Book Review: The Forbidden Promise by Lorna Cook

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I started reading this book while locked down at home, desperate to live vicariously through the pages of a book, traveling through time and countries. The Forbidden Promise was exactly what I needed and then some, and I'm so happy I decided to read it when I did. It was so engaging, flipping back and forth from present day to 1940, in the midst of WWII. What is it about that time period that draws us? Is it the sadness of war that you don't want to witness but can't look away from? Is it the certainty of lost love as soldiers say goodbye to those they hold most dear? I think for me it is the lessons to be learned and the reminder that humanity exists even in the darkest of times. 2020 Kate is desperate for a new job. Having left her last position with what felt like a scarlet letter on her coat pocket, innocent though she may be, she needed a fresh start somewhere else. Arriving at Invermoray House in the middle of nowhere Scotland, things don't start out quite as planned. The place is eyeballs deep in debt, and Kate doesn't know where to begin with fixing it up for visitors in time to avoid selling. And then there's the owner's son, gruff on a good day and downright rude on his worst, they don't mix well. It's a place of renewal for her, but for James, it's his home. 1940 Constance McLay just wants to be useful, but her mother says ladies don't work, even during a war. During her birthday celebration, Constance escapes to the loch in time to see a small plane crash into her loch. She saves the pilot, discovering that he is a RAF officer and in desperate need of hiding. He has no intention of rejoining the war, and Constance finds herself reluctant to see him go. As they grow closer, the situation becomes more dangerous, because their love is certain to be doomed. Not only is Constance worried she may not see him again, but the pilot isn't all he seems to be. I absolutely loved how Lorna Cook wrote this story. It was so cleanly written, even with the frequent switch between years. It was easy to follow, and I found myself eager for both stories. Oftentimes I find myself drawn to one or the other, so I skim one time period. However, I was thoroughly engaged in both, and I wanted a happy ending for all involved. There were so many emotions that came up inside me - happiness, disappointment, love, pain. It's like you're reading about someone who is sitting right next to you. You feel connected. Kate and James were a great couples, almost an enemies to lovers story. I loved their relationship development, because it felt so real and didn't move too fast. Constance and Matthew were almost instantly connected, a bond forged from a traumatic event but as strong as if they had loved each other for years. It was magical but also one I knew was going to come crashing down at some point. It was both inspiring and heartbreaking. This was my first book by this author, but it certainly won't be my last! I loved every page. **I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**