For her debut novel, Everything in its Time, Dee Davis took her readers almost five hundred years into the past to discover the intricacies of life in medieval Scotland. Now, in The Promise, we travel back in time to a much more familiar environment - the old West. Colorado, to be precise. Michael MacPherson and Cara Reynolds don't know it but they are cosmically linked, and their first encounter puts them on a path to their destinies. Cara survives a terrible automobile accident only because a young man finds her in the snow and keeps her warm. Yes, the young man is Michael MacPherson, and it is years before either realize that it took a trip across time for them to meet.
An act of violence in Michael's time reunites them and their adventures begin in present day Colorado. I really enjoyed watching Michael learn about some twentieth-century conveniences like the shower and ibuprofen - not to mention his discovery of Fruit Loops!! There are some things that time cannot change, however, and the feelings between Michael and Cara are clear almost from the start. Both strong and intelligent characters, they have individual paths to follow, and it seems at times that even though their love is deepening by the minute, it may not be enough to survive the twists and turns their lives take! As in her previous time-travel romance, Dee Davis has intertwined the present-day storyline with the past time storyline - in fact, if I read my characters correctly, there is a familial link between some of these people and those in her earlier book. Could we be observing the beginning of a literary dynasty along the lines of the Taggerts and the Montgomerys by Jude Deveraux? I hope so, because I liked these people a lot. Unlike many romances, Dee is not afraid to present a bright and opinionated heroine whose opinion matters, and who makes informed decisions and then acts on them. Michael MacPherson is a cowboy with a brain - his values are those of family, tradition and honor - a perfect match for Cara, who needs all of them.
Once again, the roots of the plot are based firmly in love. A love unfulfilled can become a twisted form of madness, and a love returned can triumph over the inevitability of time. There are no glaringly obvious plot compromises here, the fact that Cara can ride and shoot is convenient, but not out of place in the life of a twenty-first century Colorado-born woman with ties to the land. I would encourage readers to pay close attention to the first pages of this book; the principal characters are introduced rather independently of each other, and it takes a little while before the relationships become clear. Although there is a mystery unfolding, the suspense comes from wondering how Michael and Cara are going to overcome the hundred years or so that lies between, rather than the identity of the villain who must be unmasked and destroyed - and that's just fine. The Promise admirably continues the fascinating time-travel romances Dee Davis has begun - let's hope there are more on the way!!