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Debbie's Book Bag: 5 out of 5 apples Review: The Promise of Forgiveness

The Promise of Forgiveness by Marin Thomas Publication Date: 03/01/2016 Publisher: Penguin Group Imprint: Berkley NAL Genre: Women's Fiction Pages: 352 ISBN-10: 0451476298 ISBN-13: 978-0451476296 (Received for an honest review from Berkley NAL) Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble,IndieBound, itunes Marin Thomas on the WEB: Website,Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads Excerpt from The Promise of Forgiveness, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature. Synopsis: 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. Thoughts: Marin Thomas enters the Women's Fiction ring with her new novel, The Promise of Forgiveness. Thomas gives readers a story about forgiveness and redemption. This is a book that dives into the intensity of family bonds and the courage it takes to trust those who have hurt you in the past. There is a bit of mystery, a touch of romance and a mother/daughter relationship that will have readers flipping those pages way into the night. A great read from Marin Thomas. What I liked: Thomas has always excelled at setting and drawing the reader into the landscape of the book, whether it's in her previous western romances or her new book. In The Promise of Forgiveness the setting was actually quite important. Unforgiven, Oklahoma is about as descriptive as you can get. This a dusty, dirty town that feels washed up and spit out. It's mostly populated by men, ranch hands, roughnecks and those who just showed up and stayed. I liked the fact that Thomas almost makes this town feel like a character. When Ruby and Mia step off the bus, it's like a breath of sunshine and their influence on this town and those in it is immediate and startling. Ruby is such a great heroine here. She has been through a lot when readers meet her. She was somewhat estranged from her parents, got in some trouble and ended up pregnant as a teenager. Relationships are not her strong point and her daughter seems to be following in her footsteps. They need a fresh start. When Ruby finds out shes adopted and stands to inherit a down trodden ranch an ailing father, it's not quite what she had in mind. A great premise. Readers automatically are drawn to this single mom on a quest for a new beginning. Ruby and Mia's relationship is strained and Ruby seems a little frayed around the edges. Just like Unforgiven. Thomas dives right in and shows readers a relationship between a woman and her father that is both tenuous and hopeful. Ruby blames Hank for abandoning her and it's spilled over into other trust issues. She runs away from every relationship that could hurt her. It was amazing to see the way her walls begin to crumble when she sees Hank become the grandfather that Mia needs in her life. This book is about forgiveness and letting go of the past and it's also about redemption and doing the things you need to, to move on. I thought Thomas gave readers some very complex characters with deep seated issues. All of them work together and grow so much throughout this one. Women's fiction and romance walk a fine line sometimes. The author has to really make an effort to make the story about the journey and not just about a love interest. I thought I might have issues with that here but it was not as pronounced as I thought it would be. Marin Thomas has previously written several western romances which were delightful reads, but focused on the romantic aspects more so than anything else. The Promise of Forgiveness does have romance. The ranch foreman, Joe, has issues of his own to sort out and his relationship with Ruby is important to the story but not the main focus. Bottom Line: This is a great book. Marin Thomas gives readers a wonderful premise, forgiveness and takes them on a journey they will not soon forget. The characters are intense and emotional. They are complex and intuitive. I loved watching them grow and change. You've got some romance here, a bit of mystery, a great setting and some familial bonds that become stronger with each chapter. The Promise of Forgiveness is available NOW from your favorite bookseller. I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

You can find Debbie's original blog post here!

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