Jonathan’s Promise by Hans Hirschi is a solid proof of what makes him into the excellent author that he is today. Hans is known as the Queen of unconventional endings, and boy is that God’s honest truth!
It’s always with an emotion of delight filled terror that one embarks on a book journey with the Hirschi. With most other books, if it’s a good book like Jonathan’s Promise, that captures your attention on page two and holds you there, you usually can’t wait to get to the end. You get the same experience with Jonathan’s Promise but at the same time the closer you get to the end the more nervous you get, because you never know with Hans what way the pendulum will swing.
I love those kind of endings, no I love those kind of books, some of the best books I’ve read in my life have been bittersweet, and I think Hans does too. I recently gifted Hans with a book that is very bittersweet, and that is one of the best books I’ve ever read, Memorizing You by Dan Skinner. When Hans was done reading it his first message to me was, It’s official I hate you!
When someone you know, who actually doesn’t hate you, says that to you it is easy to know that you, or in this case the book, has gotten them good! This is exactly what, the Jonathan books and Jonathan’s Promise did to me. (Payback is a bitch, Hans! Payback. Is. A. Bitch!)
Jonathan’s Promise has a way of etching itself to your heart bit by bit, slow burning at first, and then right when you are at the ultimate high, soaring and flying sky high, something happens that shifts your world upside down. Hans can have you crying and laughing at the same time, also, you sit there at the end with your heart and insides in your hands and are happy about it because you know there was nowhere else for this book to go than where he took it. It would have been a crime to have done it any other way.
Hans is a mastermind at creating characters that instantly feel like people who you’ve known for all your life. I can honestly say that I often sit back after reading his books and wish I could write half as well as he does. It looks so effortless, and I know it isn’t, and I don’t begrudge him any of his success in any shape, way or form because it has all taken a lot of hard work to achieved and is so well earned. But it makes you wonder how his mind works when his plot bunnies appear. What goes on in his head? How do the characters talk to him? I can sorta see him pondering along, talking to himself.
Jonathan’s Promise is foremost about four people, Cody, Parker, Jonathan and Marc all of them have an equally important part of make this story into what it is. There are several side characters that not only are important for this tale but also bring a lot of value to the story too. as First, there is the Captain of the cruise line ship on which Parker, Cody, and Jonathan embark on their journey together. He stands for, what someone who knows Hans, called ‘Swedishness’ (Debbie McGowan’s word not mine but I love it and just had to borrow it) and Swedish (or in this case Norwegian) values of treating people equal, that rules are meant to be broken even though in the end, he can’t grant the wish/favor Jonathan ask of him because of headquarters’ rules. There is also a female Mayor (even if that is more European than typical Scandinavian) and the fact that she’s a woman isn’t just a random act or the scandalous wedding that takes place between Jonathan and Emilie, where the couple decides to take her last name and not his, God forbid!
All these things are there for a purpose, they might seem as small and trivial things but they are important details, and as Hans himself says, they have all been put there very consciously and with great reason. I think some of those things are to push boundaries, to make us think about how our own part of the world looks like, what we still have to achieve and also Hans own political ideas of what a “perfect or imperfect” world looks like.
Jonathan’s Promise is of just that, keeping promises and to never ever give up. To fight for what you want and what you believe in, spite everything else, even spite of or maybe because of your past. To realize who do your life your life for, others or yourself? And does other’s, inform of family and good friends, have the right to interfere with your happiness?
Lastly, I don’t think Hans realizes how talented he is, the quality of well thought out stories he provides in his books but also how amazingly they reflect reality and therefore means so much more to the literature world than the average LGBT book.
Not that the overall LGBT books aren’t important too but that there are those authors, such as Dan Skinner and Hans Hirschi, that will help put LGBT books up there with other classics written by other amazing talented men and women such as Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronë did for women in the 17th and 18th century, Harriet Beecher Stow did with her Uncle Tom’s Cabin to show the truth and reality for slaves in the United States during the 18th century.
As a woman that’s what I’ve always missed in hetero books, women I can relate too, unless you count Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë which is funny since their books are hundred of years old and women in books today pale in comparison to those back then. Besides those kind of women, I feel more connected to Jonathan and feel as if I have more in common with him than many female characters I have encountered in my life by reading books. This proves not only that Hans characters are diverse but what sexuality a person has really isn’t that important, who they chose to love or simply screw has nothing to do with what their person brings to the table.
So, Hans I hate you too, because I am still bleeding all over this one, my heart still prickles in pain as I write this but at the same time I have to thank you for sharing this amazing series with us and I can’t wait for Jonathan’s Legacy to be out so I can be kicked in the gut again!
Dreamer, Writer, Reader and Metal Head.