A Cousin’s Promise by Wanda E. Brunstetter

5055957Fiction — print. Barbour, 2009. 277 pgs. PaperBackSwap.

Loraine Miller struggles to forgive herself for suggesting she and her friends spend the day at Hershey Park after a car accident on the way there takes the lives of her cousin’s fiancé, another cousin, and that of their driver. What’s worse her fiancé, Wayne Lambright, loses his left leg and cannot imagine being able to provide for the wife and kids he planned to have. Determined to sacrifice his happiness to give her a better life, he breaks their engagement and even goes so far as to encourage her to date the man that once broke her heart, Jake Beechy.

Grief and regret are two powerful forces at work in the lives of characters in this novel; it seems that no one can escape regret over what they did in the past. With this novel, though, Brunstetter’s style is so simplistic that I feel like she tells me everything I need to know and leaves no room for my imagination to work.

The strong sense of community that is a trademark of Brunstetter’s novel just isn’t there are Loraine’s cousins escape to Florida to escape their grief. On the other hand, this disappearance of the cousins allowed Loraine and Wayne’s characters to really develop in ways that Brunstetter’s other novels have not allowed the main characters to do.

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