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The Promises She Keeps
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The Promises She Keeps

4.2 30
by Erin Healy

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It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that.

Promise, a talented young singer with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging sorceress and art collector in search of immortality.

When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that she


It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that.

Promise, a talented young singer with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging sorceress and art collector in search of immortality.

When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that she may hold the key to eternal life.

Enter Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and fascinates her with his mysterious visions and drawings.

Soon, all are plunged into a confrontation over the mystery and the cost of something even greater than eternal life . . . eternal love.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

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The Promises She Keeps


Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Erin Healy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59554-751-4


In the silence of night, sounds of life have a greater chance of being heard.

One of these sounds woke Chase Ellis from deep sleep at a heavy predawn hour. His rousing was sudden and full, so that without any bleary transition he found himself aware of his own thoughts. He lay on his back under a rhythmic ceiling fan. The blades made their circuit and caused the fan's light chain to tink against a glass globe. This familiar noise usually rocked his mind into rest. Something else had disrupted him.

The shadows of his father's room possessed all their usual shapes, though Chase evaluated them as being darker than usual by twelve to fifteen percent. The saturated dimness was due to the time, a full three hours before his intuitive rising with the sun. He needed no clock to know this. A vivid scene unfolded in Chase's mind: On the other side of the world, where his father had slept and awakened for the past ten years, the sun blazed over a desert afternoon. There were no trees in that dry land, only people, who moved slowly like Tolkien's Ents. The hot light shone on his father, whom Chase envisioned as one of the world's most enduring trees. Pinus longaeva had been dated to thousands of years, and in some cases a tree stayed firmly upright long after its death.

Chelsea said their father was certainly dead by now, but in Chase's thoughts the man was green and bursting with seedy cones, and so Chase could not agree with her.

He heard the noise again. He lifted the corner of the blanket and peeled it off his body, then did the same with the sheet. He sat up, then pivoted so his feet swung together over the edge of the bed. The stiff fibers of the carpet brushed his toes.

By the timing of the overhead chain, which hit the globe precisely on each second, Chase counted one minute and seven seconds of waiting before the sound came a third time: the rattling of sticks in a tin can. It came from the room across the hall, which had been Chase's as a child before his father was deployed, before Chase's drawings took over that space and Chase took over his father's room.

Chase walked through shadows without turning on the light, because he did not need it and was not afraid. He knew the width of every passage and the protrusion of every sharp corner, the location of every shoe and book on the floor. He walked out of the room and through the hall, past the closed door of the bathroom. The rattling ceased.

His entrance into his old bedroom moved just enough air to lift the edge of a drawing tacked to the wall. The movement created a mild papery rustling among his other sketches—like leaves in a spring breeze—before sighing back to rest. This was his welcome.

Chase crossed the room and turned on the desk lamp, which leaned over a spiral-bound book of black drawing paper. The light bounced off his white T-shirt. The red fabric of his basketball shorts turned shiny and felt weightless against his skin. He did not play basketball, but he liked the texture of the pants. The brilliant bulb transformed the uncovered window behind the desk into a sheet of black glass, as black as the paper Chase used for his drawings.

On either side of the wide obsidian, built-in shelving reached all the way up to the ceiling and all the way out to the adjoining walls, and each shelf was lined with cans and tin cases. These contained stumps and brushes and sticks and tools and pencils. White pencils. White was the only color Chase used.

But not only pencils. The cans and tins were filled with many white substances suitable for drawing: water-soluble ink pencils, oil paint sticks, oil pastels, white-charcoal pencils and sticks, pastels and pastel pencils, colored pencils, woodless aqua pencils, Conté crayons in which graphite had been mixed with clay, white-tinted graphite pencils, and china markers. He had a tailor's marker, blackboard chalk, a few paperless white Crayolas, stage makeup, cornstarch and talc (which could be liquefied and applied with the nub of a quill pen), and also bars of soap.

Chase listened to the shelves. He owned 210 containers, 105 on each side of the window, fifteen items on each of the seven tiers. He knew the contents of each. He waited for the one that had awakened him.

On the right side of the window, third shelf from the top, the sixth canister from the left began to hum. The former Progresso soup can, stripped of its blue label, contained a broken stick of quarter-inch General's white charcoal, one General's pencil, two Derwent Graphitint pencils, and a rubber blending stump. The hum increased to a rattling in earnest, a vibration that shifted the can toward the brink. Chase watched it fall.

