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Kat's Promise    by Bonnie Shimko order for
Kat's Promise
by Bonnie Shimko
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

At twelve-years-old Kat finds herself living with her rich aunt, Paulina, in her mother's childhood home. Kat promised her mother that she would live with Paulina after she died. The sisters have been estranged since Kat's mother married her dad, who was Paulina's fiancÚ.

Paulina wants Kat to call her Mother and pretend to be her daughter. She offers a new life with everything Kat's heart desires. She tells Kat to forget her old life. Kat finds the idea ludicrous since Paulina hated her mother so much that she refused to agree to pay for an operation that might have saved her life. Kat doesn't want to forget her old life with her mother. She didn't mind being poor so long as she and her mother were together. Kat won't be bought.

Paulina realizes that Kat won't play daughter to her so she washes her hands of her. She says she'll provide a roof over Kat's head and food, but other than that, she is on her own. She sends Kat next door for a job cooking supper for Mr. Beck and looking out for his mentally disabled grandson.

Nettie, the housekeeper, tries to make things easier for Kat. Nettie is a mysterious woman who is treated like a slave by her aunt, but still shows up for work, day after day. Kat is happy eating in the kitchen with her new friend and taking care of Mr. Beck and Johnny.

As time goes by, Kat uncovers bits and pieces of her mother's and father's past and how their decisions effect her future. Kat's Promise is a tender book told in first person - readers will find Kat vulnerable, but able to stand up for herself and those she cares about.

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