I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Promise of Safekeeping: A Novel by Lisa Dale
Published by Berkley on January 3rd 2012
An unforgettable novel about love, forgiveness, and letting go.
Nine years ago, Lauren Matthews prosecuted the case of a lifetime. But her error in judgment sent an innocent man to prison. Now Arlen Fieldstone has finally been released, and Lauren has only one thing on her mind: asking forgiveness. How can she make up for nine years of his life? To get to Arlen, Lauren must first get through Arlen's best friend, Will Farris, who hasn't forgiven her for destroying Arlen's life.
In the steaming summer streets of Richmond, Virginia, three people's lives collide. Lauren needs forgiveness. Arlen needs hope. And Will? He needs something too, something that no one can know—especially not Lauren...
Nine years ago Arlen Fieldstone was convicted of murdering the wife of Senator Juan Raimez. Today, he’s been exonerated of all charges and is now a free man. Lauren becomes so distraught over her role in putting away an innocent man and taking away 9 years of his life, she travels down to Virginia to apologize to him.
‘Lauren had thought she’d wanted to give something to Arlen: her apology. Her willingness to step up and take some responsibility for what had happened to him.’
This was a novel about forgiveness and second chances, but I didn’t relate with the characters which made their actions hard to understand.
The one section of the story that I would like to point out is a letter to the editor that Lauren’s brother actually wrote and submitted:
“Dear Editor: Everyone is pointing at Lauren Matthews for Arlen Fieldstone’s wrongful conviction. But here’s the truth: She’s not a cop, so she didn’t gather evidence. All she could do was interpret it for the jury. If you want to blame someone for Arlen’s mistreatment, blame the jury that convicted him. Blame the cops who botched the evidence. Blame a weak defense. But don’t blame Lauren Matthews for doing her job.”
Despite the fact that this was a biased statement, as the writer was her own brother, it still has a ring of truth: in the long run it really wasn’t her fault. She was presented the evidence from the police and it was her job as a prosecutor to convince the jury that the defendant should be convicted. I understand this and I especially think that anyone who has studied law would feel the same.
Will’s quick infatuation with Lauren seemed ill-placed with the rest of the story. This is supposed to be a woman that he can’t stand because in his eyes she’s the sole reason for why his best friend was put away for 9 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Yet by their second time around each other he’s already considering how good looking she is and by the fourth he’s imagining her in bed. Just seemed like a wrong piece in the puzzle that shouldn’t have been included.
Essentially, I enjoyed the story; however, I really had a hard time understanding the main characters guilt over the conviction of an innocent man. It happens, it will continue to happen, but you learn from it and you move on. You don’t let a single case from 9 years ago cause you so much grief that you develop heart problems and you feel the need to travel across several states in order to apologize to the man. A side story regarding her brother played a part in the reasoning for her guilt, but I still had a hard time understanding/accepting it.
The ending was quite predictable and everyone lived happily ever after. My main issue was that I didn’t connect with any of the characters and that made me lose major interest in this novel as a whole.