Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock is different than much of the fiction that I've read recently. It's what I would call "literature." I think the back of the book calls it "contemporary fiction." In other words ... it's not simply a romance ... there's a bit more going on.
The story is told from the perspective of 11-year-old Roz Anthony. She and her family have just moved to Illinois to get away from her father, whom she misses very much. She doesn't understand why they had to leave her father and desperately wants him to be part of their family again. She befriends another girl in her class who has her own "daddy issues" and they become fast friends. Many other "minor" plot lines weave in and out of this "main" story and enhance what Roz is going through.
A few times I wished that the author would speed through a particular conversation or scene to get to another point, but for the most part the story flows really well. Also as likeable as Tillie (Roz's surrogate grandmother) is, Roz's mom got on my nerves for most of the book. I felt like she should just wake up and snap out of it! But ... the author's rendition of this character is probably a little more true-to-life than my wishful thinking. I also felt that the blurb on the back of the book was a bit misleading. I picked up the book thinking it would be suspenseful and somewhat action-packed, but that was certainly not the case.
Overall, I felt like this was a well written and enjoyable novel.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my fair and honest review.
About the Book
Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper. Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life and somehow manages to find her way "home" day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz's mother allows Tillie to move back in.
Mara Nightingale becomes Roz's first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together--both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise--"cross my heart and hope to die"--never to tell anyone else.
When danger stalks the Anthonys, Tillie exhibits unimaginable courage and selfless love in her determination to protect the family she has adopted as her own.
A mother fleeing unspeakable danger to keep her children safe...
Two young girls guarding secrets in a "cross my heart and hope to die" pledge...
A father desperate to be reunited with his family...
Award-winning author Ann Tatlock skillfully blends her well-drawn characters into an inspiring tale of unimaginable courage and selfless love.
About the Author
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy Award-winning novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina. Visit www.anntatlock.com.