Sunday, March 29, 2009

31. The Last Promise by Richard Paul Evans

I have had three books by Richard Paul Evans sitting on my shelves for ages. Avoided them like the plague and couldn't remember why I had bought them. The fact is that I don't care for romances very much and I remember Evans' bestseller, The Christmas Box, as being a little too sweet for my taste. However, a few weeks ago, the author visited Vernal and spoke at an LDS women's conference; and I was absolutely charmed. He is a fantastic speaker, both humorous and motivational. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, don't miss it. I was motivated to read those books sitting on the shelf and picked this one first.

Richard is sitting by a pool in Italy and strikes up a conversation with the beautiful woman sitting next to her. (I assume that Richard is the actual author but I believe the story is pure fiction as I will point out shortly.) He remarks that he is from Utah and she laughs because she is from Vernal, Utah. He says, "Vernal is a small town in the eastern desert of Utah: a stop on the way to someplace else. Even in Utah I had never met anyone from Vernal." Okay, I was a little offended. Yes, I live in the eastern desert of Utah, but Vernal is not that small. But it's when he talks about Eliana's graduating class of 36 that I was miffed. My son's graduating class had 500. You'd think that a writer would check out a place that is only a three hour drive from where he lives before writing about it. Or at least get on the internet and find out it's not just a tiny cow town on the edge of nowhere. It just doesn't make sense to get something so easy wrong. There are a couple of towns near here that might be that small. Why not use one of them? Sorry, that kind of error bothers me. If I had known, I would have read one of his other books first.

Back to the book, Eliana's shares her love story with Richard and that is the basis for the rest of the novel. She is unhappily married to an Italian count who is unfaithful and insensitive. Painting and caring for her young asthmatic son fill her hours. When she meets Ross, all that changes and they quickly fall in love. Naturally there is conflict and turmoil; but, like most romances, it ends happily. I admit that I am not a fan of romances because they are too sweet and implausible. And this book is both. However, there was no sex (Thank you, Mr. Evans) and the conflicts were believable and added a lot to the story. The ending was just too pat. I did enjoy the descriptions of the Tuscany countryside and Florence, adding one more to my list of places to visit. And I was interested in his descriptions of Alessio's asthma attacks since my grandson was just diagnosed with mild asthma. For a romance, this book was pretty good. I liked the characters except the husband who was such an obvious cad. I will probably read those other two Evans books but I need a good dose of something salty first.

Here's a couple of Italian proverbs that I really liked from the book:

"Love is blind. Marriage restores one's vision."

"The sound of a kiss is not as strong as that of a cannon, but its echo endures much longer."

Rating: 3


  1. I have not read this one, but generally enjoy Richard Evans books. I enjoyed his 2008 holiday story: Grace a lot.

  2. Great quotes! Laughed out loud about the marriage one - so funny and so true!

  3. I did not care for the Christmas box either. I didnt get the big deal made over it. And I thought I havent read anything by him since. But after reading your review I remember that I did read and LIKE this one. Is this his latest booK?