The contents scattered across the carpet at his feet, and the broken stick of charcoal chipped on the lip of the can. The utensils begged for him to draw. Chase bent to collect each item and returned everything to the can.

As he stooped, a rustling of paper called out to him. Holding the can, he straightened, then pivoted to scan each wall in the room. He thought the sound came from there, from one of the hundreds of drawings tacked up in overlapping rows.

These were pictures he had made of trees. White, ghostly trees on dark sheets. For starters, Chase had drawn every species known to the Pacific Northwest: the cascara buckthorn, with its wavy-edged leaves and pronounced veins; the Pacific dogwood, covered like snow in the white bracts that framed its tiny flowers; the towering black cottonwood, its seeds hanging from strings like pearls on a woman's necklace; quaking aspen, the heart-shaped leaves fluttering. When he'd exhausted the region he'd moved on to other species of the country, the continent, the world.

None of his art appeared out of order. He rotated until his toes pointed once again at the desk. Chase lowered the soup can to place it on the surface, but stopped. The black drawing pad that had been closed now lay open, a fresh slate.

This was highly unusual. Still holding the can, he pulled out his chair and sat. The Mi-Teintes pastel book was bound with wire at the top and contained sixteen sheets of 9 x 12 black textured paper. Each of these was separated by a translucent sheet of glassine. Chase stared at the exposed page. He heard the rhythm of the fan chain in the other bedroom.

At the top of the page a letter appeared, an A, as in the beginning of the alphabet, as in A is for alder or acacia or abele. The letter did not appear all at once, but as a tilting line that rose to the right, then fell down to the right, then was crossed in the middle, written by an invisible hand with an invisible pen.

Not a pen. A soft white wax. A china marker. Chase lifted his eyes to his shelves, seeking a flat Hershey's collector's tin with a hinged lid on the left side of the window. Bottom level, third from the left. He retrieved it and flipped open the top with one thumb. All nine of his markers were inside, in Sharpie, Dixon, Berol, and Sanford brands. What instrument was making these marks, and how?

On the paper, a new letter had appeared after the A, following a space. An l, lowercase, and then an o. Bold strokes, firm and authoritative. N. Chase sank back into his chair, candy tin in one hand and soup can in the other, mesmerized. G. The letters formed words and the words formed a phrase.

A longing fulfilled is

Familiarity came over Chase like sunshine, a comforting assurance that everything about to happen was good.

Chase set the containers next to the sketchbook, then lifted the page to see whether the words were being applied from the backside or through the desk. Nothing. On the front, the script continued to flow. He lowered the page and ran his fingers over the fresh words, which had taken on the texture of the paper. The silky wax and dry pulp were braille to Chase. His fingertips tingled.

A longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

At his bidding, an image from his mind became lifelike in the room. It was helpful for him to put the contents of his head out in front of him. And so he was able to see the figure of a Great Basin bristlecone pine tree—far too large for the room, impossibly large, and bent by the confining ceiling—leaning over the page, writing with one of its branches.

Chase did not evaluate why he had envisioned Pinus longaeva, because the words on the page demanded his attention. They were an adage he knew well, a passage from the Bible's book of Proverbs in the thirteenth chapter.

He picked up the broken white charcoal stick and made several broad strokes along the margin of the page. The strokes formed a shape: a complex trunk, wide and twisted like flame, a branch. He set the charcoal in the soup can and wiped his fingers on his red shorts and reached for the Graphitint pencil, which would give him finer detail than the charcoal. With this he created a cluster of needles. Many, many spiny needles in tight brush formations.

Trees lived and breathed and should not be made motionless on paper, and this had always presented some challenge to Chase. He lifted the notebook and let the page dangle. He shook it firmly one time, causing the sheet to buckle. The branches moved. The needles stayed erect. Chase was very pleased. He returned the book to the desk, then held the pencil above the proverb.

The majestic tree of life he intended to finish drawing vanished from his mind.

A longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Draw the longing, for time is short. Fill the heart, for days are full.

All he could see were words, and then the meaning of the words disappeared and all he could see were strokes. He saw the movements of a man's hand gripping a grease pencil and forming each symbol, the sweeping and swooping of lines, the tight angles, the free-flowing tails.

This was his father's handwriting.

Chase felt happy to see it. He turned the page over and waited for the bristlecone to reappear, waited for his father to write more.


