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The Promise / Anne Weisgarber

November 20, 2013

People rummage through rubble of destroyed hou...

I really enjoyed ‘The Promise’ by Anne Weisgarber, which was long listed for the Orange Prize.  I learnt something as well.  I love how you can pick up a work of fiction and learn new things.  For instance,  I never knew Galveston was an Island off the Coast of Texas.  I never knew the Galveston Hurricane was, and still is, the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States.  All I knew of Galveston was from the song by Glenn Campbell .. remember?Beautiful song, and I now have it firmly entrenched in my mind.. an ear worm I think this is called.

the-promise-cover “..Galveston, oh, Galveston,
I still hear your seawaves crashin,
while I watch the cannons flashin’.
I clean my gun, and dream of Galveston…”

The story starts in 1900, Dayton, Ohio, where young Catherine Wainwright flees from scandal.  Her rescue comes in the arms of an old childhood suitor who she agrees to marry.  She heads to Galveston Island believing him to be a poor second best and thinking he knows nothing of her past.   He is now a widower with a small child who has been cared for by Nan Ogden, the doting housekeeper, who is none too happy at Catherine’s appearance.  The story is narrated alternatively by Catherine and Nan, two very different women. The story occurs amidst the oppressive, sweltering heat on Galveston Island, in the lead up to the 1900 Hurricane which took so many lives.

If you love historical fiction, then this book is must read.  I found this book to be beautifully written and would rate it 8/10.  Reserve now.

– Pamela

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