The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

 About the Book 
The summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.
Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only pro

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About the Book

I love it when unlikely people form the most wonderful friendships, and that is exactly what happens in this book. Three kids from different walks of life and family situations became the best of friends. I felt this book was so much more than that though. I saw themes of loyalty, true friendship, forgiveness, difficult situations, and one extremely strong heroine. 

It did not take me long to get hooked into this book. In fact I can honestly say it was from the very beginning. The author was well versed and so descriptive I felt as if I were living the storyline. Or at least visualizing it in my head! I loved the attention to detail throughout the book. Not only did the author eloquently describe the surroundings, but he provided background information to help bring it all together in a way that didn’t bore me or make me feel like I was reading to many details. It was provided at just the right times in just the right amount. 

This story is really told in two parts. Some chapters are from the past (1972), and some are from the present (1984). I tend to shy away from books that flip back and forth like that because I find them to be confusing. This was anything but. When a thought came to the main character Matt in the present setting, the next chapter would most likely be a flashback that directly pertained. That chapters flowed together nicely, and I appreciated the little tidbits of 1972 throughout the book, rather then receiving them all at once. 

My favorite character in this book was Jesse. She wasn’t afraid of anything, and she was loyal to a fault. She fought her way through a hard life and often times I found myself almost pitying her. But then she would do something I wouldn’t have the courage to do and the pity changed to admiration. Jesse never ceased to amaze me during this story, right up until the very end. I thought I had the ending all figured out until I read it!

I enjoyed this book very much and recommend to all. It is a great reminder of what a good friendship is, but more importantly how we all need to look at someone beneath their surface. Race, social status, family background and living arrangements do not make a person. We need to search deeper and find out who a person really is. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review which I have given. 

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