The bluffs above the ocean were the winds' playground. Brisk breezes dashed in all directions and teased the twisted cypress trees. Tarnished clouds advanced low over the Oregonian coastline, bringing rain to challenge the late-morning sun. Where storm and sunlight met, shades of blue and gray shimmered.

While she waited for the artist who'd hired her, Promise leaned out over the weatherworn split-rail barrier separating her from the sharp drop to a narrow strip of sandy beach some forty feet below. The wood complained, and she retreated.

If she were the suicidal type, this would be a poetic time and place for dying. But she wasn't. Her life was going to end prematurely, there was no doubt about that in the mind of anyone who knew anything about her, but it would end only against her will, and only at the height of her fame.

Which was on its way. Soon. Very, very soon. She pleaded with whatever unseen force governed the world that this would be true, because her days were winding down with every turn of the earth.

For two weeks Promise had ignored the familiar heaviness creeping into her lungs, the declining pulse-ox numbers, the less productive chest-therapy sessions, the fatigue that hit her earlier in the day than usual. She knew as well as she knew her name that she was sick and wouldn't be able to avoid the hospital many more days. This didn't bode well for her plans. Auditions for the fall musical production—which two agents had just this morning promised to attend—were next week. It would take every antibiotic and home remedy known to man to keep her on her feet until then.

There were at least a dozen advantages to dying young, enough that Promise generally ignored the fate that shadowed her like a pesky black puppy. Feeding the needy animal was a waste of resources and didn't do a thing to solve the problem that most frightened her: dying before anyone really knew who she was. It wasn't that Promise wanted fame, exactly, but that she didn't want to be forgotten. Fame was a practical means to that end.

She coughed several times to loosen up her lungs and then lightly slapped her thigh in a perky beat and hummed to ward off the anxiety that crept up on her.

The teasing atmosphere of the sky turned mean. Her long hair snapped at her eyes and caught at the corners of her mouth. She pulled her woolly wrap tighter across her chest and thought about leaving, asking Zack Eddy to reschedule. On the bright side, he would have to work quickly, and she wasn't being paid by the hour. But her health deserved a hasty retreat. She'd give him five minutes.

Which was precisely when he arrived. The sound of a car door slamming turned her head. Behind her, in the lot at the end of a meandering downhill path, Zack had parked his economical Honda next to her flashy BMW Roadster, the only other vehicle at the park. His dyed black hair, gelled flat to his head like a slick beanie, didn't budge under the huffing sky.

He bowed into the trunk of his car, retrieved a bag on a long strap, and slung it over his shoulder, then locked up and hoofed it to the trail. He wore skinny jeans tucked into socks, skateboard shoes, and layers of T-shirts. No jacket, like a local. Truly, it was more blustery than chilly, though a reversal probably wouldn't have mattered to him. Zack's trademark trench coat was missing, and she thought, smiling, that she'd only seen him wear it indoors.

She shouted at him and waved. Her toes lifted her heels off the ground in a sort-of jump. Real, take-to-the-air jumping was something she avoided for energy-conservation reasons.

Zack responded with a slight hike of his chin.

She modeled in Zack's life-drawing class at the university for spending money to call her own, even though her wealthy parents gave her everything she asked for and even more that she didn't. But independence wasn't something they could buy on her behalf. Her tiny paycheck gave her the mental strength she needed to keep up with her career plans, short-lived though they might be.

Zack was the last student there she had come to know, but not because she hadn't made the same attempts to befriend him that she'd made with nearly everyone else.

She pegged him early on as intelligent but morose, willfully depressed because the concept of tortured genius was perennially trendy. The trench coat he usually wore had a suspicious, illicit smell. She imagined he wrote dark poetry in the bleakest hours of the night, after finishing shadowy and sinister charcoal drawings.

His first words to her, which he spoke after three months of silence, were a question: Will you pose for a painting I've got to finish? Finding his question sweet and boyish rather than spooky, she'd made him promise not to draw her bodily form in the context of anything like a coffin or a Goth castle or a medieval torture chamber. He answered this request with the most beautiful, genuine, happy laugh, giving her hope that his black moodiness was only a front.

"Been here long?" he said when he crested the hill, not even breathless. The climb had taken her fifteen slow minutes.

"Awhile. You don't happen to keep your long coat in your car, do you?"

"No, why?" He kept moving toward the wood fence. Looked out, looked down. Test-kicked the post for no apparent reason. A light shower of powdery dirt rained off the rail.

"Thought I might borrow it."

"If I had it, you could. That's what I call a drop."

