KEEPING PROMISE ROCK is a heart rendering coming of age m/m romance that follows the lives of Carrick “Crick” James Francis and Deacon Winter. It is a story of finding your own kind of family, of making mistakes and accepting the consequences but above all it is the evolving love two men share that tugged at my heart strings. Amy Lane took my in to the lives of Crick and Deacon, how they shared their youth, their teenage years and their twenties together. How a young innocent crush from Crick grew in to a burning, gut-deep love and finds it answered by the one and only man who owned his heart for so many years.
The lives of Crick and Deacon are hectic with ups and downs and rife with their emotions which made this story so captivating in its sincerity. This story doesn’t get sugar coated yet there is room for tender, loving and fun filled moments as well. At first the story is mostly told from Crick’s point of view and gave me a close connection to him and his budding love for the 5 years older Deacon. The innocence is very much present but Crick’s life is all but innocent, he has to take care of his younger sisters, his step-dad is an a**hole of the first order and a mother who doesn’t care. Later on the point of views blend from both Crick as well as Deacon’s side giving a more balanced and rounded storytelling.
Amy Lane begins this story with an attention grabbing chapter where events unfolds for Crick and ends with a cliffhanger. After that first chapter I was transported back in time to meet a young Crick on another life altering day. The first part of KPR I was pining for Deacon to acknowledge Crick’s emotions for him, we all remember how intense a first love can be. A look, a touch, a smile of that person can make your day and Deacon is a teenager who is just likable. He doesn’t come across as a goody two shoe but still is so charming, responsible and smart. He doesn’t open up to many but when he does I knew it was a profound moment, knowing that this person truly mattered to him. From the beginning Crick and Deacon have a connection that only grows and strengthens with the bitter sweet and the emotionally intense events unfolding throughout their lives. Crick is impulsive, energetic and loyal which doesn’t change much in the course of the years. It is his impulsive nature that tears him and Deacon apart.
Because KPR entails about 15 years and quite a lot of pages Amy Lane can really go in-depth with the character development and romance. The passion between Crick and Deacon is hot but the emphasis lies on the romantic development. There are homophobic issues, a teen-age pregnancy, alcoholism, losing friends and a war, all these more serious themes pass the venue and are just the bigger issues. At the heart it is the love between Deacon and Crick that swept me off my feet. Neither one if perfect, both make mistakes but it makes the love become all the more real. I connected to both because the story is so intimate, the characters are laid bare with all their strengths and flaws keeping no secrets from the reader. I was with them every step of the way to a happily ever after that became the culmination of all that Deacon and Crick wanted. Each other, family and the one place they called home, The Pulpit.
Separate and together the secondary characters; Crick’s sister Benny, friends Amy, Jon, Andrew etc cetera created a unit, a support system, a family. All their lives entwine within the larger picture and I held each dear to my heart. Amy Lane knows how to make her characters go through deep valleys but she provides a small group that will keep you going in the darkest hours. Love and friendship is something that encompasses a maelstrom of feelings and I couldn’t stop reading. There aren’t many stories where my notes are half a notebook page but KPR was one of those novels that I started and couldn’t put down, the characters and the narrating just kept pulling me back again and again.
KEEPING PROMISE ROCK is a story that inevitable draws you in to the lives of many colorful characters but Crick and Deacon are the center of it. The gripping events that they shared with me made a lasting impression and this is one of those m/m stories that will never leave my shelves. I want the chance to revisit them…