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Promises To Keep Paperback – May 31 2011

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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada (May 31 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143170546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143170549
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 3.5 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

JANE GREEN WARBURG has written 11 previous novels as Jane Green, several of which were New York Times bestsellers. A native Londoner, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, Ian Warburg, and their blended family of six children.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BookChick TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 8 2010
Format: Hardcover
Callie Perry feels that she pretty much has it all. She's more in love with her husband than ever, she adores her children, and she's managing to run a successful photography business in her spare moments. Sure, her husband Reece travels a lot, but she's happy for the breathing room that gives her, and even happier when he arrives home.

Callie's little sister Steffi doesn't see what she is so excited about. Steffi is a chef at a now-popular Vegan restaurant, and she can't seem to keep a boyfriend for that long. The boyfriend's that she does choose are aspiring artists, rock stars, and generally bad boys, unable to take her out for fancy dinners or even get up before noon, but that suits her just fine. She sees no need to embrace her sister's life and settle down in the suburbs with a couple of kids and a husband.

Callie and Steffi's parents, Honor and Walter, want different things from life as well. Long divorced, Walter remains rigid, trying to live up to the standards that his last name implies he should have. He nurses a long time resentment towards his ex-wife Honor, who is everything that he's not- free-spirited and above all, following her dreams.

When Callie, Steffi, Honor and Walter receive some shocking news, life takes a rapid nosedive. Suddenly the four are thrown together for one heartbreaking summer, and nothing will be the same.

I really connected to the character of Callie. What makes a good book great for me is if I can connect to one of the characters. If I have problems connecting, the story, no matter how good it is, fails to hold my interest. In "Promises to Keep", the character of Callie can't believe how good her luck is.
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By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on July 19 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I think of Jane Green, I automatically think 'chick lit'. Promises to Keep is chick lit, but with a lot more depth than I expected.

Steffi just goes with the flow in life. When she's tired of a job, she moves on to the next one. She's great at what she does though - she's an amazing cook. It is this skill that introduces her to Mason, a well to do publisher, who loves her cooking. When things start to fall apart with her latest boyfriend and her current job has lost it's oomph, Mason's out of the blue offer looks really good. Dogsit for a year while he's in London - and stay at his country home in Maine. Steffi jumps at the chance and as a bonus she'll be closer to her big sister Callie.

Callie has it all from the outside looking in - two great kids, a job she loves (photography) and a husband who loves her, even though he works too much.

What starts out as an idyllic summer changes everyone's lives forever when unexpected news arrives.

I fell in love with Steffi as soon as she was introduced. She's warm, caring, thoughtful and someone you'd like to know. Callie is as well, but a bit more reserved. As the book progressed, Callie's character is opened up more and I became more invested in her. Green's exploration of the relationships between the sisters is genuine. The supporting cast is filled with rich characters as well. Callie's best friend Lila is larger than life. The relationships between parent/child/spouse and friends are all thoughtfully examined and portrayed.

I don't want to reveal any of the details of the plot, but I had to grab the Kleenex box by the end.

Green also infuses Promises to Keep with chick lit elements as well. Steffi's romance or lack thereof is a great subplot.
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Format: Hardcover
We meet Steffi, one of the main characters in this novel at a vegan restaurant in New York city where she is the chef, a self-described "rock chick and vegan chef". As a thoroughly modern woman Steffi drifts from one romantic encounter to another without any stability in her life. Her sister, Callie, the heroine of the novel is completely the opposite. She has a perfect life, it seems - a husband who loves her, two delightful children, a home in the suburbs,loyal friends and a growing career as a photographer. She is so happy. Walter and Honor, their parents who have been divorced for 30 years despair that Steffi will every learn responsibility. Multi-tasker Callie exudes success in life, so they have no worries for her. Then news arrives that drastically affects and changes each of the relationships in this close-knit extended family as they strive to understand and cope with the terminal illness of one of their own.
The character development is very good. I felt that I knew each person by the time I was mid-way through the story. The last half of the book is very poignant, particularly if the reader has experienced the loss of a friend/family member to cancer. However, the intensity of the narrative is relieved, curiously enough, by the delightful addition of recipes. It somehow works.
By the end of the story the reader knows that the family will survive and prosper despite their year of tragedy and sadness. Romance, babies, security, contentment, and peace are on the horizon. Life does go on.
One negative is the use of expletives. The story is not enhanced by their usage. Otherwise, this is a book that I recommend. It is a portrayal of the love and support that family members bring to a tragedy. In fact, it is a love story in all its various facets.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 114 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Depressing Jan. 19 2011
By dcbooklover - Published on Amazon.com
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.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A tear jerker of a book June 18 2010
By Debbie's World of Books - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An "OK" release by Jane Green Aug. 10 2010
By Kimberly Blair - Published on Amazon.com
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. Even though I often found myself unable to connect with the characters, the story was so powerful that I did end up enjoying it a great deal.

Review: I expected this book to be another fantastic Jane Green read, but that was not the case. The disconnect I felt with the main characters meant it took longer for me to get into the story. Once I connected with the plot, I found the book to be an pleasurable read.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Not her best Jan. 24 2011
By Mare - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Depressing and lacking development Aug. 22 2010
By Christine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've liked all of Jane Green's books to varying degrees, and I didn't hate this one, but it was super depressing. I understand that this book was for her friend, but it was really really depressing. As other readers have mentioned, it was also very predictable. Some of the story lines lacked development and there were too many "all of a sudden" moments. This book lacked the sparkle that many of her other books have had. Perhaps this is a collateral effect of the heavy subject matter, but it kind of made me want to sit alone in a room and wallow. I did, however, appreciate the recipes. I'm actually about to try one now!

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