The Promises series:
- Keeping Promise Rock (book #1) – 5 stars
- Making Promises (book #2) – 5 stars
- Living Promises (book #3) – 5 stars
- Forever Promised (book #4) – in this review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon’s world, but nothing ever stays the same.
When Deacon’s best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him—she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.
Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them—everybody is forced to examine the chances they’ve been given and the promises they’ve made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.
So what did I think?
Reading this book was like visiting with old friends. I felt like I was attending a family reunion and finding out what everyone had been up to and what directions their lives were heading in. And as with any family gathering, there were family members I wanted to spend lots of time with and others less so. Every now and then I would read a passage and remember an event from an earlier book in the series, a bit like a real memory, reminding me of the characters histories – and the characters do feel very real.
What I did find with reading this book was, although there was happiness, there was also a real sense of melancholy – not sure if that is actually the right word I want to use but it wasn’t one of those all warm-and-fuzzy books. There were moments of worry and sadness as much like life, things don’t always go smoothly and we don’t always get what we want. There is loss, pain, sadness and death together with moments of tenderness and joy.
The specialness of this series lies in the reminder it provides about the value of friendship and love.
“And again, and again. Breath after heartbeat, summer, fall, winter, spring – and it all came back to this, this place, this moment. It came to beginnnings and endings, of promises you made and promises you kept and promises that got broken in spite of your best intentions. It came to fixing what shattered, making do with what wouldn’t fix, and building again and hoping, hoping for this moment, when everything was as shiny and perfect as a baby’s first cry.
It’s why they all gathered here, weddings, funerals, the introduction of their son – it was the promise and the heartbreak of the place Deacon’s family called home. It was the legacy of a community, a simple swimming hole, a place made sacred by love.
For more information about Amy Lane and her books, visit her website.