Publication Date: November 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 448pp
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks, Landmark)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Erica James on the WEB: website, facebook
Excerpt from Promises, Promises
Promises you make to yourself are the hardest to keep...
Maggie Storm, who spends her days cleaning houses for people who often have more money than manners, promises herself that from now on she's going to stand up for herself. Married to a man with as much sex appeal as a recliner, she dreams about someone who can sweep her off her feet. Ella Moore, an artistic interior designer, promises herself that after seven wasted years with the man she thought she'd marry, relationships won't derail her life again. Ethan Edwards, a repeat offender when it comes to turning to other women for sexual consolation, promises himself that there will be no more women.
But when Ellie appears unexpectedly in Ethan's life, he finds himself turning to her for very different reasons. And when Maggie's romantic hero appears on her doorstep, she wonders which path she's really supposed to follow. Bestseller Erica James waves a delightful tale of three people daring to challenge the promises in their hearts.
Author Erica James once again triumphs in the chick-lit arena with her latest release, Promises, Promises. James has turned out close to fifteen novels, all with the same smooth, light, feel to them. Fans of her writing expect a relaxing, anticlimactic read when they pick up a James novel, one that might not have tons of suspense or mind blowing action, but offers a level of comfort that is synonymous with happy-ever-after endings.
James, a British author, has an affinity for writing complex and three dimensional characters who drive her books. In Promises, Promises, James give the reader three main characters who find themselves completely dissatisfied with their lives. She deftly weaves a story that brings these three people together in unexpected ways. Readers will empathize with each of the characters and their seemingly tragic relationships, and want to see them each find resolution.
Maggie comes from a working class environment. She cleans houses for a living and goes home to a slothful man, who doesn't seem to understand her. Mr. Blobby and another secondary character, Mrs. Paxton one of Maggie's clients bring out comedic moments throughout the novel. Maggie's descriptions of them are hilarious and adds to the overall light feel of the novel, even though the circumstances of each character is anything but funny. James portrays Maggie as the average woman on the street who longs for her own Prince Charming, but when she finds him, she's not too sure what to do with him. Readers will find Maggie full of humor, sassy and fun to read about.
Ella is probably the character that will most appeal to James' predominately female audience. Ella is creative and artistic and struggles with relationships. Don't we all? She has recently spent seven years of her life in a no-win relationship with a widower. His teenage daughter never accepts Ella and eventually brings about the end of the relationship. Readers with sympathize with Ella because most likely they have all found themselves in one of those situations where it takes more than just love to make it work. I thought James did a fantastic job of making Ella personable. She was real and authentic and readers appreciate characters they can understand.
Ethan was a little harder for me to get into. His relationship with his wife if horrific at best. They have nothing in common and his wife comes across as the bad guy in their situation. But I still find it a little hard to condone Ethan's one night stands and blatant cheating. I know he was suffering. I realize that she was the wicked witch of wives, but I still have a harder time relating to him because I felt like he was going about it all wrong. I did however want a happy ending for him as well, even though he sort of brought some of the crap on himself.
Maggie is also sort of looking at finding a new relationship before she discards the old one. Though it happens routinely in life, I had a little bit of trouble rationalizing it. Call me old fashioned. I liked the novel a lot, but it did bring up a red flag for me. That's not to say that it isn't an extremely satisfying read. James does a remarkable job of allowing the reader to find things to like about each character. She makes them ordinary people you might meet on the street or sit next to in the hair salon. That made the characters accessible and easy to identify with.
I recommend this to any reader loves chick-lit and easy, satisfying reads. James is an author that I turn to when I want to read a book that is comforting and doesn't keep me on edge the whole time I'm reading. Those books have their time and place as well, but James has created a niche that not many authors have thought to tap. I like her smooth style and humor. Her books just kind of make you feel lazy and relaxed. This one would be great for a long weekend or over the holidays, when time kind of slows down and allows you to breath.
Promises, Promises is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her tow grownup sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion. The author of fifteen bestselling novels, including Garden of Delight, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year award, Erica divides her time between Cheshire, England, and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.