Back in 2010, Amy Lane wrote Keeping Promise Rock and began a beautiful series of books: the Promises series. Only in the last year have I read all four books, of which I've reviewed the first three on this blog, but I finally got the chance to read the final book in the series, Forever Promised. I am not going to give a synopsis of Forever Promised because if you have not read the other three book, it would give too much away. However, here's a quick recap of the previous books, without giving too much away.
In Keeping Promise Rock, you can't help but fall in love with the characters of Crick and Deacon, little Benny and Parry Angel. Lane writes in a way that connects you with them deeply and with a heartfelt passion. After reading the first in the series, I wanted more stories about them and The Pulpit, the horse farm where they lived in Levee Oaks, California, and Amy Lane gave that to me, along with all of her readers. Next, she gave us Making Promises (Promises #2) which introduced us to Shane and the feisty little Mikhail, causing us to fall in love with a new set of characters while keeping our adoration for all things Crick and Deacon intact and up to date. Big dorky Shane is still on of my all time favorite Amy Lane creations. The third book, Living Promises, reintroduced us to Jeff Beachum, who we'd met before in Keeping Promise Rock, and Collin Waters. In Living Promises we get the chance to see Lane take on the narrative of characters with HIV. And as in all the Promises books, our beloved characters were all there from the previous books, continuing on with their lives and loves. Each book gave a further glimpse at the characters I'd come to love. Lane knows how to make you laugh and she sure as hell knows how to make you cry, but she always touches my heart. With Forever Promised, Lane brought the series to an end.
Forever Promised brings a wonderful closure to the series. Not everything is neatly wrapped up in a bow, but we can see what the future may hold for the people of Levee Oaks, who we grew to love and with any good book, they became our friends. Lane writes stories about real people who live through real things that happen in everyday life. We recognize the important moments in the characters lives because they are ones that happen to us. Her characters bleed and cry and laugh as we do. Lane writes good people trying to be the best they can be in situations both normal and stressful, so how could we not love them? We would in our real lives and the author understands the importance of that connection.
This book is about absolution and reflection. It’s about moving on soberly, being able to let go of the past with a clear understanding of just what a miracle it is that even after all their noble efforts at self-destruction they all made, they got their bright future anyway. Many are not so lucky, so many people never get a second chance (this goes for some of Lane's characters as well, but even those who don't allow others to Beth their second chance), but those who do need to look at that miracle in the face and be thankful.
It was hard to say goodbye to Promise Rock, the Pulpit, and the family that Deacon Winters made for himself out of the people he loved. Forever Promised is not your typical end to a series. It really didn't try to come up with implausible and fantastical storylines to wrap up the previous three books, but it was a natural progression of things to come in the series. At the center of the story is the heartbreak and sacrifice that comes with loving someone so much it hurts, but that sacrifice is made out of love and it brings everyone together and takes everyone to make it happen, just as the wedding dress in the story did. I didn't want the Promises series to end, but Lane knew how to end it perfectly.