Title: Forever Promised (Promises #4)
Author: Amy Lane
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher & Buy Link : Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link Forever Promised
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 350 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Simple things that are the stuff of life – this is a lovely ensemble piece to sing conclusion to the Promise Rock Series, we get to see characters matched, hatched and because it’s the Amy Lane show, dispatched.
Keeping Promise Rock: Book Four
Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon’s world, but nothing ever stays the same.
When Deacon’s best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him—she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.
Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them—everybody is forced to examine the chances they’ve been given and the promises they’ve made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.
I am writing this review with my fan girl hat on, it’s wide brimmed, faded denim and makes me look like a sun phobic gardener, #crazy cat lady. This review is my personal response to the Promise Rock experience. I have laughed, cursed, oohed and aahed and felt like part of the tortured family of friends who have battled their way to happiness through the tortuous maze of Amy Lane’s imagination. This is the last book in the series, and of course that makes it a tricky book to get right.
What makes this a trip to remember for me is the fluidity of the characterisation. There are well established characters here and they are still surprising me, but not in the way I hate most in TV series whereby they suddenly do something so crass and out of character, the signpost- running out ideas – is clearly visible from space. Benny plays a large part in this book acting as a wonderful catalyst for change, but what I really like was that she and Drew were not fixed rigidly on a storyline path and they could subtly and unexpectedly divert from the predictable too. Amy Lane has won the title, ‘ Queen of Angst ‘ fairly and squarely, and although I felt really bad for Mikhail it was only that he is my best ever favourite guy not because he seemed manipulated into pain for the sake of a crocodile tears plot.
The general atmosphere of this story is domestic, aka nest building, and baby making, lots of family details that round out home life for the various couples. All the characters are involved in some way in this final fling, but in a believable integral way, no paper thin walk on’s for these guys. I loved learning new things about well loved characters; Deacon reads, ‘ the late great Christopher Hitchens..‘ which provoked hums of appreciation and another unexpected glimpse into his world view.
As is usual with Amy Lane’s books I find myself thinking in terms of soundtrack, and for once Bruce was not my first stop. Her dealings with Step Bob and Melanie made me think of the amazing John Grant’s heartfelt, ‘ JC Hates…. ‘, while Shane and Kimmy’s loving work at Promise House made the song, ‘Glacier’ even more powerful than it already is. This is the song Grant says he wished he could have heard himself growing up as a gay teenager. While the chorus of another favourite song,….. ‘some days are Chicken Bones’, seemed to have Jeff furiously singing along with it. I did warn you this was a personal review…..
However moving back to the wider viewpoint, Forever Promised gives us more Promise Rock weddings, a birth, and a funeral. All of these occasions added depth and yes, more life to the characters. This is not a pleasantly written round up of foregone billing and cooing, there is a real reminder of how shit life can be. This salt from tears addition to the sweet gave this book an unexpected sharp flavour that made the good times better. Deacon and Crick thoroughly deserve their particular happy ending. Though not my favourite of the books, that rests firmly with Shane and Mikhail’s Making Promises, I thought this a well thought through and finely executed finale to a series I love.