"The higher the bluff, the better the vertigo."

There was no laugh to reward her joke this time. Zack withdrew an expensive-looking camera from his bag. He attached a lens that was probably capable of photographing Mars, then repeated the looking out, the looking down, this time through the digital display. Not what she had expected.

"This lighting is killer," he said.

"Where's your sketchbook?"

"With the trench coat." He directed the camera at her, took a step backward. "I liked what you were doing when I was coming up. Holding that shawl thing tight, chin back over your shoulder."

"Look, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear about this when we scheduled, Zack, but I don't do cameras."

Zack moved around her like an orbiting moon. "What do you mean, you don't do cameras? No, no. Keep your back to me."

Promise faced him in full. "No pictures."

"What?" The shutter clicked.

"Zack, I mean it."

His eyes rose above the massive lens. "Why? What did you think I'd be doing up here?"

"Drawing. Sketching."

"In this weather?"

"You called it," she said.

"I'm a painter."

"Painters make thumbnails. For reference."

"I take pictures for reference."

"I guess we both made some assumptions, then. Sorry about that."

Zack exhaled between thin lips and studied the morphing horizon. "What's your thing about pictures?"

"I can't control them."

"What?" He came closer and leaned in as if he was having trouble hearing. She smelled the alcohol in his hair gel.


Excerpted from The Promises She Keeps by ERIN HEALY. Copyright © 2010 Erin Healy. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Erin Healy is the bestselling coauthor of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor for many bestselling authors. She owns WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Academy of Christian Editors. Her novels include such thrilling stories as Never Let You Go, The Baker’s Wife, and Stranger Things. She and her family live in Colorado.

