Kathryn Cushman,
A Promise to Remember
(Bethany House, 2007)

Two loving mothers -- one rich, the other just getting by -- lose their sons in an auto accident.

Talk about a devastating heartache, there's nothing to compare it to. Melanie and Andie are the broken-hearted mothers of the deceased, and both of them are in serious need of a solution to deal with their pain.

Familiar with the old, hit-rich-people-where-it-hurts-them-the-most mentality, Melanie decides to sue Andie and her husband Blair. Before they can even wipe the tears from their faces from grieving the loss of their son, the couple finds themselves caught up in a legal battle. Melanie is convinced that their son Chad was at fault in the accident and this would be exactly what her son Jeff would want her to do. Adding fuel to the fire, she's incensed by the fact that the local newspaper seemed to be honoring Andie's son Chad and forgetting about her son Jeff. When Melanie exercises her right to counsel, she immediately discovers that the long arms of wealth have an incredibly far reach. The lawsuit ultimately divides the town, making it very uncomfortable for the grieving parties. Melanie's livelihood is jeopardized, Andie deals with her pain by slipping into depression, and Blair revisits his past demons, placing him at a terrible disadvantage as he weakly fights the battle to hold on to his business when investors fear it could fold under the pressure of litigation.

Like dragging a squealing pig to a Hawaiian luau, Melanie's daughter and her departed son's mentor Jake convince her to attend church so she can try to tap into her spiritual side. They are sure it could be a much-needed outlet for the grief that's clinging to her so tightly. Reluctantly she goes, but she is paranoid about the church's perception of her.

I have to say that this book was a heart-thumper. The more I read, the more twisted my emotions became. Both families suffered, but apparently not enough for the other. To reveal anymore information about this book would ruin what you should read for yourself. It's a highly sensitive topic that some of us may regrettably face one day, and Kathryn Cushman placed the consequences of it right in our laps. She took the anguish, the pain, the suffering and the heartache, then crafted it into a resolve that could be a debatable issue indefinitely. Who's right? Who's wrong? And who can say what they would or wouldn't do in the same circumstances?

I highly recommend this book, which address an intense issue.

review by
Renee Harmon

14 February 2009

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