I will preface this by saying that I love Jane Green. I thought that Jemima J, Bookends and The Other Woman were fabulous – far more funny, interesting and thought provoking than a lot of the chick lit I tend to read. But this one just didn’t do it for me.
Promises to Keep is the story of three women – two sisters, Callie and Steff, and their best friend Lila. Steff is the free spirit, a vegan chef who moves to the country (in Connecticut) to dog sit for one of her handsome regular customers. Callie is a mom of two, a breast cancer survivor, with an unbelievably loving husband who also happens to work an incredibly demanding, travel intensive job. Lila had given up on love and children until she met her current British boyfriend.
Additional analysis, including spoilers, after the jump.
This book is about the choices each of these women make, and how they have decided to live with them. In that sense, it’s fairly interesting. A lot of books are about women who rapidly change their lives out of the blue – reinventing themselves to achieve the life they’ve always wanted. This book was about women who made their choices, and learned to love those choices even when they were hard rather than reinventing themselves.
But on the flip side, Callie’s cancer returns and the book gets really sad, but fairly predictable. Callie helps Steff land her handsome customer as a boyfriend, and encourages Lila to reconsider having children. Steff gets a boyfriend, Lila gets a baby, and Callie passes away. The two surviving women live on, remembering Callie through their legacy relationships (with said BF, and the baby). It was definitely emotional (I cried) but it was ultimately too predictable to be enjoyable. It was based on the real life experience of the author and one of her dying best friends, so the emotions likely ring truer than they would otherwise.