Monday, April 4, 2011

Promises To Keep by Ann Tatlock

Promises to Keep is family drama at its best. From page one, the exquisitely written characters wind their way into your

heart and mind, until you become a member of the family. I revisited my girlhood with Roz and Mara, linking little fingers

in "pinky promises" and shared secrets.

Told from eleven-year-old Roz's perspective, the complexity of emotion is deep as she struggles to understand family

dynamics. Tillie is a story unto herself. To say she's a character is an understatement. She's a hoot, adds some gentle

humor to the saga, and is the kind of character all writers love to discover. Ann Tatlock is a master storyteller, one of

the best, and in Promises to Keep, she outdid even herself.

Janis Anthony and her children Wally, Roz and Valerie leave their home in Minnesota and move to the town of Mills River

with the hope of a new start away from an abusive situation. Janis has the promise of a job working in her stepmothers

department store, and along with that job Janis' father has secured a house for them on McDowell Street. After living in

the house for less than a week, they find an elderly lady sitting on the porch reading the Sunday paper. Turns out that

lady is Tillie Monroe, whose only hope is to "die"in the home she and her husband built. Tillie moves in and soon becomes

a member of the family. Meanwhile Roz makes her first friend Mara Nightingale, who has a complicated family life, which

includes a secret about her father. The girls decide to make a Daddy Deal, where they pray daily that they will each be

reunited with their father. Roz thinks her prayers just might be answered when she finds out that her father is in town,

he tells her that he has plans to come home, but makes her swear not to tell anyone that he is even in town. Mara is sure

that Roz needs to tell her mother, but Roz wants her family together, and holds onto the hope that her father has really


Ann Tatlock is a new to me author, whose writing style draws you into the story immediately. As the story unfolded I

actually felt like I was a part of the family that I was reading about. As the story unfolds thru the eyes of eleven year

old Roz, I found myself hoping right along with Roz that her father really had changed.Roz's friend Mara was quite like

able as well, and because they had quite a bit in common, I enjoyed seeing her story unfold as well. My favorite character

had to be Tillie Monroe! A seventy year old who has an unwavering faith in God, and is just what the Anthony's need. She

easily reminds us that it isn't always blood ties that make a family.

This is such a good book that I hate to give away any more of the plot. Too often, I find that books of this type are

so formulaic. They're enjoyable to read, but it's easy to predict the ending. In this case, the plot was riveting, and

the ending stunning and surprising. I went to bed thinking of the characters -- they were so well-developed that they

seemed like real people -- indeed, friends -- to me.

    Read an insert here

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

Amydeanne said...

I really enjoyed this book too! Great review!

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