Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: The Promise by Beth Wiseman

The story that Beth Wiseman tells in The Promise is unbelievable.  What makes it even more so, is that it is based on a true story.  And not just one or two little parts of it.  I was shocked when I got to the end of the book and read the author's notes.  She tells just how much of a true story it is.  Like most Americans, I had no idea that things like this go on, but I'm glad that I do now, and I hope others will be made aware through this book.
Mallory is a young woman living in Houston, Texas.  She's restless, and a little adventurous.  When she was just a teenager, she made a promise to her best friend and cousin that she would save her life through a kidney transplant.  When Mallory's parents refused to let her have the operation, her cousin died, but Mallory decided that she would keep her promise in some way and save a life.
Her new boss, a Muslim doctor named Ismail, has a plan to help her do this.  His cousin, Abdul, lives in Pakistan, and has a 16-year-old daughter with cancer.  She needs to travel to the United States for treatment, but Abdul can't get a Visa to bring her.  Ismail is given the task of finding him an American wife to sponsor him to come to the US.  He puts Abdul in touch with Mallory, and, in spite of repeated warnings about the dangers, Mallory decides to go to Pakistan to try to save the life of his daughter, Majida.
Tate loves Mallory.  He knows that she wants a chance to have adventure, to test her wings and save a life.  But he is afraid that she doesn't know what she's getting in to  when she decides to travel to a third-world country, known for it's brutality to women.  He thought she loved him, too, but he can't help but wonder if she's going to help Majida, or if she has fallen in love with Abdul.  Now he can only hope and pray that she will come home safely.
Mallory quickly discovers that Peshawar is just as dangerous as she was warned it was.  She is deceived and threatened and doesn't know who to trust.  Who is telling her the truth, the handsome, well-spoken Abdul?  Or the harsh, bitter, Fozia?  And does Ismail really know what he got his employee in to?  Mallory came to save a life, but she may lose her own before she gets the chance.  It's up to Tate to try to rescue her before it's too late. .
Abdul was obviously skilled in his deception to bring Mallory to Peshawar, but her naiveté continuously surprised me.  She chose to ignore repeated warnings from her parents, friends and even the State Department, and to trust two foreign men she didn't even know.
This book is definitely a thriller.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I did, however, take offense to the religious issues that Ms. Wiseman dealt with in this book.  They go against everything that I believe as a Christian.  She indicates that God and Allah are the same person.  She says that Islam is a peaceful religion.  And when the story seems to disprove her own point, she states that there are good and bad people in every religion.  Everything in this story contradicted these statements.  I could understand the main character having doubts, as there was no mention that she had ever received Christ as Saviour, even though she realized that was what she needed to do.  She doubted that Jesus was the Son of God and even read the Quran to help her decide if He is just a prophet.  I thought that part of her spiritual journey would lead her to the truth about these things.  I was so disappointed when the book ended with neither Tate, nor Mallory making a serious spiritual decision.  Even after all that happened and the way she was rescued, Mallory still didn't seem to change her mind about Muslims or religion in general.  This was very disappointing, and nearly ruined the whole book for me.
This seems to be a departure from Ms. Wiseman's usual Amish fiction.  As a thriller, I can highly recommend it.  But  I struggle to recommend it for the spiritual aspects.  I would hate for anyone to read this book and become confused about God (Who is NOT Allah) or Jesus, or Islam in general.  So I leave it up to you, reader, to decide if The Promise, is worth your reading time.

Happy Reading,

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own. 

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