Sunfire Romance Novels
In the 80s, the world was lit by Sunfire!

Dawn of Love #6: Promise Forever

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Hope everyone got some good deals on Black Friday, too.

The final book in the Dawn of Love series is Promise Forever by Dee Austin, copyright 1985.

Promise Forever Front Cover (Credit: Joseph Cellini)

Front Cover Blurb: Is sixteen too young to…Promise Forever

Setting: 1840, a clipper-ship journey from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to Northern California, including a stop in the Falkland Islands.

Similar Sunfire Book: None. You could argue that Joanna’s Jed was a sailor, or that Marilee and Merrie’s books included journeys by ship, but it’s definitely not a straight comparison.

On the Cover: Tabitha Walker and Tom Howard. Tabitha is wearing the jade bracelet her father brought home for her.

Main Character: Tabitha Walker, 16; red hair, blue eyes. She is the daughter of a widowed ship captain who has been at sea for four years. She lives with her aunt and uncle in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where she is bored out of her mind and longing for adventure.

Suitor #1: Tom Howard, age 19; white-blond hair, gray-green eyes. He is a sailor on Captain Walker’s ship, the White Swan. He knows right away that he wants Tabitha as his wife, but he’s naive enough to think that a girl who stowed away on a ship to China will be content with hanging out on land raising children and waiting for her husband to come home from the sea.

Suitor #2: Davy Pearson, age 20; black hair, black eyes. He is the bosun on the White Swan and wonders if marrying the captain’s daughter will be a shortcut to having his own ship.

Suitor #3: Juan Alvarado, age 19; the Spanish-Mexican son of Captain Walker’s friend. Tabitha is dumped on the Alvardos’ California ranch after Captain Walker catches Tabitha and Tom in a compromising position.

Suitor #4: Alexei Ubetskoy, aka “Alexei One.” He is the Russian nephew of Baron von Wrangell, who is attempting to peacefully steal California for Russia. He’s not so much a suitor as a dinner guest who goes walking with Tabitha in the moonlight and kisses her (without her cooperation). It’s interesting that the preview for this book in the back of other DoL books claimed that Tabitha would be choosing between Tom and Alexei, who could give her everything. That certainly didn’t come across in the final product, so I wonder if something was cut or just changed before the book was finished.

Back Cover Blurb: Together They Sailed The Oceans on a Voyage of Love

Promise Forever Back Cover

This is a tiny book, clocking in at a brisk 180 pages. I liked Tabitha as a character just because she wasn’t primarily motivated by romance. Despite what the back cover says, she was planning to stow away on the White Swan before she ever met Tom. If Tom had been her one motivating factor, I would have been annoyed. I’m not thrilled with the way she treated her aunt and uncle, who really were like her parents. Her father certainly wasn’t much of a father, abandoning her for years at a time, then visiting for a few weeks before leaving again for years. And then, he dumps her on a friend and abandons her in California! I understand he was a sailor and had to make a living and all, but…parent of the year, not so much.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recap of the Dawn of Love books. As I continue on with the Sunfire notes, I’ll alternate with another set of similar books.


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