As a teen, Alonsa falls in love with Miguel, a Gypsy living on her merchant father’s land. When she realizes that she cannot keep the promise she made to run away with him, he tries to abduct her and is foiled by Alonsa’s father. Miguel’s dying words are a curse—any man who loves Alonsa will die. Years later, Alonsa is traveling with a small merchant caravan. Her fiancé, Martin, dies following an attack on the caravan, and Martin’s dying words are to his friend Gunter—he must care for Alonsa by marrying her. Fortunately for both Gunter and Alonsa, they are strongly attracted to each other, but Alonsa has given up on love because of Miguel’s curse. Can Günter convince her that true love can overcome fear?
Bennett’s second novel shares the same 16th-century European setting as her first, as well as the same focus on lesser-known social and political issues of the era. The characters are appealing, and a secondary romance between Ines, a marketwoman who travels with Alonsa, and Fritz, a young man training to be a soldier like Günter, is charming. Readers who enjoy steamy historical romance in an outside-the-ordinary setting will enjoy The Promise.