I've read a couple of Ann Tatlock's books and found them to be deeply thought provoking. It is the same with reading Promises to Keep. We have characters who are truly characters!
There is Tillie--the woman who built the house Roz is living in
Roz--an eleven year old girl whose parents have split up
Wally--Roz's older brother, who runs away to join the Army during the Viet Nam war
Mara--Roz's best friend--a biracial girl when racism is still alive and well
Johnny--Tillie's son who thinks she belongs in a nursing home instead of being in her own home
Lyle--Tillie's son who has been on the mission field in Bolivia but he's coming home
Alan--Roz's drunken father
Promises to Keep reads like a memoir, told in Roz's voice and with the wisdom only an eleven-year-old can exhibit. It details a year in her family's life, from Tillie showing up on their doorstep, to her father showing up in town; from meeting Mara at an air raid drill, to seeing their prayers answered in a most unusual way.
Roz is the only one Alan allows to know he is in town, and he does so by leaving Sugar Daddy candy in her desk at first. Then he meets with her at a diner, telling her he wants the family back together. Mara is not very trusting of him, even though she never meets him. She seems to have a sense about Roz's father that Roz can't see because she is too close to the issue. When everything falls apart, Mara is there for Roz.
I give this Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a friend like Mara.