CFBA Blog Tour: Promises to Keep by 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 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.

Andrea’s Comments: I found this sweet,  coming of age story and family drama a rather pleasurable, engaging read. Tatlock is great at disarming even readers with a critical eye and sweeping them into the narrative. I even found my gripes about separated women dating (that is adultery) on Tillie’s lips–great old lady, even if her fatalistic attitude that America is doomed is destroying this country. We’re in a mess because the Church quit fighting, not because the darkness has gotten any darker, but because we stopped shinning so bright.

It is a first person narrative, if for some reason someone has a strong distaste for narrators prone to chatting with you in a cafe rather than allowing you to experience it yourself. Tatlock overcomes this common flaw of first person novels wonderfully. (Note I call it a flaw because  1st Person is supposed to be more intimate, and falling pray to telling usually undermines that intimacy.) Divorced women should take note and decide whether they’re in the mood to escape their own reality or find healing through this family’s experiences.

Anyone particularly touchy about divorcing someone over abuse should be aware, if that is a hot button issue, there’s a risk you’ll throw the book against the wall before you get to the point where she disarms you. BTW, my personal understanding of scripture is that it is moral to leave a spouse to protect your safety and/or your children’s safety. It is not moral to both divorce them and remarry while your spouse is still alive because Jesus said it is adultery to divorce your spouse and remarry save in the case of adultery.  Aside from that, abuse victims are also most likely to choose another abuser. But I can’t comment on how the author handles this without spoiling the end. 🙂

Did I mention this is a page turner and a great read?