The Official Book Blurb
Two sisters. One murder. And an unbreakable bond.
Growing up in squalor with their drug-addicted prostitute mother, sisters Georgie and Marnie Parker have had to endure the very darkest side of life.
When their mother is sentenced for brutally murdering a client, Georgie and Marnie’s already precarious lives are blown apart and they now share a terrible secret. Sent to a children’s home, the sisters hope this might finally be their safe haven after years of neglect. But they soon discover they’re in real danger.
Desperate to find a place of safety, Georgie and Marnie run for their lives, but end up in the hands of Delray Anderton. A violent London gangster and notorious pimp, Delray has big plans for beautiful teenager Georgie, seeing her as a chance to make some serious money.
Fiercely protective of each other, Georgie and Marnie must escape the clutches of a man who will do anything to keep the sisters for himself. And, they must keep the promise they made to each other – no one can ever know the truth.
Oh. My. Word.
You know, if you like a warm, cosy crime drama, or something that leaves you feeling all special and fluffy inside… stay away from this book. If on the other hand you like your books with a lot of grit and attitude then this will absolutely be the book for you.
After reading The Taken, I kind of knew what to expect when opening up the first page of this book. Casey Kelleher has established herself as an author very willing to tackle the dark side of human life with a brutal honesty, although without having to be too gratuitously violent that it disengages the reader. The Promise is a really gritty novel; covering subjects from drug abuse to prostitution and dancing around the periphery of child abuse, you won’t find anything here to warm your cockles. Not by a long chalk. Actually… that may be wrong of me to say, but more on that later.
This was a hard book for me to judge just how I felt. There is no denying that Miss Kelleher has an exceptional talent for writing. Far from pushing me away with what could have been a very abhorrent subject, she drew me in from the very beginning. Yes, I did find the subject matter objectionable, and it is a very strange book in that it is hard to feel any real empathy for any of the characters other than perhaps the pub landlord Dave, and the two children Georgie and Marnie, who are caught up in such a tragic story which is beyond their control and beyond comprehension at times.
And yet I couldn’t step away. Not so much because I needed to know that Georgie and Marnie were going to be safe, although that truly did matter to me, but because I was also intrigued by their mother, Josie. Josie is a strange character. Her life is blighted by a series of wrong choices; with a drug addiction born of working as a prostitute for the depraved Delray, she doesn’t seem to have any inclination of kindness towards her children. For sure, her actions will be affected by the drugs she has become addicted to, but the level of neglect is off the charts and you have to wonder how it could go undetected for so long. And yet, when push comes to shove, she makes the greatest sacrifice a mother can for her children. That revelation, that understanding, comes as one of the brightest moments of the story, the one bit which may just manage to thaw those cockles after they have been frozen in disbelief for nearly the whole book.
Kelleher seems to have a real way with creating antagonistic characters; developing people who are so abhorrent and beyond empathy or redemption, whilst keeping the reader as engaged in their story as they would be in that of a far more sympathetic character. Delray is a man without remorse, driven by pure greed. With Javine, while I was sympathetic to her plight and her back story, she was a hard character to like, even though no-one deserves what she was forced to endure. And yet she does redeem herself, more than making up for her questionable character traits. And as for the children, Georgie and Marnie, Kelleher captured their spirits perfectly. Two children, forced to endure the worst things any child ever should, and yet determined and strong, driven on by their love for each other and, ultimately, for their mother.
As I said, I was uncertain for ages how this book made me feel. It definitely captured my imagination and my attention more than The Taken and that was a strong and action packed book in itself. But with this one I was torn between being slightly saddened or maybe even a little sickened by the subject matter, and being enthralled by the way the author had created such tension, such a need in me to keep on reading no matter how I felt.
The book felt uncompromisingly real and at times was very harsh in both language and subject. If abuse or bad language is a trigger for you as a reader, then this may not be the book for you. But don’t be unnecessarily put off by it and give the book a chance; it is not the whole picture. For in there somewhere, among all of that harsh language and darkness, is a story of tenacity and redemption amongst which you’ll find an element of pure magic.
A tense, gritty and harshly realistic 5 stars from me.
My thanks to NetGalley and publishers Bookouture for the ARC of The Promise by Casey Kelleher and for including me on this blog tour. It is available to buy now from the following links:
About the Author
Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole.
Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.
She has since published Rise and Fall, Heartless, Bad Blood, The Taken and her latest release, The Promise.
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