Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review: Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock

Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 354
Released: 2011
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5


Janis Anthony took her three children, and with the help of her father fled her abusive and alcoholic husband. Her father set her up in a small, modest home and hoped this would be a turning point for his daughter and grandchildren. When Janis sends her son out to get the morning paper, he tells his mother that someone is sitting on their balcony. Janis addresses the older woman and she discovers that she was the previous owner. Tilly’s son sold the home without her permission and placed her in a retirement home, now that she has recovered from hip surgery she has no intention of dying in an old folks home, and she fully intends to die in the home that she built with her late-husband. Tilly’s son eventually comes to bring her back to the home, but Tilly manages to keep escaping. When Janis realizes that she will need a sitter for the children while she is at work, she offers Tilly a place in their home. A spunky Tilly jumps at the chance to move back home, and take care of the two youngest girls.


Promises to Keep was nothing like I expected. Since the book was published by Bethany House I expected an inspirational, Christian fiction read but I found something completely different. While the subject matter is difficult, it’s not depressing. Tilly is a great character; she’s humorous and lightens the situation. She’s full of wisdom and not afraid to state her opinion. The story is a coming of age novel about Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony. Her and Tilly form a strong relationship, and Roz is trying to decipher her feelings for her father. She understands why her mother had to make the choices she did, but despite knowing her father’s faults-she still misses him and loves him. It hurts her to hear the negative stories about her father, and see her mother flinch when someone mentions his name. Roz struggles with remembering the good times, and blocking the bad memories. When her best friend spills a secret about her real parents, the girls make a pact to help each other get their daddies back.

I really enjoyed this novel, and the ending was nothing like I expected, especially from Bethany House. I’m sorry that I put off reading this book for so long. I was thoroughly captivated from the opening lines. Ann Tatlock blew me away, and wrote a story that evoked many different emotions in me. Promises to Keep is a memorable and spellbinding read that I highly recommend.


  1. Sounds like a great story. I have not heard of this author before, I will be seeing if I can pick this book up soon!

  2. An uplifting story, it seems, with a happy ending. There should be more of these!

  3. This does sound great. I have been pleasantly surprised by books from religious publishers, and I love books that include older protagonists for a change. I'll be looking for this one; thanks for highlighting it!

  4. Yay for unexpected endings, I love being surprised:) And I love books that grab me from page even more! Sounds like a fantastic read Jennifer!

  5. I love it when a book is totally unexpected and knocks my socks off as a reader, so I can relate to your love for this book. It sounds like something that I would really love, and since I love edgy Christian fiction, I think this one is a must read. Excellent review today!

  6. I read and loved this one too. And I really liked Tilly's character. She grounded the family.

  7. This one sounds adorable. Tilly sounds like a fun and spunky character.

  8. It's been a long time since I read Christian fiction; I'd grown tired of the whole preaching to the choir kind of thing. Seems like they've gotten better since then.

  9. I've got to read this one soon!

  10. This one surprised me too when I read it. So much better than the typical inspy novels that usually come from Bethany House. I'm currently reading Ann's latest novel, Traveler's Rest, and it's just as good, if not better. She writes with such emotional honesty and depth.

    1. Oh,thanks! I didn't know she had a new book out. I'll have to add it to my wish list.

  11. The plot sounds so interesting, and it sounds like it discusses some really important topics. I like that it focuses on how the child still loves her father and is hurt at hearing bad things about him... that happens all the time in real life!