What if the one promise you need to break is the one you make to yourself? In her debut proper (sweet) romance novel, Promised (Shadow Mountain), Leah Garriott shows us the freedom we achieve when we break the chains that bind us to the past and learn to accept love in the present.

Margaret Brinton is determined to protect her heart. After being deceived by her ex-fiancé, Miss Brinton vows never again to lead with her heart over her head. When she arrives at a party hosted by the town matchmaker, Margaret knows what she wants – a platonic match, one that will ensure a solid marital status and allow her to live a life without fear or sacrifice.

At first glance, Mr. Fredrick Northam is the perfect fit. He’s confident, successful, poised and… a rogue. Aligning herself with someone who she knows isn’t capable of love means there’s no danger she will be susceptible to his advances. Northam is safe.

Lord Williams, with his compelling blue eyes and easy smile, is not.

Even though the Lord tries to warn Margaret against forming such an alliance with his cousin, she remains undeterred. But, when her attempt at securing a proposal from Northam is waylaid and Margaret returns home, she discovers that her father has already promised her to another. The last man she expects to walk through her door is Lord Williams and Margaret is even more perplexed when she discovers that the one man she wants to stay away from, may be exactly the man she needs.

Lord Williams may have won the battle, but will he win the war for her heart?

Garriott’s novel is a quick, delightful read, the desire to turn pages fueled by her effortless humor and clever writing. Margaret Brinton is sharp and intelligent, her internal dialogue a true complement to her character. The way Garriott weaves Margaret’s thoughts into her interactions with other characters makes this novel immediately engaging. She creates suspense in a manner that’s both refreshing and satisfying, a feat that can be challenging to master in a sweet romance but one that Garriott accomplishes in spades.

The premise is simple, the message, profound. Garriott doesn’t take you down a rabbit hole of slow burning emotion and heart-wrenching woe. That’s not this author’s style. You’ll never lose sight of these characters and what they want as they explore their own minds and hearts, their journey one we can all recognize. Because of this, when Margaret and Lord Williams come out of their Ordeal and through to the other side, their story is that much sweeter, a testament to how much they’ve learned about themselves and each other.

Garriott makes a statement with her novel, one that remains timeless and significant. Freedom doesn’t come from running away. As long as you refuse to face who you are and what you want, you’ll never be free. A straightforward goal with maximum impact. Something we can all aspire to achieve, don’t you think?

Learn more about Garriott on her BookTrib author page.

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Leah Garriott is active in book clubs and writing conferences, and has always been a voracious reader. She loves creating engaging plots with memorable and educated heroines. Leah and her husband have a full house with three children, two goldfish and a bunch of chickens.