Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: Promises to Keep

Promises to Keep

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.

My Comments:
When parents divorce, kids often feel caught in the middle, and Roz is no different. She remembers the abuse that drove her mother to leave her father, but she also remembers the good in her Dad and is thrilled when contacts her and starts seeing her without her mother's knowledge.  Mara's secret is that her "parents" are her grandparents and that she is the product of an affair between an older white man and a young black woman--and this book is set in the early 1960's.  Most of the book deals with these girls moving from fantasy to reality about these men.

The book is Christian fiction but for the first half of the book you'd never guess as there was no mention of God, religion, church etc.  Tillie is the one who brings faith into the story, at first in subtle ways like teaching the baby the Our Father and sharing in amusement that the baby said "Our father, its hot in heaven". She more explicitly teaches about Jesus later in the book but never in an overwhelming manner.  Grade:  B

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

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