Promises to Keep: A Novel by Jane Green centers around the story of two sisters, Callie and Steffi, and a summer that will change both of their lives and those around them. Callie and Steffi and quite different from each other - Callie is a wife and a mother to two children while Steffi is a free -spirited chef who has bounced between jobs and relationships wantonly. Despite their differences, the love and affection they have for each other is obvious from the start. They are joined by a cast of characters which includes their friend Lila, the love interests of Lila and Steffi, Callie's husband and Callie and Steffi's parents.
Callie lives in the suburbs of New York City and seems to have it all - the perfect husband, children and a job as a talented photographer. She is unfailingly optimistic and good-natured; these traits will hold her in good stead as her perfect life is up-ended. Steffi decides to try a move to the country for a pet-sitting job (there is a love interest involved there too!) and it brings her closer to her sister. I really enjoyed reading about Steffi's attempts to integrate into life in the country - the slower pace, the friendliness of virtual strangers and the total quiet. Of course, she struggles but she is ready for a change and this opportunity arrives at the perfect time - in more ways than one.
Callie enjoys having her sister live closer and seems to even live a little vicariously through her and she dates a new love interest in the country. When Callie's life is turned upside down shortly after her 40th birthday, she is even more grateful for her sister's recent decision to move closer to her. Everyone, including Lila and their parents, rally around Callie and an important message about the ability to support each other but also to learn to rely on others is delivered.
I am a big fan of Jane Green's books and have enjoyed seeing them evolve over the years from stories of young singleton's to those of mothers and women in their 30's and 40's. This book is definitely not as light as some of her earlier novels - it deals with serious topics and you care about the characters so it is difficult to see bad things happen to them. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and longed to spend more time with the characters when the book was finished!