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Publisher Description

2017 Christianity Today “Award of Merit” winner
2017 Christy Award winner! (General Fiction category)

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 promise Jesse Woods ever broke.

Fiction & Literature
July 1
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Tyndale House Publishers

Customer Reviews

LYS August 4, 2011 ,

Dee Dee

Best book I ever read! Couldn’t put it down very suspenseful! It pulled out every emotion. Can’t recommend it enough!

Coach Boz ,

The Promise of Jessie Woods

Excellent story development and character evolvement. Enjoyed reading from start to finish!

Matthew S. Wilson ,


Reading this book took me right back to my 1980s youth. I connected with all the characters as if I was the one caught up in the whirlwind of small town USA. Fun to read, even brought on a few tears toward the finale!

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