Promise Me Something, by Cathy Gohlke, is a historical fiction set at the time of the sinking of the Titanic and World War 1. With the passing of their parents, Owen and Annie Allen are on their own. Annie is living with her spinster aunt. Owen comes to get Annie away from their aunt and take her to Southampton, England to go to school. Their father was a gardener and Owen is now working as a gardener and has plans to go to America. Their aunt and uncle have a nursery in America. Owen has saved seeds and clipping of plants that he plans to take to America.
While working in England, Owen meets a young boy, Michael, who is also an orphan and living with a mean relative. Owen befriends the young boy. Michael decides to stow away on the Titanic. When Owen finds out Michael is a stow away on the ship, he shares his bed and meal ticket with him. Owen teaches Michael about gardening, seeds and plants. One day they find out Owen roommate has search his things. Owen sews the seeds and plants into his jacket. When the Titanic is sinking, Owen is not allowed on a life boat as they are for women and children only. He forces Michael to take his jacket and get on a life boat. He tells Michael to go to his Aunt and Uncle’s and to focus on bringing Annie to America.
The money for Annie’s time at Southampton runs out and Annie is forced to go back to her spinster aunt. When the aunt takes ill, the family solicitor, Mr. Sprague, tells Annie about the family history and the circumstances around her aunt’s health. Mr Sprague cautions Annie to not take on the bitter, spiteful character of her aunt. Annie goes to live with the Sprague’s until she is called back to her aunt’s home. Her aunt has threatened her and her friends if she does not move back. At this time, the war is going on and Anne disappears. The Spragues and Michael no longer hear from her. Michael takes on a civilian position with the War to try to find Annie.
This is a very awesome book to read. Being set in a very important time in world history, this story takes on some hard topics. We are shown the fear and struggles the families of passengers on the Titanic go through. At a time when communication is not immediate, they are forced to wait. We see the strength Michael has to follow through on a promise to Owen. The work he devotes to Owen’s family and dream as well as the work he goes through to make money to bring Anne to America. We also see how the wealthy have power to control people lives and not always for the better. This story is historical fiction but contains mystery and romance as well. I really enjoyed reading this book and I think anyone who enjoys reading about this time in history will also enjoy it.
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishing
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