Finished: Apr. 27, 2011
First Published: Feb. 8, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: thriller, Christian fiction, magical realism, supernatural
In the silence of night, sounds of life have a greater chance of being heard.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.
Reason for Reading: I am a fan of the author.
Fantastic! This is Erin Healy's best book to date. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't let go until I reached the end. This book revolves around three sets of characters and is more character driven than plot driven. Though the plot is a very strange and eerie tale that turns into something so much more. Ultimately the story is about love (from a Christian pov "God is love") and everlasting life. However, the book can be read by anyone as the Christian elements are under the surface and can simply be read as magical realism by non-Christian readers. For Christian readers though, it is a beautiful story of what love and death truly mean.
The story follows three individual sets of characters until they all wind up involved with each other in direct or indirect ways. The book starts off with Chase and his sister Chelsea, young 30's twins who live together. Chase is an autistic man and Chelsea has devoted her life to taking care of him. Chase is a wonderful artist who draws trees using any type of white media on black paper. He has also memorized 4 versions of the Bible and likes to quote from it, especially the passages about trees. He has suddenly changed his routine, highly unusual for an autistic, and is drawing trees especially for strangers which he then goes out to the newly opened art gallery to give them to the people he drew them for.
The gallery's owner, Porta, is an elderly self-centred woman whose seventy-third birthday is fast approaching and is also a practicing witch. She has just moved to town after having a falling out with the ladies in her former coven. She is now striking out on her own. All her life she has been seeking the person whose blood can bring immortality to anyone they choose. Her son thinks she is crazy and is totally against all she stands for, though he does know the power she has. Of course, growing up with a mother who has never showed him any love has turned Zack into a weak man, addicted to drugs and alcohol. Zack is a bit of an artist himself and meets Promise through the art class he attends.
Promise is a young woman with cystic fibrosis who is determined to become a singer to get her bit of fame before she dies but she becomes noticed in a much more infamous way. Once Promise meets Zack she survives a series of what should have been fatal accidents virtually unharmed. This brings her to the attention of Porta who thinks she has finally found the source for immortality. Chase also seeks out Promise as he has drawn her a picture and falls in love with her.
All these people come together in a thrilling story of evil vs good. The story is a little eerie at times and the plot is certainly intriguing. The unexpected ending was not what I had hoped for but was satisfying for this reader and beautiful within the Christian context of the story. I'm impressed with Ms. Healy's progress. Her debut solo book Never Let You Go was good, but The Promises She Keeps is great!