A novel of love, forgiveness, and the unbreakable bonds of family from award-nominated author Marin Thomas . .
When it comes to family, Ruby Baxter hasn’t had much luck. The important men in her early life abandoned her, and any time a decent boyfriend came along, she ran away. But now Ruby is thirty-one and convinced she is failing her teenage daughter. Mia is the one good thing in her life, and Ruby hopes a move to Kansas will fix what’s broken between them.
But the road to redemption takes a detour. Hank McArthur, the biological father Ruby never knew existed, would like her to claim her inheritance: a dusty oil ranch just outside of Unforgiven, Oklahoma.
As far as first impressions go, the gruff, emotionally distant rancher isn’t what Ruby has hoped for in a father. Yet Hank seems to have a gift for rehabilitating abused horses—and for reaching Mia. And if Ruby wants to entertain the possibility of a relationship with Joe Dawson, the ranch foreman, she must find a way to open her heart to the very first man who left her behind.
I don’t do a blog post every time I read a book. I don’t even do a blog post for every book I review since sometimes I simply review them on Amazon, Goodreads, NetGalley, Christian Books, or wherever. In the the case of this particular book, no blog post was required, but since I read it in a matter of two days front to cover and I managed to fit in an 8-hour day at work, I felt it deserved a post.
A quick shout out to those of you that I know read these book reviews (Gloria G., Ann T., Barb R. and Donna B.) – I wanted to let you know that I liked this book and you probably will too. It was a little sappy in some places, but I was in the mood for sappy myself 🙂
I believe that the author, Marin Thomas, created the plot for The Promise of Forgiveness by taking a little of the expected and mixing it with a little of the unexpected – just enough to keep readers going. I would think to myself, “oh, I could have written this plot” and just as if Ms. Thomas heard me, she would switch things up and I’d made a left turn when I thought I’d be going right, which I really liked. The main characters were well written, they are complex and have “real people” emotions. I felt like I might have lived next door to them sometime in my life.
Sometimes I feel like it is kind of hard to write these book reviews when a book is still resonating in my head swirling around, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.
The main characters are Ruby, a single mom, and her teenage daughter, Mia. Ruby is single by choice, having thrown out her last boyfriend before it could become “real”. She feels betrayed by her parents when she learns that she was adopted by them only after they die in a car accident. She receives a letter from a lawyer looking for her right about the same time Mia gets in some trouble with a boy in school, so it seems like the perfect time to get out of town. They plan to head to Kansas to fix their problems, but Ruby and Mia are going to make a stop in a dusty old town named Unforgiven first.
Ruby meets Hank, her biological father, who is a cranky rancher on a broken down and dusty ranch. Hank is getting older and wants to offer Ruby her an inheritance – the . Hank has many layers and like an onion, as his layers begin to peel, Ruby finds it hard to continue to keep up her guard against him and not give him her forgiveness for putting her up for adoption in the first place. She learns about her mother, Cora, and everything that goes along with Cora being her mother – both good and bad. She learns more about why she felt her adoptive father emotionally abandoned her when she was 16 and what really happened back then.
What started out predictable with the ranch was the fact that there was a ranch hand named Joe. I immediately thought I knew how the story with Joe would go, but I didn’t go that way. Then, I thought I was completely figuring out the whole ending, but I didn’t figure that out either. The “side” characters – the people all around the main characters – were quirky and interesting on their own and really added to the story for me, keeping the plot turns going. I loved the fact that most of the town consisted of men, and when they were gathered together at the local bar they acted worse than any gossiping woman I’ve ever met!
…. and then there’s a whole second story going on with the ranch and this adds some extra suspense and mystery to the plot, which I really enjoyed. Because it is the mystery part of the book, I’m not going to give any spoilers about it.
The book has a conversation guide at the end which was nice to read and reflect upon the book and my own life overall. The Promise of Forgiveness shares a story of this family’s flaws, their pains and their joys, and their true emotions as they journey through the healing and forgiveness of the past. It shows how families can repair and restore what was once broken. As I said above, I would recommend this book as a great read!
Marin Thomas is an award-nominated author of more than twenty-five novels, including the Cash Brothers series. She grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin, and attended college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a BA in Radio and Television. Following graduation, she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historic Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. While her two children were young, Marin coached youth basketball. Now that her son has graduated college and her daughter is in graduate school, Marin writes full-time. She and her husband currently live in Houston, Texas. The Promise of Forgiveness is her first women’s fiction novel. You can catch Ms. Thomas on her Official Website HERE.