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Promises She Keeps 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
hawkpierce More than 1 year ago
Promise is dying. Suffering from cystic fibrosis, and having multiple peers surrender to the disease, she knows her time on this earth is limited. But she doesn't want to be a tumbleweed in the wind, no she wants to be remembered and loved and she will accomplish that with her incredible voice. When Promise survives multiple should-be-dead situations, an aging pagan witch named Porta believes she may have finally found the goddess of immortality. What's more is Zack, who Promise hardly knows, was present at each close-call situation. Then there's Chase. An autistic artist with a love for trees, he has a revelation and has gone either completely insane, or might be on to something. The first book I've read by solely Erin Healy. Her writing style is very similar to Ted Dekker's, only much more descriptive in a way that fuels your mind's eye without going overboard. I love how there is a sorceress in the novel; it just makes everything more... interesting. Though she's not quite what you expect. Very suspenseful, but not really dark. The ending has a fabulous twist that I never expected. Amazing book, almost impossible to set down. Erin, this is a work of perfection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi there again! Just recently, I've received another new book from BookSneeze- "The Promises She Keeps". (Just as a reminder- due to some long law thing, I'm under no obligation to give this a positive review, so whatever I saw is whatever I really feel about the book, okay? Okay? Now let's move on, shall we?) Now, I'm not going to spoil too much of the plot lines or anything, but I'm just going to tell you that it's a really good book. From the first page, the wonderful imagery and mysterious prose draws you in. Precise discriptions give us a glimpse into the minds of the characters almost immediately, and this is extremely cool. A mystery is set up for us to figure out from the first page, and to draw spiritual parallels into this is truly amazing- at list in my own humble opinion. I've always loved Erin Healy's works, and this is no exception. She truly has a way with words that just about blows my mind every time. In no uncertain terms, I give this a solid 5 out of 5 stars, and I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who would ask me. I hope that you all have a great rest of the day! Good bye!
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IgniteSuccess More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while we need to escape from our business personas and whirlwind of thoughts, plans, and strategies to be inspired by life's ordinary lessons. I recently had the pleasure of doing just that with The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy. It is a wonderful fiction novel about one women's failure to reach unrealistic goals she set for herself and the powerful impact that one individual could have on so many lives. The story includes magical, spiritual, medical, and thought-provoking concepts about life and relationships in a page-turning story. The most intriguing aspect of the story is the valuable insight that an autistic boy communicates to individuals in a community through his artwork and unconditional love for others. The individuals who take the time to really listen to this boy discover the meaning of their lives. This story parallels real life in that we must be open to listening to messages from everyone and everything around us. You never know who will be that person that offers you the advice or encouragement you need to change your life, increase your success, or achieve your dreams. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze Book Sneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PurpleQueenFairy More than 1 year ago
The Promises She Keeps starts with Chase who seems to be able to hear from his father who is presumed dead after missing in action in the war. Chase is autistic but draws beautiful trees which seems to capture the essence of a person's longing (even strangers that he has not met). Promise wants to live forever through her fame since she is dying but a few near death encounters left her very much alive and more energetic than before. Chase has a drawing of a tree for her too. He called hers the tree of life. In the middle of it all is Porta who opens up an art gallery in town. Porta is connected to Chase and his sisters through their parents but this connection was not followed up. There are quotes and reference made on the bible (especially by Chase) and I can see the symbolic references to the characters portrayed in the book to the book of life. Is Chase the sacrificial lamb? Does Promise represent everyone of us? Does Porta's quest for immortality represent what the world is searching for? And the eternal love that Chase tells Promise, is that God's eternal love for us? Chase goes around saying 'I love you' when he gave out one of his drawings. Is that Christ's love for us when he sees the longings within us? I have more questions than answers so I'm not sure if that's what the author wants the reader to feel. I actually want to give this book more thoughts before I review it but I'm running out of time :) (laughing at myself as that's what Promise felt) as I need to move on to other books. Final verdict (at this point in time) - do read if you enjoys reading more into what a book is all about. Don't read if you want a nice enjoyable story. I might update this post in future after I gave more thoughts to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MariesBookReviews More than 1 year ago
The Promises She Keeps tells the story of Promise, who is a terminally ill girl with an incredible talent for singing and staying alive through unbelievable circumstances. Enter Porta, a woman who wants to remain alive at all costs, and Chase, an autistic artist who ends up falling in love with Promise. Two forces, each trying to show Promise the route she should take, one for selfish gain, the other out of selflessness. Erin Healy surprised me again with a story filled with love, suspense, and utter sadness. I loved the fact that she brought us into the world of autism and explained it in a way that will cause everyone to fall in love with Chase. I did not see the ending coming, nor am I completely satisfied with it, although I understand the reasoning for going with it. This book , however, drew me in and kept hold until the very last page. I would definitely recommend this book to others, in fact, I already have!
snidbits More than 1 year ago
