The Promise

The Promise

3.97 (6,209 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.97 (6,209 ratings by Goodreads)

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From the author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (soon to be a major motion picture), shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and longlisted for the Orange Prize!

"This second engaging novel from Weisgarber . . . has shades of Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, and Conrad Richter." Publishers Weekly, starred review

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.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 33.02mm | 468g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1629142360
  • 9781629142364
  • 3,659,215

Review quote

"This second engaging novel from Weisgarber . . . has shades of Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, and Conrad Richter, and the prose has a streak of formality that gives the book a period flavor, but Catherine's first-person narration (and later that of Nan Ogden, the housekeeper at Catherine's new home) is also appealingly immediate. It's a wonderful setup for solid storytelling . . . warm and winning." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Excellent use of historical detail and strong character development mark this second novel by Weisgarber, whose 2010 debut, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and it should attract wide readership." Library Journal

"Based on the true story of one of the deadliest storms in American history, The Promise is the work of a skilled storyteller. Weisgarber (The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, 2010) has written a beautiful, deeply engaging story about love, loss, and the power of secrets to change our lives." Booklist

"Weisgarber has delivered a second novel of finely drawn characters anchored by historical events. It's the sort of tale that you find yourself staying up late at night to finish." Dallas Morning News

"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

"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, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

"Ann Weisgarber's The Promise is set against the backdrop of the worst natural disaster of the 20th century in the U.S., but the weather is no match for [this] story of two women's love for the same man. The coastal isolation of Galveston shows Weisgarber's ability to make a place come alive, and the real storm in the book is the demand of family, the hope of love, and the impossibility of reinvention. Fans of A Reliable Wife will find The Promise to be a book they can latch onto." Alexi Zentner, author of Touch and The Lobster Kings

"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

"Weisgarber's conjuring of Galveston Island at the turn of the 20th century is miraculous--a sensory feast. Narrated by a pair of compellingly divergent female voices, The Promise is at once an American story of second chances, an achingly felt love triangle, and a psychological tour de force. I am stunned. Rarely do novelists so happily marry depth of insight to unflagging suspense." Lin Enger, author of Undiscovered Country

"The Promise is a gripping drama, at once personal and macrocosmic, a powerful recreation of the hurricane that devastates Galveston in 1900--and the fragile but hopeful life that a young woman is rebuilding there after fleeing from a scandalous past. I was captivated by Weisgarber's deft use of voices, her careful delineation of character, and her ability to pull the reader into a different time and place." Chitra Divakaruni, author of Mistress of Spices and Oleander Girl

"The Promise is a thrilling and heartbreaking novel. Told in alternating voices, with perfect pitch, it brings the past alive with a vivid sense of place and time. This is a story of the enduring bonds between people, of shame and redemption, of promises kept. No one has ever dramatized a cataclysmic storm better, the fury and aftermath. It is a novel of the struggle, the work, and the power of love." Robert Morgan, author of The Road From Gap Creek

"The Promise takes a historical premise, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, but makes the story of two women and the way they try to live and love in a hard hard world as affecting and evocative as any storm." Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon

Finalist for the 2014 Ohioana Book Awards
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About Ann Weisgarber

Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa, but now splits her time between Sugar Land, Texas, and Galveston, Texas. Her first novel The Personal History of Rachel DuPree was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers.
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Rating details

3.97 out of 5 stars
- 6,209 ratings
5 30% (1,889)
4 43% (2,656)
3 21% (1,313)
2 4% (279)
1 1% (72)
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