Thursday, February 10, 2011

Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promises to Keep
Bethany House (February 1, 2011)
Ann Tatlock


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.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promises to Keep, go HERE.

My Thoughts:

“You can trust God for what’s to come. He’s a good Father.” (p.341)

Oh reader! You don’t want to miss Roz Anthony’s coming of age story! Ann Tatlock is a master of telling stories that take the reader from a point of almost unbearable hurt to a gentle place of grace without missing a single nuance of the growing and changing that must take place along the way. In this story, eleven-year-old Roz is the touch-point of all that takes place, and as we view the confusion, hurt, and difficult choices of the adults in her life through the lens of her unwavering trust, life takes on an innocence that is almost painful to look upon.

The character of Tillie Monroe is the perfect counter balance to the other characters in the story, and her bold, confident way of loving others and speaking truth go a long way in helping the Anthony family heal and find wholeness at the end of their journey. You won’t ever forget Tilly! Danger is ever lurking in the shadows of this family’s life as they attempt a new start in a new town, and Roz has to learn some very painful lessons in trust as the story progresses. The tension builds as the reader nears the end, and the climax of the story proves to be a bittersweet reminder of the transition we all must go through at some point in our lives.

Promises to Keep contains a realistic look at many different heart conditions in life’s journey. The characters are believably flawed, and their search for peace is one that will be familiar to all that read their tale. This story came to me at a time in my own life that I needed to be reminded of God’s goodness in the midst of the storm. He IS a good Father, all of the time, and I CAN trust Him for whatever lies ahead.

Watch the book trailer:

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