I hate to admit it, but I am getting old. I remember the days when I could stay up late into the night reading, and reading, and reading. Now, I am lucky if I don’t fall asleep before ten! On Monday evening, however, I managed to stay up well past my bedtime; I just couldn’t put my book down. I am glad to say that the book was well worth the loss of sleep, and I closed the cover with a contented sigh somewhere around 11:30. I hope you are wondering the title of this book: it is Ann Tatlock’s Promises to Keep, and it is a delight.
I enjoyed this book from the first page. Eleven-year-old Roz Anthony, her mother, and her siblings have moved to Mills River, Illinois to escape Roz’s abusive father. Less than a week after moving into their new home, they find a stranger on the porch. An elderly lady named Tillie is reading the paper, and she immediately claims the house is hers. Soon, her son shows up to take her back to the nursing home, but Tillie will not be deterred. It is her house, and she aims to die there. Mrs. Anthony quickly accepts Tillie’s presence because she needs the help, and Tillie becomes part of the family. Meanwhile, Roz misses her father terribly and begins to see him around town. She is afraid to share this with her family, so she confides in her new friend Mara who has family issues of her own. Roz and Mara pledge to keep each other’s secrets, and they vow to restore the broken relationships within their families.
Set in the 1960’s, Promises to Keep is a heartwarming novel. Although the social issues of the 60’s are not a prominent feature of the book, they provide depth and a perfect backdrop for the story. I loved how Ann Tatlock developed and portrayed the friendship between Roz and Mara (Roz is white; Mara is biracial), and Tillie’s amazing personality jumps off the pages. Although the ending was somewhat predictable, I felt so involved with the characters that I could not put the book down. I truly enjoyed this story, and I highly recommend it to you.
I haven’t read Ann Tatlock’s other books, but former contributors Lisa and Melissa have reviewed her works. Since Promises to Keep was so well written, I plan to add Every Secret Thing and The Returning to my reading list as well!
Lauren is a wife, mother of two, and an avid reader. She thanks Revell Publishing for the review copy of this book. Lauren blogs at Baseballs and Bows.