would have liked the epilogue to be about Tara than the character featured. I will just need to decide for myself what happened next and perhaps that’s exactly what the author intended!
I found Her Last Promise to be an enjoyable read which was often moving and sometimes surprising. With the secrets and mysteries from the past waiting to be solved, it is an intriguing read throughout.
Thank you to Anna Pallai for sending me a copy of the book and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour. Her Last Promise is available now as an ebook. You can order a Kindle copy here where at the time of writing it is available for only 99p. Or you can order a paperback copy through Hive where every purchase supports your local High Street – Her Last Promise
From the back of the book
Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.
Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…
About the author
Kathryn Hughes was born in Altrincham, near Manchester. After completing a secretarial course, Kathryn met her husband and they married in Canada. For twenty-nine years they ran a business together, raised two children and travelled when they could to places such as India, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. Kathryn and her family now make their home in a village near Manchester. Her first novel, The Letter, was a Kindle Number One bestseller.