The Last Promise starts when an American writer sits down next to a beautiful woman at a swimming pool near Florence, Italy. He doesn’t know he’s about to be treated to a love-story. When he admits he’s a writer, and writes romance, the woman, Eliana, informs him that her own love-story is better than any she’s ever read. And so she tells him about her life, and how she ended up in Italy.
The woman is an American and came to Italy when she married her husband, an Italian. Living in a gorgeous old villa in Tuscany, surrounded by vineyards and incredible countryside, Eliana is still unhappy. Her once attentive husband is now gone most of the time. The Italian passion he once shared with her has disappeared, and now she’s expected to be the ‘good little wife’ and raise their severely asthmatic child. She is trapped, for her husband will never let her have custody of her son. She’s lonely for the villa is isolated and her only solace is painting. Then, an American rents their efficiency apartment. He’s come to work at the famous museum, the Uffizi. He speaks perfect Italian, and he knows everything about the museum, but there is something sad and mysterious about him that strikes a chord in Eliana’s heart. They fall in love.
The Last Promise was well written and the author paints a romantic picture of forbidden love.
However, I thought it was full of clichés. The woman trapped by the neglectful husband, the sickly child who is being used as a hostage. Even Eliana and Ross falling in love seems contrived.
If you liked Bridges of Madison County you will probably adore this book. It’s written with lovely prose and with great descriptions of Italian countryside and food.