Promises Reviewed By Conny Withay of
Conny Withay

Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.

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By Conny Withay
Published on May 19, 2016

Author: Ardyce Durham
Publisher: Sarah Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61456-44-1

Author: Ardyce Durham
Publisher: Sarah Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61456-44-1

I promised an’ I never goes back on a promised sealed with a han’shake. Fer sure, me an’ Wes never goes back on our words to one ‘nother, ” Owen remembers Wes in Ardyce Durham’s novel, Promises.

This 389-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction about America’s South in the late eighteen hundreds. Without too much graphic details, the topics of sex, moonshine, injuries, imprisonment, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. Incorrect spelling is used for emphasis of dialect.

In this tale that begins in Tennessee in 1848, two young neighbor boys become best friends, including when they move to Mississippi and join the Confederate Army. When Wes is dying at the Battle of Gettysburg, Owen makes him a promise to keep no matter what. Although he has to lie about what happened after the war, Owen fulfills his promise to Wes and lives a long life of happiness with a marriage producing children to great-grandchildren. It is when he is in his late nineties that he confides what happened to his best friend and to him after the war.

Learning about the past and how people lived is interesting, especially if it involves America’s Civil War. I like how this story covers the gambit of two friends, their families, and memories that are fictionalized by the author regarding her paternal great-grandfather from the South.

Some may not like reading about war, abuse, and death, especially when it involves the bloody Civil War. Others may find the story initially slow to start and pick up about a hundred pages into the book. As a speed-reader, I found it rather challenging when it came to the Southern dialogue of intentionally misspelled words. Over time, I had to avoid some of these sections as they took too much time to decipher,  or I had to reread them several times to comprehend, but I did grasp the story’s contents and highlights.

Retired, Durham has had careers ranging from teacher to truck driver to nursery worker. A widow, she lives in Texas and enjoys updating her ninety-year-old house.

Personally, I wish there were less hard-to-read conversations for those readers who read quickly. Also, not having repetition of the stories throughout the book would be helpful.

If you are looking for a detailed account of one fictional man’s life that covers almost one hundred years in the South and surrounds the Civil War and its aftermath, this may be a good one for you. I found it a little tedious and repetitive, but that is due to my personal preference as a speed-reader.