Book Review: "The Promise of Morning" by Ann Shorey

Ellie Craig grieves the loss of three infant children, and when long-hidden secrets are brought to light, she must find a way to contact the family of her long-lost father. Meanwhile her husband, Matthew, faces controversy in his church and competition from a new arrival in Beldon Grove, who claims to be both a minister and the son of the town's founder. Will Matthew find the courage to reclaim his church? And will his unexpected travel companion help Ellie's heart mend?

The beginning of this book makes you feel horribly sad for Ellie as the reader learns about how she's buried three children all before the age of 30. Then just as she's starting to get over from that, more tragedy strikes. Honestly, I don't think there's anything sadder than having your children die at a very young age. Then she finds out that her dad (who she had thought was dead all these years) has actually now really died and that her relatives had been keeping the truth from her all these years. Really, I have no idea how in the world she was able to bounce back after all this because there weren't many people for her to depend on for support. I also liked reading about the Shakespeare play that took place in the town. First, the arguments that Matthew would have about the play were interesting especially since I didn't feel as if it was very convincing. Second, just reading about what went on in the play was fun to read as well.

While I enjoyed the story, I wasn't a big fan of the characters. I did not like Matthew's character at all. First off, I know that this story is set in the 1800s but the age difference between Matthew and Ellie rather creeped me out. He seemed very legalistic and seemed more concerned about what was happening to his beliefs rather than that of his family's. I just could not believe that he left his family like that in the middle of the story. Personally I thought that was extremely selfish of him to leave his wife and children like that. I liked Ellie's character a lot better but at the same time I felt she was a bit naive as well. I know why she wanted to have hope of more family, but at the same time did she not realize how big of a territory Texas was? There seemed to be multiple story lines running throughout the book, so many that it was a bit hard to keep up at times. Some characters were pretty much cardboard characters who never grew throughout the book. I did like the ending however, it didn't feel forced or even cliched. Despite the faults I felt the book had, I did enjoy reading it as a whole. This is the second book in the series but it can be read as a stand alone novel.

The Promise of Morning by Ann Shorey is published by Revell (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. Thanks for reviewing The Promise of Morning, Deborah! I appreciate your comments. I know what you mean about the age difference between Matthew and Ellie. Those characters were inspired by my great-great grandparents. I was stunned when I did the math during my research and realized the gap in their ages. Made me wonder what their lives would have been like, what with the loss of the children. So I spun a tale.

  2. What a thoughtful review! I've included a link to it as a second opinion on my own blog.

    Although I love Ann Shorey, I found that "A Promise of Morning" to be emotionally difficult.

    Being a Pastor’s wife myself, I find myself overly sensitive to the depiction of Pastors and their families. I did not enjoy the character of Pastor Matthew and did not like how he was such a “bull in a china shelf” and created judgements of others so quickly.

    If you're interested, I have more to say on my site at



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