The Last Promise, written by the New York Times Best-selling author, Richard Paul Evans, is a story about love that develops between two Americans in Italy, Eliana and Ross, who have emerged themselves in Italian culture trying to forget the lives they once had in America.
Eliana is the wife of a “Capo” Maurizio, who has many connections to big people. He owns a winery that is at the Villa Rendola, where the family lives. Maurizio is often out on business and usually is only home two days during the week. These business trips also include love affairs. Eliana is aware of the infidelities, but what can she do? The idea is that Eliana must over look her husbands’ betrayal. If she ever tried to leave him he would take their son, Alessio, away from her, which he could do because of the power that he had in Italy. She lives a lonely life in the Villa Rendola until Ross; an American comes to live in one of the apartments available. Ross leads tourist groups through the Uffizi, a world famous art gallery in Florence, Italy; he has a vast knowledge of Italy’s world renowned art and history. Ross and Eliana connect; besides being American, they both have a love for art and culture. They fall in love accidentally, and go back and forth, trying to figure out what they should do about their situation. Ultimately a decision is made for them by Maurizio, using his son as a bargaining tool and information that he finds on Ross and the secret reason he is in Italy. How Eliana and Ross are brought back together truly shows one of the themes of the book that God is love.
What is great about the story is the detail that the author provides to describe Italy, the characters and emotions. He is able to capture not just the landscape of Italy, but also the culture of Italians and the tourist in Italy. He writes some dialogue in Italian and then has translations. He is able to explain the feelings that Eliana had when Ross kissed her. As the story grew towards the conclusion, some details would irritate while trying to learn the ending, but his descriptions help you visualize in your mind as you read along. Most of his books are written so that the reader is able to imagine what they are reading. As many writers do, Evans studied Italy and the aspects of Italy, to write this book. He has pictures on his website of things discussed in the book. A difference in this book compared to others I have read by this author is that this one doesn’t speak of God as much as the others. The characters discuss that God is love, which is a re-accuring theme in Evans’ books, but there was less, which surprised me.
The story is described as “another girl’s story” and is like an adult themed fairytale. This story ends in a way that doesn’t make a reader feel as though there should be another book to explain what happened to the characters after the story ends. With The Last Promise they live happily ever after.