The Promise by Casey Kelleher

the-promise-by-caseyTwo sisters. One murder. And an unbreakable bond.

Growing up in squalor with their drug-addicted prostitute mother, sisters Georgie and Marnie Parker have had to endure the very darkest side of life.

When their mother is sentenced for brutally murdering a client, Georgie and Marnie’s already precarious lives are blown apart and they now share a terrible secret. Sent to a children’s home, the sisters hope this might finally be their safe haven after years of neglect. But they soon discover they’re in real danger.

Desperate to find a place of safety, Georgie and Marnie run for their lives, but end up in the hands of Delray Anderton. A violent London gangster and notorious pimp, Delray has big plans for beautiful teenager Georgie, seeing her as a chance to make some serious money.

Fiercely protective of each other, Georgie and Marnie must escape the clutches of a man who will do anything to keep the sisters for himself. And, they must keep the promise they made to each other – no one can ever know the truth.


The Promise by Casey Kelleher tells the story of the three Parker girls. Josie is a single mother with two daughters, Georgie (12) and Marnie (5). The three live in extreme poverty. Worse still, their house is pretty messed up. It is filthy with the girls’ bedroom being described as permanently being occupied by a strong smell of piss. Their living situation is made worse by the fact that Josie is a prostitute who entertains clients while her daughters are locked in the next bedroom. The girls are not spared from the noises coming from their mother’s room so you can imagine the horror which they had to endure every night. Apart from the Parkers, there is another young woman, Javine Turner, trying to better herself. However, she ends up making some decisions which get her caught up in a dark world of pimps and human traffickers.

This book is quite well written and easy to get into. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The writing is compelling despite the heavy themes. There were a number of incidents that made me quite uncomfortable but I still couldn’t stop turning the pages. The world in which the women are stuck in is just nasty and the misery seems unending. Apart from the writing(which I really, really liked), the other reason that kept me reading is that I just wanted to find out if the girls had a good ending to their sad stories.  I mean, the misery had to end at some point, right?

The female characters and especially the Parkers made the story even more compelling. The young girls were so likeable and so it was hard to read about what they were going through. My feelings about Josie and Javine changed from chapter to chapter though I did see the two characters transform through the pages. I kept thinking about their circumstances. Was it their fault that they got caught up in the life that they were living? Or was it just fate? Do people decide to go into some of these ‘professions’ or does the need to survive force them to make these decisions? This book definitely gave me a lot to think about.

A tough read but very well-written so definitely recommended.


18 thoughts on “The Promise by Casey Kelleher

  1. Great review Diana! This sounds like a pretty dark read but it’s always fun when the writing keeps you engaged and turning the pages quickly:)

    1. Thanks Renee.Yeah the writing made this such a great read.Everything worked well,even the pacing.I don’t think that I would have read a book with such heavy themes if the writing was ish ish.

    1. Hey Jackie, I think I was intrigued by the blurb and the story of the two girls and I was curious about the promise. The book is also published by Bookouture who are my favourite publishers:-)

        1. I’ve always loved FC2, a small press that only accepts authors in two ways 1) submit to the yearly contest and get published, or 2) have someone who’s already an FC2 author recommend your book to be read by the head honchos. However, I did suddenly realize today that I can’t think of a single FC2 author of color. That’s really bothering me right now.

          I also really like Featherproof Press. They’re snappy. They used to have stories you could print stories on their website that fold into origami. It’s another very small press. Their books tend to be a bit experimental and, I’ve noticed lately, lean toward YA.

  2. I’m thinking you and Annie over at The Misstery are reading the same books, because the two of you keep coming out with reviews of the same titles within a few days of each other!

    In both of your reviews, I must confess I don’t get the focus of this book. What exactly is the secret the sisters are keeping at any cost? It seems like that part gets lost to the plot of a pimp trying to enslave them in a prostitution ring. Also, the part about the mother committing murder seems to disappear. Maybe those two plot points DON’T disappear in the book, but they don’t seem to be a big point in either your or Annie’s book reviews! #confused

    1. Annie and I like thrillers so sometimes we end up reading the same books. She tells me when she sees something that she thinks I would like and vice versa. Sometimes, I just get ideas for books to read based on her reviews.

      The secret and the murder are a big part of the book. However, that is where the reveal/twist lies so it is hard to say much about both without spoiling the book for those who haven’t read it. The secret is also what changed my opinion about the characters and especially the mother who I didn’t like at all at first. So they are both very key parts in the book 🙂

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