Promise is ok with the fact she'll die young; she just wants to make sure she's not forgotten when it happens. She aspires to be a singer, a feat not normally heard of for someone with cystic fibrosis. Chase draws trees. Lots of trees. He says he sees people as trees and hands out these pictures when he feels prompted. His twin sister Chelsea has put her life on hold to care for her autistic brother. But then the meets Promise and tries to warn her of those who wish her harm. Porta has been told she will die within "five weeks of five days" - this makes her quest for immortality that much more vital. She knows there is one who will be able to aid in her search and when she sees a picture of Promise, she believes the gods have shown her favor. All three people's paths will cross in ways they least expect until they're become tangled together. Porta will stop at nothing to find the key to immortality. She believes Promise is that key and isn't above murder in order to prove it. Chase tells Promise he loves her and though she doesn't return the sentiment, he thinks she feels the same way. Promise doesn't understand why she's had a handful of near-death experiences of late or why she feels better than she has in a long time. Can she trust Porta or will confiding in her prove to be a fatal mistake? I read Healy's first solo novel, Never Let You Go, last fall and though wasn't overly impressed, still thought it an ok read. I was hoping for something more with this book. From the first few pages, I could tell it was going to be better than her first. I was immediately pulled in, not knowing how the three main characters stories would intertwine. Though there were parts I felt didn't quite fit with the rest of the story or could have just been taken out altogether, I enjoyed the book and quickly read the 329 pages in two days.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
Two women in search of immortality; one because she has had a terminal illness all of her life and wants to be remembered, the other because of greed. Will either of them find the real answer to life everlasting? Promise is a singer who has cystic fibrosis. She goes through the treatments to stay alive hoping that she will have one big break that will enable people to know she lived. But, when Zack enters her life, she meets with many freak accidents that threaten to take her life just as her break is happening. Portia is an older woman looking to the "gods and goddesses" for immortality. She turns away from the true God, driving her son (Zack) to his own ruinous behavior. Is Promise the one she has been searching for? Is her death more imminent than she thinks? Chelsea and Chase are twins who share a home because Chase has autism and Chelsea provides care for the brother she loves. What do Chase's drawings have to do with the others in the book? What does the statue of the boy at the gallery have to do with them? This story has many twists and turns to keep a reader interested! This book was a great joy to read. I love a book that keeps my attention with interconnections between characters, things I have to try to figure out before the author gives me the final piece. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy novels that make you think and keep you guessing.
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
This book has some darkness in it. Porta, a woman who is older than she appears, is practicing witchcraft and is sure that after Promise, a young woman who has cystic fibrosis, survives several freak accidents, that she is the one. The one who help bring Porta immortality. However a young man seems to be in the way all the time, whether it is Porta's own son Zack, who is fighting his own demons, or the young autistic man Chase who keeps spreading love with his pictures that he sees and draws. Porta is determined to find immortality, no matter what it costs. Even if she has to kill for it. And she will. This book is definitely a different style book from any I have read, still trying to process it all. I enjoyed the suspense side of the story, I love a good mystery, but the dark side of the story left me unsure. 333 pages 3 stars US$14.99 This book was provided by Thomas Nelson for review purposes only. No payment was received for this review.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Promise is a dying woman with a vivid dream, to become such a great singer that her name will achieve immortality. Porta Cerreto is a witch who seeks the One who will bring immortality to all. She has traveled across America, stopping in each place to present art in various galleries and telling customers that certain pictures speak truth to the viewer that will have everlasting resonance. Is she for real or is she just a quack scheming with peoples' lives in a way that brings as much destruction and death as it does life? Chase is an extraordinary, talented artist whose gifts are more often ignored because his autism repels rather than connects those with whom he attempts to interact. His paintings are based on the identity of the one being drawn - in a rather abstract yet natural manner - and the Biblical inspiration he is inspired to incorporate into his "white on black" drawings. Chelsea, Chase's twin sister, has sacrificed much to support Chase and Wes, Chase's helper, is inching her forward to realize a new world awaits her attention and hold. Porta's son, Zach, is a drug addict and scorner of all that is beautiful thanks to his mother's machinations which he perceives to be pure evil. Promise's experiences with regaining health and surviving death begin to unite every character in this tautly plotted story, leading to a climax that is devastating in literal and figurative implications for all involved. Erin Healy's latest novel is a page-flipping foray into what we so often glibly label "good" and "evil," an examination of the consequences of so-called "love," and a journey through the layers of magic and dreams that will leave the reader thrilled, questioning, and celebrating what is!
