“Promises to Keep” by Ann Tatlock was a free eBook I received. It took a little while for me to get around to picking it up and reading it, but the more I read, the more captivated I became. This was a very enjoyable book.
The novel is narrated by Roz, a young girl that is struggling to understand why her mom moved her and her siblings far away from their dad, despite the fact that most of the memories that Roz has of her father are tainted with fear. It was interesting to see how idealistic she could be, despite having been witness to the terror that her father inflicted on her family. She just has a complete blind spot when it came to her father.
After moving to this new town, Roz and her family soon find their home being invaded by a crazy old lady named Tilly. She was an outrageous character that you couldn’t help being fond of from the very beginning. “The strange woman’s profile was framed in the passenger window, and for a moment I almost felt sorry for the old lady who was being hauled back to the home against her will. It seemed a sad way to finish up a life.” (Promises to Keep, pg 15). We learn that Tilly’s husband and herself built the house Roz and family moved into and when Tilly broke her hip, her son sold the house and put her in assisted living. Tilly refuses to accept that she no longer owns the house, and eventually everyone stops fighting against her and just lets Tilly do what she is going to do.
Tilly is a great character. She brought a different perspective into Roz’s life and a wisdom that you only develop after spending a lot of time living. “People look for greatness only in the extraordinary and completely overlook the wonder of the ordinary. That’s why those moments are all forgotten, counted as nothing. It’s a terrible loss.” (Promises to Keep, pg 116). I liked how Ann Tatlock used Tilly to bring up faith. I have my beliefs, but I tend to steer away from books that spout parts of the Bible like a geyser. It just gets to be too much. But Tilly is a character that I very quickly liked, and so when she expressed her thoughts and feelings on faith, it didn’t feel forced – it was just part of who Tilly was, and that is missing from a lot of other books that try to write a story about God. This was a story about a broken family trying to pick up and start again – the people they encounter afterwards are part of the natural flow of the story and Tilly and her faith go hand in hand with that.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I think that this was a great read. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially someone with a bit of a crisis on his or her hands. There was something calming about following these characters, and Tilly especially was such a great character. I was very impressed and would definitely pick up more of Ann Tatlock’s work.