I have read and enjoyed several of Jane Green’s previous novels — Jemima J especially, but also The Other Woman and Bookends — but I haven’t read any of her more recent books. When I saw her most recent book, Promises to Keep, on the new releases shelf at the library I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately with heavier subject material, so I thought a lighter read would be just the thing to cleanse the ol’ reader’s palate, as it were.
I certainly did not expect to be crying my eyes out 15 minutes after closing the book when the message of the book hit me. Not that it is a completely sad story – which I don’t want to describe too much at the risk of giving it away – but it is a personal one for Jane Green and I think she did a wonderful job.
The story is centered around two sisters – Callie and Steffi. Callie is the almost-stereotypical suburban woman — taking care of her kids and her workaholic husband while running a photography business from her home. Steffi is 33 but to her family still hasn’t grown up and settled down. It seemed to be a typical “chick lit” (and I admittedly do not like that term) plot, but then something happens that impacts the lives of the sisters and those closest to them — Callie’s husband and two young children; the sisters’ divorced parents, Walter and Honor; and Callie’s best friend Lila. It is here that the story takes an bittersweet turn and I literally could not put the book down until I reached the last page (thank goodness for lazy Saturday mornings).
As I put the book down and started to think about it, I was overwhelmed by the amount of emotion Jane Green put into these characters. And though it had me tearing up, sadness is not what it’s all about; there is a good sprinkling of humor throughout as well, along with some really tempting recipes (Steffi is a chef, and there is a recipe at the end of each chapter for a particular dish described in the narrative).
I highly recommend this novel. I haven’t read Jane Green for a few years, but she’s back on my must-read list.