ButterflyBlessingsBlog More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that was slow to make sense. It was hard to get into and then I wasn't quite sure I knew exactly where it was going - or agreed with it. There were some shining moments and well drawn characters... but I always feel the true test of a book is if I get so caught up in it that I believe in the characters and the story as if they were real people and events. I never got there with this one. The first problem was the premise that Promise - who is sick with Cystic Fibrosis - suddenly gets better and survives all these near fatal accidents, but only until she is around Porta, a witch. The accidents make her feel better than ever before and they all occur around her son (a drug addict that she is drawn to) and neither of them have any faith in God at all. In fact, I didn't notice any real redemptive message in the book at all. Sacrificial love, innocence, sharing... but no real redemption. Only Chase (the autistic man) shows any signs of faith and his sister questions his understanding of it. Many times it appears he gets messages about what's going to happen from his father (who is dead). This may be the author's way of having God speak to Chase, but that isn't discussed or the way he seems to view it. More of a sci-fi/magical feel comes across as his drawing utensils rattle by themselves in their cans and "call to him" to tell him what to draw. Nevertheless, he does understand biblical principles and try and share them with others through his drawings of trees. The other problem is Chase's claim to love Promise, romantically. He first claims this when he hasn't even met her. He says that he loves everyone he gives his pictures to and I wish they would have left his feelings for Promise in this same category because it just doesn't make sense that he would have this romantic love for her (specially since it isn't returned - he makes her uncomfortable) with no real personal contact with her. It felt more like a stalker relationship after that instead of something good and with any promise for a future. The ending felt rushed and unsatisfying. I felt like the story had potential, but took some wrong turns. It still is a very haunting and unique novel. I haven't read anything quite like it. I want to thank the people at Thomas Nelson for providing my copy in exchange for my honest review.
girlsmama More than 1 year ago
There are certain authors that you see their name and know without a doubt that you are going to read their book. You do this because you've been on journeys with them before and you simply trust them, for the integrity of their story, characters, and writing. In only a few books time Erin Healy is in that category in my mind. At the end of her books I experience that "reader's grief" that comes when the book is done and the journey was so amazing that you just weren't ready for it to be over. Once again in "The Promises She keeps" this is how I felt. With her characters such as the lovely Promise- a beautiful young singer with a battle on her hands being a singer with cystic fibrosis and her need to be remembered as someone who was significant, as well as Chase, the young artist seeing life through the filter of autism with a clearer picture of things than most, to the immortality seeking witch Porta, whose focus on only herself wreaks havoc wherever she goes. A series of seemingly "impossible to survive" situations happen to Promise and you wonder "what is her story?"- does she really possess the immortality that Porta is desperately seeking? This story intersects these characters and others on a journey that is most memorable and deeply touching. I grew rather fond of these characters and the journey they took together and I appreciated the redemptive quality of this story. Don't miss this book- I PROMISE you will not be disappointed. like
AmandaKlopping More than 1 year ago
The Promises She Keeps is a deeply compelling story about love and the decisions we make about what we do with the time we have in this life. The back of the book almost makes it sound like a romance, but instead the novel delves into the power of love as a whole, and what it means for our society. The novel tells the story of a young woman with cystic fibrosis, and the people who influence her in her quest to be eternally remembered after she dies. The book is very suspenseful, and I liked the mystery elements that were included. Promise, the heroine, survives some accidents that really should have been fatal. These events were very thought-provoking as I tried to reason why Promise was able to survive. Chase, another character, often quotes well-chosen Bible verses that only piqued my interest in Promise's story. The antagonist, Porta, is a practicing witch who serves to counter Chase's argument that love is the most powerful concept of all. The dichotomy of these two characters is, in my opinion, what drives the book and makes it so fascinating. Without giving away any spoilers, the ending of the book is so full of suspense and is so well-timed that I couldn't put it down. The writing was phenomenal , the message was deeply inspiring, and the book was just simply a good read. You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy it, either. The author doesn't appear to be trying to convert anyone. The book carries with it a message that could be appreciated by anyone. Frankly, this is a superb book that deserves a wide audience. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
SKetchersid More than 1 year ago
The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy is a fascinating book and one that I mulled over for several days after I read it. It is a beautifully woven tale of three separate lives converging together throughout an intricate plot. Promise, the talented young singer, wants to be famous and leave her mark on the world before she dies. Porta is an aging witch and art dealer who is looking for immortality. Chase is the autistic man whose focus in life is to draw trees and give them out in love. When Promise survives several crazy accidents, Porta believes she holds the key to immortality. But Chase's visions gives him insight and he becomes Promise's savior in the midst of obsession and insanity. The prose in this book is lyrical and beautifully soothing. I love how Erin Healy wove in biblical truth and allegory throughout the pages, and I was struck by sheer creativity of the story. It is not my normal style of book, but I loved it! It gripped me from the very first page and kept me turning the page. This book was provided by the publisher for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jjburroughs04 More than 1 year ago
The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy is an awesome book. If you like a book that keeps you hanging on and you DON'T expect what the ending is going to be....this is the book for you. This book has all different kinds of elements in it: autism, cystic fibrosis, art, photography, a search for immortality, death, life, just to name a few. The characters are awesome and it is very interesting to see how they wind up interacting with each other and come to know each other. You have Chase, who has autism and draws for a purpose and his twin sister, Chelsea who takes care of him. Promise, who has cystic fibrosis, is the main focus of the book and is trying to figure herself and her disease out during the book. Porta, who is in search of immortality, so she can live forever and her son, Zack, who I think is also trying to figure himself out despite what his mother is into. This book is a book that you won't want to put down. It is very intriguing, easy to read, has short chapters (which I like), and keeps you captivated so that you want to continue to read. I was sad that the story was over when I finished the book. I was so not expecting the ending and kept hoping that as I read it would change into what I wanted to happen, but the way the book ended was exactly the way it should have ended and totally made sense for the book. This is a really great book and I highly recommend it!! I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program.
