Book Review – ‘The Promise’ by Teresa Driscoll ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.

Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.

But when shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of Private Investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol – before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.

Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.

But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried.  Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer, NetGalley and Teresa Driscoll for the chance to read and review this book.

“Three girls. One dead.”

Three young girls make a terrible promise to never speak of that awful night and what they did. But what did they do?  What awful thing could these girls have done that lead to someone dying in a blood-filled room? Secrets aren’t given up easily or quickly in this intriguing story that is told in two timelines by multiple narrators.

“Who will clear up our mess? That thing we did all those years ago.”

The Convent of St Colman is closing and Beth and Sally receive a letter inviting them to the party to say their goodbyes to their old boarding school. Both women are horrified by the news as it threatens to expose their long held secret. The trio were friends ever since that first day at their new boarding school when three nervous, new outsiders were drawn together in their dormitory by a common situation. Despite Carol’s estrangement Beth and Sally remain loyal to their friendship. Sally is insistent that nothing has changed and they should keep their promise. But Beth disagrees, she wants to find Carol and see what she wants to do. But Carol doesn’t want to be found.

“There’s something not right here…”

Beth hires Private Investigator Matthew Hill to find Carol.  She can’t give him the whole story and he’s suspicious of her claim that she is merely trying to find an old friend because their school is being demolished. However he soon tracks down Carol’s Mum, Deborah, who is shocked when approached by Beth and Sally. She seems nervous to talk and is being evasive. Around this time an anonymous Facebook account sends a warning to leave things alone and other threats are made towards Beth’s family. It is clear someone who knows what happened that day doesn’t want the secret told. Could Carol be behind it? While almost certain their friend would do no such thing, despite their estrangement, Beth and Sally can’t think who else could know about the events that night.  But they must find out who is sending the messages before their is any more risk of harm.

“Drifting to and fro in time is something I can’t stop these days. Flashes of scenes from the past pushing their way into my day.”

While Matthew hunts for whoever is making threats, Beth spirals into a deep depression. She can’t keep the distressing images from her mind and is haunted by flashbacks and a deep sense of guilt. As the party at The Convent draws closer with no leads on who is behind the malicious attacks on her family or where Carol is now, she and Sally argue. Losing the one person she could truly confide in makes it worse but when Adam is hurt, Sally is the first person she calls and the one to rush to be by her side.  Meanwhile it seems Carol is also struggling with severe anxiety and is unable to come to terms with what happened, seeking solace in consulting psychics. However instead of leaning on her friends and family like Beth, Carol runs from them.

“The candles. The girl with the blue lips…”

When their secret was finally revealed I was shocked. I thought I’d figured it out but I was blindsided by the author. The Promise is a captivating psychological thriller. The latter part of the book in particular is full of twists, turns, bombshells and discoveries. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t stop reading until the end. I liked that the story addressed how what the girls went through would affect their mental health, even so many years later. I thought these parts of the story were well written and realistic. I think the three main characters were well written, especially how they each dealt with things so differently as their secret seeps insidiously into every facet of their lives. Another great read from Ms Driscoll.

Out February 7th 2019.

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