FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Grapevine Book Tours.
Series: Promise Me #1
June 17, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Welcome to the South—where the tea is sweet and the accents are sweeter. This Southern way of life is all Charlie has ever known. It’s not until she loses the only person who pushed her to break free of the Southern Belle mold that she starts living the life she needs and not the life her parents forced on her.
Jhett has lived on the edge for as long as he could remember - constantly teetering back and forth between being a rock star and living a normal life. His rebellious and sometimes arrogant attitude is known to get him into trouble, especially with the girls who hang on his every move.
Charlie never thought that a trip to pack up her brother’s apartment would leave her feeling even more unsettled about the grainy details of her brother’s death. Her quest for information leads her straight to his old hangout and into arms of Jhett, who suspiciously knows more about her situation than he ever should.
Only a few questions remain: Can you trust someone based on their word alone? And if you make a promise, how far will you go to keep it?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Charlie is devastated when she loses her twin brother in an accident, but somehow the end of his life leads to the beginning of hers. Sent to California by her rather cold mother to pack up Cameron’s things, Charlie finds herself discovering parts of her brother’s life that she never knew existed.
From a name scribbled on a piece of paper to a strange club to the heavily tattooed guitarist, Charlie follows the clues while following her heart, hoping to uncover more about her twin and his untimely death. But that irresistible guitarist she’s falling for has secrets of his own, secrets that involve Charlie’s brother…
I had a bit of an issue with the loss/grief aspect of the plot. Charlie apparently knew her brother better than anyone (though she does learn more about him later), and she’s understandably devastated by his passing. However, Cameron seemed to very quickly become less important and more of a plot device when the romance kicked up with Jhett. If I lost my brother, I’d die a thousand deaths inside, and while I was happy to see Charlie move ahead with her life, I just can’t wrap my head around the absence of any real healing taking place. Perhaps that wasn’t meant to be a big part of the story, but since it started off in full grief mode, I expected there would be a deeper follow-up than simply reminding readers that someone died. That led to my not really relating to Charlie as well as I might have under other circumstances, and while it didn’t ruin the story for me, it certainly took away part of the shine.
While the story does include a lot of what I would normally label cliches (tattooed musician, girl from a privileged background, worst parents in the universe,secrets and secrets and secrets, etc.), it’s still a good read, probably perfect for anyone who appreciates a solid, “classic” love story.
Charlie may be privileged, but she’s not naive, and she’s quick to speak her mind anytime she feels the need. Many authors go wrong with characters like her, making them too much the damsels in distress, but despite her grief and awful parents, Charlie’s sure of who she is and what she wants — even if she’s been hesitant to start living her life for herself. She’s immediately drawn to Jhett, but she doesn’t just immediately fall for him, and the pace at which their relationship develops is handed out perfectly.
And Jhett… Well, he’s more than a little awesome. Yes, he’s the tattooed guitarist who secretly sings — the polar opposite of Charlie in many ways — but he rides a bicycle! Oh, so adorable. And he’s a chef, nicely evening out what might otherwise could have led to quite the stereotype. All in all, Jones does a great job of introducing us to two characters who have all the traits and issues that make us love romance novels in the first place, but she’s given them just enough extra personality to keep them fresh.
The way the story closes (and no, I’m not sharing any spoilers!) was pretty great as well. Despite my distance from Charlie, her actions near at the end impressed me, and while I normally harbor irrational hate for books that end without tying up all the loose ends, Promise Me This does it in a way that didn’t have me throwing a tantrum. Granted, it helps that I already have the next book in hand, but it still goes to show that Jones has a way of delivering a full story while still leaving the door open for more.