Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

The Promises She KeepsThe Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy
Publisher:Thomas Nelson
Publish Date:February 8, 2011
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Christian Fiction

My Review:
Why I read this: I read Erin's first solo novel, Never Let You Go last year and loved it.  When I was offered The Promises She Keeps, I read the blurb and was intrigued and I had to read it.

How is the novel driven: This is tough - I would say plot, but the characters are a strong force in the story as well.

My thoughts: I thought The Promises She Keeps would be a hard book to review, until I started reviewing it and really thinking abou the book. When I finished the book I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I knew I could not put it down and I was enthralled by the book, but at one point I was also perturbed by the book.  So read on and find out what I mean.  And please do read on because I need you to understand that I truly love this book even though I did have a strong dislike reaction at one point.   Also, please remember that this is just my subjective opinion.

What did I like?  Ms. Healy can writes an amazing book and did with The Promises She Keeps, her writing just flows and describes things so well without being wordy.  I loved Promise, Chase, and Chelsea.  Wonderful characters. I was fascinated by the fact that the main character in this novel, Promise has Cystic Fibrosis.  My nephew has Cystic Fibrosis and 6 years ago we had no idea what that disease entailed, and only knew that it existed from the yearly telethon on tv.  Now we do know about it and from what I read in this book Ms. Healy did her research well or she knows someone with CF.  Promise is an amazing character and I welcome this book to educate so many others about this disease and help understand that each year that CF research is funded that people are helping extend CF patient's life.  20 years ago the life expectancy was in the teens, now it is in the 30s.  Wow - that is pretty amazing.

Another main character, Chase, is autistic and I loved the look into his life and his mannerisms and the life of his twin sister, Chelsea who is his primary caretaker.  These two were fascinating characters and I enjoyed reading about them just as much as Promise.  Chase is just amazing, his drawings sound beautiful and his dedication to God is just beautiful.   Chelsea's dedication to Chase is also awe-inspiring.  She sacrifices everything to do what she can for him and that is a beautiful quality in a person.

The plot kept me entranced, I kept turning the pages to see what happened next and I read the last 200 pages in one sitting - that is how involved I was in the book.  Ms. Healy does a marvelous job building up the tension without making it too intense.  You can kind of see where the book is going, but that doesn't hurt how you read the book because you still don't know how it will get there and the ending is still a surprise.

My moment of dislike (and this is a personal opinion) came about 1/3 of the way through the book.  I did not like the character of Porta, which you are not supposed to like her, she is the "bad guy".  The problem was at times I felt such disgust towards this woman that I thought I would put the book down.  The other characters were what pulled me through.  But I think Ms. Healy accomplished something here - a truly bad, "bad guy".  I can't recall in any recent books where I had that strong of a dislike towards a character and I read suspense and serial killer books.  Porta just did not sit right with me as a human being.  One thing I did like was that Ms. Healy could have made her a stereotype of witches, but she did not, she used another friend of Porta's who was a wiccan also as a foil to show that this group is not made up of  bad people, and that Porta is the one bad seed that can make others look bad.  This friend also wanted to help Porta and I liked the friend, but still could find nothing redeeming in Porta.  Porta is the only thing I really did not like in the book.

The supernatural elements of the plot were interesting.  And the linking together of Chase, Chelsea, Promise, Porta and Zack was very well-done.  The good and evil were very obvious and the parallels to the story of Jesus and his sacrifice were very evident.  Ms. Healy does a great job mixing the Christian element into the book without appearing preachy.  It's just natural and it's just there.

All-in-all, The Promises She Keeps is a book that will stay with you after you read it.  It is one you need to absorb when you finish and the beauty of the story starts to come to life the more you think about it.  This one really makes you think and I love the polarization of good and evil.  So many times the evil comes out kind of ho-hum, that is not the case in this book.  If you haven't read Ms. Healy before, I highly recommend this one, it has suspense, love, good and evil and a storyline that won't let you put the book down.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that. 

Promise, a talented young vocalist with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging witch and art collector in search of the goddess who will grant her immortality.

When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that Promise is the one she seeks. But Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and opposes Porta, comes between the women with his mysterious visions and drawings, and plunges everyone into a flesh-and-blood confrontation over the true meaning of eternal life.

About the Author (from her website): 

Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott BellMelody CarlsonColleen CobleBrandilyn CollinsL. B. GrahamRene GutteridgeMichelle McKinney HammondRobin Lee HatcherDenise HildrethDenise HunterRandy IngermansonJane Kirkpatrick, Gilbert Morris, Frank Peretti,Lisa SamsonRandy SingerRobert Whitlow, and many others.
She began working with Ted Dekker in 2002 and edited twelve of his heart-pounding storiesbefore their collaboration on Kiss, the first novel to seat her on “the other side of the desk.”

Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She lives with her family in Colorado.

***I received this book from Amy Currie at Phenix and Phenix Publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***