Saturday, 12 October 2019

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber + #Giveaway

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber
Published in America by Mantle in March 2013.

How I got this book:
Swapped for at a book exchange

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 . . .

I was surprised by just how much I loved this novel! Ann Weisgarber's simple prose and delicate character portrayals combined to create an emotional story which almost had me in tears by the end - and books rarely make me cry. I you are a more sensitive reader I suggest making sure you have chocolate and a handkerchief to hand before you open the cover. The Promise, for me, was reminiscent of Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy. I think readers who appreciated those novels will also love this one. It took me a couple of chapters to begin to empathise with Catherine and Nan, but once I did I was completely hooked.

What worked so brilliantly for me in The Promise was the fraught relationships between Catherine and Oscar, Nan and Oscar, and between Catherine and Nan. In writing that I have realised that this is a kind of love triangle novel, but not in the usual sense of that trope which would simply have exasperated me. Instead, here, the awkwardness between these people getting to know each other is brilliantly - and painfully - portrayed. Weisgarber's stilted conversations are perfectly pitched. I could feel every embarrassed blush and desperate grasp for a word to bridge the silence.

I also appreciated learning about rural Texas at the turn of the last century, especially the particular difficulties of life on the narrow Galveston peninsula. I wasn't previously aware of the 1902 hurricane so didn't pick up on the significance of Weisgarber's use of dates to indicate the approaching disaster. I did feel the strong sense of foreboding though and imagine this would have been all the more intense for readers with a better knowledge of Texan history. The hurricane scenes themselves are breathtaking. Incredible writing! I chose The Promise just on a whim at a book exchange and am delighted to have done so. It is a gem.

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is a Kindle copy of The Promise by Ann Weisgarber.
Open until the 26th October to anyone who can receive an Amazon UK gifted ebook.

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber ebook giveaway

This giveaway is not connected with the author, publisher or Amazon. I will personally be gifting a copy of the ebook to the giveaway winner.
The giveaway closes at midnight (UK time) on the 26th October and I will pick a winner on the 27th. That winner will have three days to respond to my email otherwise the prize will be forfeit. And, yes, I Will be checking that the winning entrant actually completed the winning task!

Etsy Find!
by Genealogical Surveyor in
Florida, USA

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  1. WOW! What a fascinating premise... and you liked it!! I think when a love triangle is done well it can be particularly effecting. I think my book club would love this actually. Now I just have to read it. ;)

    1. I had no real expectations for The Promise and was blown away (pun kinda intended) by the story and the writing. Fab novel which would be an interesting book club read

  2. Congrats to Solange T who's won a copy of The Promise by Ann Weisgarber!
    If that's not you, there's lots more giveaways to enter here: