Book Review: Promises Unbroken by Kristina Hall // 2 Stars

Buckle up, because this is probably the longest book review I’ve ever written.

I didn’t like this as much as I’d hoped.

The reason I got it in the first place was the missing sister angle, but that quickly fell flat when the mystery was solved in the second chapter. After that, I just plodded along. Other things bugged me too, like the overuse of ellipses (speaking as someone who tends to overuse them, haha), the constant repeating of the guns being .45s, hardly any-to-no subtext, and the overabundance of telling. This is probably why I struggled with the description (speaking as someone whose weak spot is description…)

One thing I found a bit unbelievable was Scranton somehow pulling himself over a wall with spikes…with one hand. This man is 60+, got beat up, and yet SOMEHOW got out of bed and was able to help Davis take down the bad guys the SAME DAY. That’s unrealistic, especially for a man of his age! It’d be one thing if he were running on adrenaline, but…c’mon. Broken arms need to be held still for a couple weeks in order for the bone to heal.

I also found it weird that Scranton wouldn’t try to witness to Moretti. He’s a literal PREACHER. I get he’s trying to protect Mae in that scene, but he still doesn’t bother? After all that preaching to Mae, that part of his character just goes out the window?

As for the two main characters, I didn’t really feel anything for them. Sometimes, Davis talking to Mae came across more like a talk between a parent and child than a talk between lovers. It also sounded like he was preaching the Gospel to her as though she’d never heard it? He also seemed a bit naïve at one point, which bugged me because it’s the 20s and I’m sure even farm boys knew mobsters were ruthless; therefore, it shouldn’t have surprised him when they started shooting at him in the middle of a crowd.

Mae was…bland. I’m sorry, but she came across as bland to me, and also very…hopeless? I don’t really remember her actually struggling to learn how to hope throughout the story. Especially at the 2-3 parts where she thinks Davis is dead. She just automatically assumes it without proof.

As an aside, it kinda annoyed me that the Bible was referred to as the Book in the narrative. I know people used to call it the Good Book, but calling it a leather book doesn’t mean it’s the Bible; lots of books in ye olden days had leather covers. And did this one not have HOLY BIBLE stamped across it?? It’s the 20s, not the 100s.

The conversion scene sounded stilted and felt very textbook and on-the-nose. Which then leads to the preachiness; this story was less a story and more of a sermon trying to convert people. I know not everyone sees it this way, but that’s how it came across to me.

On a minor note, it looked like a character was being careless with a gun at one point, but upon closer inspection, he might’ve been getting drunk. But if he wasn’t drunk, then WHY. It seemed kinda out of character for him to do that. (Then again, did they have the golden rule of gun safety in those days??)

Anyway, those are my two cents. I really wish I could’ve liked this more.

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