March 1, 2016 – Kathryn gave it 4/5 stars on the Novel Escapes blog:
This one took me by surprise, I didn’t read the blurb very carefully and I’m sort of glad I didn’t. It’s a challenging read emotionally but so full of promise in moments that I was engrossed and riveted until the very end.
The novel focusses on Ros and husband Grady. There are other characters but they’re there to move scenes or give a bit of background. Usually bit players without much focus make me question their relevance and cause me frustration but in Outback Promise, though they hover in the background, Bolitho had them be supportive to the main plot. This is the first novel of Maggie Bolitho’s that I’ve read and I really enjoyed her writing. There wasn’t a moment where I was questioning anything which is always a great treat when you’ve picked up something new. I loved the plot lines of the novel, the past and present chapters were perfectly placed and paced the novel with the right information at the times when you needed it and I also loved reading about the places on the road trip and the intricacies of the caravan/camping parks along their route.
I wish we’d had a bit more history for Ros and her mother- there were things hinted at and explained but I wish we’d had a bit more information there. It obviously greatly influenced the way Ros saw herself.
The story line is tragic, it’s hard to read and, at times, it’s emotionally draining. There are scenes of such anguish that I found myself reading through tears and many a moment I carried with me into the next day- when I looked at my kids and when I thought about those I’ve lost. Though heart-wrenching Outback Promise also manages to live up to its’ title- the promise to another person and the promise of a fresh start became uplifting and they sorrow somehow forces you to take stock and not take for granted what’s right in front of your nose.
Feb 23, 2016 Jina Howell-Forbes rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads
Reading this book was an emotional roller-coaster. Two people, married to each other, find they have completely different responses to extreme trauma. These divergent responses push the couple father and farther apart. Their marriage is on very rocky ground when the husband decides to try something desperate to bring them back together. So begins a three month odyssey through the Australian Outback. They camp they have adventures and they survive dangerous situations with only each other to depend on. The story moves between the trip, the traumatic event that occurred six years earlier, and some of the events that caused the crumbling of the marriage.
This story is extremely well written. The things that happened to both of these people were excruciatingly painful, and were described with exceptional skill. Equally gripping were the compelling descriptions of the Outback, including the flora and fauna, the storms, and the people they met along the way.
This is not an easy read. As you prepare for a journey through the Outback, prepare for a journey through your own emotions, and be open to looking at a troubled marriage from both sides. The relationship issues that the story raises may keep you thinking, questioning and rethinking for a long time. You might want to convince a friend to read it, since it can be helpful to have someone to bounce ideas around with.
Feb 10, 2016 Lily Malone rated it 4/5 stars on Amazon & GoodReads
[…] The feeling of anonymity of […] camping life, and the coming and going of campers who can bare their souls over an evening meal and drink and feel like life-long friends, then disappear next day never to be seen again, felt very familiar.
If I call the 'ending' the scenes in Darwin - then this is where the book became brilliant for me. This is where the two characters really unload all the emotion that has been buried between them for six years, since the death of their son. That includes the husband's betrayal, but also the wife's betrayal (as her husband saw it).
The emotional context of Outback Promise is excellent. I could feel for all the characters involved and understand all the perspectives put forward.
It was only at the end that I cried, during description of the video trailer Grady had put together. This is where the empathy in me as a mother of young boys came to the fore.
I thought Outback Promise was brilliantly written. Very well edited - I can turn a blind eye to mistakes in e-books but you won't have to with this one - it's really well done.
February 5, 2016 - Christine rated it 5/5 stars on Amazon
If I could, I would give this book 6 stars! It was so well written with such raw emotion, I could feel the mother’s pain. It’s a situation that is a mother’s worse nightmare, and although the death of a child is something that you can never get over, the parents’ emotionally journey through this nightmare was so interesting and heart-breaking and the physical journey through the harsh outback so fitting. I loved this book and congrats to the author :)
February 2, 2016 - Brenda Telford gave it 5/5 stars on Amazon and GoodReads
[...] I thoroughly enjoyed Outback Promise by Aussie author Maggie Bolitho. This is my first by this author and I was very impressed. Deeply emotional, heart wrenchingly sad at times, it was also filled with hope and love. Well-crafted characters, flawed and never perfect make this novel an excellent read, and one I have no hesitation in recommending highly.