Review Title: Promise You Will (review of The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
Anyone familiar with other works by Chris Fabry know he is a master storyteller. In this book he excels in every way. The historical details are perfect because the author lived through those times.
The main characters each represent someone on the periphery of middle class life in the seventies. A strong bond forms between the characters as they maneuver life from the view of the have-nots who learn contentment from inner qualities and creativity.
The tension builds throughout the story with unthinkable disasters happening which expose the young characters to more troubles than it seems possible they can handle on their own. But they have determination to work things out no matter what. And they have promises and secrets to keep.
The biggest secret in this story is how the whole tangled thing will work out. The reader will not know the resolution until almost the very end of the book. You will not rest until you find out what happens to the endearing characters. And the bad guys are tremendously terrible so you will want to see them get what they deserve.
This book would be good for Young Adult readers and all ages above that. It involves some frightening scenes, not graphically portrayed, of sexual violence, and, also, hurtful labeling and harassment of people for their physical appearance.
The church and Christians are shown at their worst and best. The realism of how some people within the church are driven by motives other than following Jesus hits hard. The failings of leadership in allowing such people to dominate church decisions shows how generational sin thrives. The difference that following Jesus makes will give understanding to anyone who is curious about how church is suppose to bless rather than cause harm to vulnerable people.
My husband and I listened to this book on Audible during our commuting hours. It is narrated by the author, Chris Fabry. His knowledge of the characters helped him to fully portray each with great depth. The recording of the story earns 5 stars along with the book.