NJen40 More than 1 year ago
The Promises She Keeps was provided to me by Thomas Nelson and Book Sneeze to review. Promise is a beautiful young woman with cystic fibrosis who wants to leave her mark on the world before her disease snuffs out her life. Zack is a brooding, drug-addicted artist who meets Promise when she poses for his drawing class. Chase is also an artist. He is autistic, is fascinated with trees and has mysterious visions that prompt him to draw. Porta, who is Zack's mother, is a sorceress who had been removed from her coven for not following the rules. Porta is obsessed with immortality and will stop at nothing to achieve it. When Zack meets Promise on a high bluff to take photographs of her for a painting she falls to what should be her certain death and survives without injury. Porta believes that her survival is proof that Promise is the immortal being that she has been seeking. The twists and turns that the story takes from here are more numerous than curves in a mountain road. I had a hard time getting into this book. I felt like I had my brow furrowed in confusion for most of it. I am glad I stuck with it, as the conclusion was a bit of a surprise. Personally, it wasn't my kind of story, but that doesn't make it a bad one. If you are a fan of Ted Dekker or the much darker Stephen King, you may like the darker theme in this story.
rtwins More than 1 year ago
Promise Dayton is a beautiful singer who is dying of cystic fibrosis. Her goal is to gain fame so that she'll be remembered after her death. Through Zach, a photographer and artist, she meets Porta Cerreto, Zach's mother, who is a sorceress, worshiping the gods and goddesses of the world in a basement cave. She is a local art collector searching for immortality in art and her shrines. When Promise escapes death twice, Porta believes that she will have eternal life through Promise's blood and death. In the first chapter, we are introduced to Chase Ellis, a thirty something autistic man, an artist. He has memorized the Bible, and has the ability to see into souls and reveal the true person inside. He draws portraits of his subjects in the form of a tree. Chase gives his drawings away freely, to whomever will receive. While Porta hates Chase and desires to kill him, and all who love him, Promise is annoyed at his persistence. She does not understand Chase's words when he says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Chase tells Promise that it is good that she is not dead yet and that he is going to give her life. The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy is Christian suspense that will leave you thinking after you have closed the book. It is a story of good and evil, life and death, and Jesus and the devil. Erin Healy uses beautiful symbolism to capture the reader and hold your attention from the first page until the last. My favorite character was Chase, not only for the way he loves, but also for the life he brings . This was the first book I've read by this author, but will not be my last!
Izzyhart More than 1 year ago
I was given an opportunity to review this book, The Promises She Keeps not long ago. Sadly, I have to say that this book is rather depressing though the messages in the story is good. While the book is motivational and very inspiring, it did not have such effect on me. Instead, it makes me ponder about life and death alot. It makes me feel that life is very short indeed. Nevertheless, The Promises She Keep is a very good Christian fiction. The characters are dynamic and the plot is very original. I would not recommend this to those who like those normal, happily ever after book, but would definitely recommend this book to those who likes something more creative and serious.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Suffering cystic fibrosis, Promise knows she is dying soon. Her fear is not death, but life as she yearns to be loved and be in the memory of loved ones. Her only chance is music. At college Zack Eddy asks if he can take photos of her so he can draw pictures of her from them; she agrees. During the shoot, her shawl blows away. Promise dives for it only to tumble down the bluffs overlooking the Oregon coast. Zack takes pictures of her dive to death, but miraculously she lives. Other near death experiences always occur with Zack nearby occurs. He shows his photos to his pagan witch mom Porta Cerreto who believes Promise is the Goddess of Immortality and plans to use her for own purpose. As she stalks Promise, she orders her son to kill Promise to disprove her theory. However, autistic Chase Ellis who draws pictures of trees sees inside Porta's withered soul and knows she will hurt Promise if he fails to intervene. This is a strange whimsical character driven tale that hooks the audience from the opening scene with Chase and never slows down as the reader will be stunned with a shocking late twist. The key to the thriller besides the well developed four lead characters is somehow author Erin Heal. makes the impossible seem possible even when it seems over the top of Mount Hood. The Promises She Keep is an exhilarating tale as eternal life is boringly meaningless without eternal love. Harriet Klausner
Teresa_Konopka More than 1 year ago
Wowza; this book is good. The narration jumps between characters and intertwines their lives. Promise is a young singer with a terminal disease. Chase is an autistic artist who prophesizes and is a Christian. Chelsea is Chase's sister who takes care of him with the help of hired Wes. Porta is an old witch (literally) who is seeking to find immortality. Zack is Porta's son who is infatuated with Promise but has drug problems that try to mask his strained relationship wit his mother. Anyway, through a series of near death collisions, Porta thinks Promise has eternal life. She manipulates her and involves her in pagan rituals. Chase loves Promise and tries to warn her about Porta's evil. Chase also prophesizes and predicts a few deaths. Anyway, through a whole hodgepodge of co-connected events, the climax rises. Several religious themes are embedded. To get into the plot would take too long, but I assure you I took my time with this book and enjoyed it very much so. There are no romantic scenes, so younger readers may enjoy this book. There is also a discussion guide at the end with questions.