The Promise (Paperback)Ann Weisgarber (author)
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Shortlisted for the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
1900. Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation she agrees to marry him.
But when Catherine travels to Oscar's farm on Galveston island, Texas - a thousand miles from home - she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her. The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar's little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother. And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.
Meanwhile for Nan Ogden, Oscar's housekeeper, Catherine's sudden arrival has come as a great shock. For not only did she promise Oscar's first wife that she would be the one to take care of little Andre, but she has feelings for Oscar which she is struggling to suppress. And when the worst storm in a generation descends, the women will find themselves tested as never before . . .
From the author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Promise is a heart-breaking story of love, loss and buried secrets, which confirms Weisgarber as one of the most compelling literary voices writing today.
The Promise was a finalist in the Western Writers of America Best Historical Fiction Awards.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 354 g
Dimensions: 203 x 127 x 18 mm
On Saturday 8 September 1900, Galveston, Texas, the island city in the Gulf of Mexico, then one of the largest ports in America, was devastated by a hurricane. It was the worst US natural disaster of the 20th century, with a death toll of 8,000 people. Present-day Galveston resident and Orange Prize longlistee Ann Weisgarber's novel comes to a head in the eye of this storm, the emotional battles between the members of one Galveston Island family played out against the backdrop of howling wind and rain, and the steady rush of flood water . . . The narration is split between Catherine and Nan, Weisgarber doing an admirable job in distinguishing between the two, the voice of each ringing out clearly. So, too, her description of the storm itself is wonderfully atmospheric, the fear of her protagonists mounting minute by minute, the tension as thick as the heavy Texan summer air. Combine this with heartbreaking historical details and you have the perfect ingredients for vintage historical fiction. * Independent *
'A gripping, beautiful story of loyalties and hidden loves. Ann Weisgarber's pitch-perfect characters will break your heart and keep you guessing right to the very end' Carol Rifka Brunt, New York Times bestselling author of Tell The Wolves I'm Home
'Set against the worst natural disaster in twentieth century American history, The Promise is a riveting tale, told in lean luminous prose, of the power of love and the frailty of the human condition. Weisgarber knows storms, those that devastate the land and those that rage in the human heart. Her characters will live in your imagination long after you've turned the last deeply moving page' Ellen Feldman, author of Next to Love and Scottsboro
'This is a warm and beautiful read, but be warned - you might need to have a box of tissues handy!' Essentials
'In September 1900, a devastating hurricane hit the island city of Galveston in Texas . . . Against this dramatic backdrop, acclaimed author Ann Weisgarber has woven a beautiful and breathtaking story of love and loss, new beginnings and old secrets, resentment and reconciliation. The Promise is Weisgarber's first book since The Personal History of Rachel Dupree was nominated for the Orange Prize and it's as haunting as it is exciting. Richly descriptive and exceptionally powerful, the novel is a triumph of intelligent storytelling and understated emotion, and confirms the author as one of the most compelling contemporary literary voices around. At the exquisitely crafted heart of the story is a young woman fleeing social disgrace in sophisticated Dayton, Ohio to marry a man she hasn't seen for 12 years in the vaporising, backwoods heat of Texas . . . Weisgarber's masterful evocation of time and place and her portrayal of the simmering tensions created both by the gathering storm and the subtle interplay of the central relationships are the defining elements of this absorbing novel . . . The Promise is a challenging, gripping and intensely moving story' Lancashire Evening Post
In this superb novel, Ann Weisgarber has created voices so convincing it is as if the dead themselves have arisen to tell their story. The Promise is a novel that, once started, few readers will be able to put down. * Ron Rash *
Weisgarber's tale is a deeply moving story about the heart and worth of obscure lives, and becomes a universal tale despite its tiny Texan-boondocks canvas. * Waterstones Blog *
The One You Won't Want To Put Down . . . One good book. That's all you need this summer - just one book that you can put down if you need to but that you won't want to. And that describes The Promise. With a real historical event as her background, author Ann Weisgarber spins a story of two women who are more alike than they'd ever admit and the reasons they eventually learn of that truth. That's cause enough to become totally captivated by this novel, but what struck me most was the way in which this story is told: Weisgarber deftly turns the clock back 115 years, immersing readers in social mores, turn-of-the-last-century life and tiny details of day-to-day survival. That, plus wonderful characters, makes this book a winner. Just be prepared with a tissue, that's all I'm going to say. Bring a box of them, in fact, because this book proves that The Promise isn't all that can be broken. * Times Record *
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