degrees in physics and teaching, Jared Thomas lives in the
small town he grew up in and works at the hardware store he
owns with his brother and sister-in-law. Heís basically
content with his life, but he gets lonely. Then Matt
Richards, the townís new police officer, comes to the
hardware store to look at the Jeep Jaredís sister-in-law is
selling, and Jared thinks he might have found a friend.
Jaredís gay and Mattís straight, but Jaredís so happy to
have met a kindred spirit he doesnít careóat least at
first. Will Jaredís growing feelings, and Mattís obvious
confusion, ruin everything?
enjoyed Promises. Marie Sexton takes the
friends-to-lovers and seemingly straight guy tropes and
turns them into a story thatís emotional, dramatic, and has
just the right amount of angst and conflict. Even the fact
that the narration is first person (from Jaredís point of
view) didnít diminish my enjoyment of Promises.
Outwardly confident and secure in his sexuality, but
inwardly conflicted and afraid, Jared is a great character.
Having lived in a small town myself, I couldnít help
sympathizing with his feelings of isolation at being
different. Matt is also a realistic and sympathetic
character. Heís a good cop and friend, and he does an
admirable job of ignoring the whispers about his friendship
with Jared. His confusion about his sexuality, and his
relationship with his parents and coworkers, lead him to
make some hurtful decisions, but I understood why he made
the choices he did (even when I wanted to slap him). The
conflicts, both internal and external, are well done. The
small-town setting is nicely drawn too. Secondary
characters, Jaredís brother and sister-in-law, Mattís
family, Mattís fellow police officers, and others, help to
explain a lot of the aspects of the story we wouldnít
ordinarily get to see through a first-person narratorís
eyes. At different points, Promises made me
smile, laugh, frown, and even tear up a few times. I felt
emotions right along with Jared and Matt. Not too many
books have made me do that lately, but Promises
more than lived up to its title. Iíll definitely be
seeking out more of Ms. Sextonís work.