Title: Honor’s Promise
Original Story by: Sharon Sala
Manga by: Esu Chihara
Publisher: DMP & Harlequin
Available at eManga
I had my ever helpful assistant, Jen, pick out the next Harlequin for me to shine the spotlight on. She was drawn to title of Honor’s Promise, so despite some reservations about the heroine’s choice of a head wrap, I dived right into the title. I am going to talk about the awful cover before I get started discussing the story itself. Look at that cover. What is up with that glaringly ugly blue bandana Honor has wrapped around her head? The blue throws off the composition, and at first glance, it looked like she was wearing a pot on her head. It is so distracting and takes away from the overall appeal of the illustration.
Anyhoo, getting to the story, I’m happy to report that Honor’s Promise was much, much better than Married Under the Italian Sun. There are a few plot points that made me raise my eyebrows, but I was able to set aside my disbelief and enjoy the book anyway. The pacing was good, and the further into the story, the more interested I was to see how it would end.
Honor is mourning the death of her mother when a handsome stranger arrives in town. She feels an immediate connection with him, so her trust is dashed when she discovers he has ulterior motives for meeting her. In the employ of the grandfather who has shunned her and her mother for her entire life, Trace is on a mission to bring Honor to the family home in Colorado, so she can meet with her estranged family. Wanting to just be left alone, Honor agrees to go so that she return home to Texas and continue to run her diner without being hassled by the family she has no interest in meeting. When she is given her mother’s diary, she learns that her mother has been living a lie, and that Honor isn’t really who she thinks she is.
Wow, talk about getting an unpleasant shock. Without spoiling the plot, Honor discovers that her mother wasn’t truthful about her family, and that Honor’s entire life has been one based on deception. There is a delightful sense of suspense as the truth begins to unfold, and as Honor has to deal with the consequences of her mother’s actions. She’s a stranger to her own family and her aunt isn’t exactly thrilled that she’s back in the picture, competing for the family inheritance. Her aunt is snide and rude, but Honor doesn’t back down for a minute. She’s a strong heroine with a wonderful sense of her own self-worth, and she comes across as confident and self-assured. I liked that. A lot.
There wasn’t much romantic tension, but Honor and Trace made a convincing couple. With so much taking place in the story, a long, drawn out courtship would have only bogged things down. Instead, it was refreshing that the two just hit it off and developed a mutual affection for each other. None of that bickering back and forth; just two people realizing that they like each other and wanting to seeing where their relationship will go. Honor even had the stronger personality of the two, and I liked that, as well.
The production values are better in this title, though there are still lots of smudges and unsightly chunks of text bursting outside of word balloons. The translation is also good, and the dialogue flows smoothly, without an awkward phrasing. This is definitely worth at least a rent.