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Promises to Keep: A Novel Hardcover – June 15, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Green's 12th novel, Callie Perry is a happily married photographer with two wonderful kids, a lovable sister, Steffi, and a best friend, Lila. Problems are minor: Steffi can never settle down, Lila has finally found love but the guy has a nightmare of an ex, and Callie and Steffi's divorced parents haven't spoken in 30 years. But then Callie, a breast cancer survivor, is diagnosed with a rare and incurable complication of the disease. Suddenly realizing that she has only months to live, she begins the painful process of saying good-bye. While the subject matter is intense and personal, it's far from depressing; the characters are warm, funny and realistic. Green (The Beach House) manages to create an authentic tale of a woman who truly loves her life and family and is trying to do the right thing for them before she dies. While Green breaks up her chapters with recipes (presumably because Steffi is a cook), this peculiar modern conceit in women's literature feels like a misstep. Overall, Green once again delivers an enjoyable emotional story. (June)
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From Booklist

Callie Perry seems to have it all: a handsome husband she adores, two adorable children, and a thriving business as a portrait photographer. A battle with breast cancer four years ago only made her marriage to Reece stronger, but the couple faces a major setback when agonizing headaches and a frightening blackout send Callie back to the hospital soon after celebrating her forty-third birthday. While Callie's oncologist tries to determine if her cancer has returned, her family rallies around her. Her younger sister, Steffi, a successful chef, has recently traded a fast-paced life in New York City for a quieter one in Sleepy Hollow in order to reassess her priorities. Callie and Steffi's father, Warren, has barely been able to be in the same room with their mother, Honor, since she left him; but news of Callie's plight brings him rushing to her bedside. Inspired by a friend's battle with cancer, Green's story definitely has the emotional heart and resonance to hook readers of women's fiction. --Kristine Huntley

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021796
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not as big of a fan of Jane Green's books now as I used to be. Jane Green's earlier books -- Jemima J or Mr. Maybe, for example -- were what I would classify as classic, high-end "chick lit." They were generally about young, single women struggling to find their place in the world....but they were also sharp and funny and witty and heartfelt. Jane Green's fiction today is what I would classify as "women's fiction" with much more "mature" themes about marriage, infidelity, parenting, illness (probably reflecting the author's own different place in life). While there is nothing wrong with those subjects, in my opinion her writing has lost some of the sharp wit and fun of her earlier books. That said, she speaks in a voice that is uniquely hers. I think I could identify one of her novels after reading a single chapter without seeing the title page. And her characters continue to be, for the most part, very sincere and relatable. At the same time, her current books tend to be more depressing and more "inspirational" in subject matter. This book is no exception. I have no real objection to well-written books about difficult subject matters like serious illness, it's just not what drew me to Jane Green and not what I am hoping for when I pick up her books.
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Format: Hardcover
I've only read a couple books by Jane Green and was not impressed but this book was unbelievably good! Granted I am nearly 9 months pregnant and have a toddler of my own but this book had me bawling. I was so invested in the characters and what happened to each that I almost couldn't finish the book out of fear of what would happen. Steff is your typical chick lit, flighty character and you can pretty much predict what would happen to her in the end. Still the story was written in such a way that it will keep you engaged and hoping for a happy ending for all of the main characters. Callie's husband at first had me guessing if he was going to go the route of the busy working husband who would turn out to be a cheater or a loving husband that would be there no matter what.

The other nice thing about this book was each chapter opens up with a recipe. Some of them sounded so tasty I may just have to try them out myself. Really there wasn't anything I actively disliked about this story. The only slightly negative thing I can say is much of the story is predictable but I find that true of all chick lit books. This is definitely a must read book but have a few tissues on hand.
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By Mare on January 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Okay, first off, I know that writing a book is incredibly hard work. And so not easy to do. So Kudos to Green on her successful career.


[SPOILER ALERT - spoilers coming up.]

Can you say, "hackneyed"? Even on page 157, Green is still delivering pandering, expository dialogue: "If you weren't my sister..." The character who is dying says "I'm scared" about 8500 times; her loved ones (all 10 of them; yeah, I'd love that many close friends!) echo this about 1500 times; the woman who moves to the country has to tell us how happy she is about 2,000 times. Oh, yes, and we have to be reminded that the vegan chef is a vegan -- about 25 times.

And what really riled me was the character of Lila -- who is 43, and not interested in having kids. At first, I thought, "Thank you! Finally, a real character," -- but then Green goes down the road that every conservative sitcom (including "Sex and the City") has traveled: successful, headstrong woman doesn't want kids, then "accidentally" gets pregnant, then -- oh yes -- she's THRILLED to be a mommy. Barf.

Note to all writers: There's nothing wrong with having an abortion, and not every woman who gets knocked up has this "magical" transformation. I'm sick of seeing female characters get magically transformed by pregnancy. How about a real woman for a change?

Most of the characters are not characters, but caricatures -- the "rumpled" always-wrinkled-suit-wearing hot guy in publishing; his well-to-do-snobby-to-everyone wife.

If you must read this, borrow it from the library.
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Format: Hardcover
I have previously talked about love Green's books because I can relate to her characters. No matter if she was writing about a single girl, newlywed, or happily married woman, I found bits of the character that I enjoyed. In "Promises to Keep," the author writes about three women. One a happily unattached girl, one happily committed, and one happily married. I was not able to relate to any one of them.

In this story it felt like Green forgot what made real, interesting women, and instead turned to stereotypes to create her leading ladies. Steffi meets every "single girl" stereotype there is. She's unable to keep a job for long, dates guys that are horrible for her, and floats along in life. Lila, who has given up on having children [spoiler alert]suddenly finds herself unexpectedly pregnant[/spoiler alert]. Green talks so often about how happy Callie's perfect relationship is that I start to roll my eyes. I just couldn't get behind these ladies like I had in Green's previous stories.

Although it was hard for me to get behind the female characters, I did find the peripheral characters enjoyable. The story of Walter and Honor-Steffi and Callie's parents-was adorable to watch unfold. The character of Mason-a book publisher and client of Steffi's restaurant-has an interesting story that kept me guessing throughout the book. Even though these characters played minor roles, I kept reading to find out how their subplots ended.

While I found some of Green's characters a bit off, the story she told was powerful. Once the plot started going-about halfway through the book-I was unable to put it down. The emotional highs and lows of the characters' journey grabbed me. I kept a box of tissues next to me and needed to use it frequently.
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