*Spoiler Free Review*
You can usually find me reading two books at one time. I have a daytime book, one that is always a physical copy, and a nighttime book, always a kindle edition so I can stay up reading late in the night without disturbing the dear husband. The Promise, by Ann Weisgarber (author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree) was one such nighttime kindle book. However, this particular “nighttime only” read turned into an “all day, can’t put it down” read, and now you know the direction this review is headed toward.
The story starts in 1900 America, and we follow Catherine Wainright, as she is driven out of Dayton, Ohio by personal scandal and into foreign Galveston Island, Texas. She has agreed to marry widower Oscar Williams, a former acquaintance, and take care of his young son, in exchange for no questions asked sort of marriage. We also get to read the story from Nan Ogden’s POV, a young single woman who has taken the temporary place of housewife and mother for Oscar, and we find out her secret affections for him, which leads into a type of love triangle. We follow these characters as they are thrown (quite literally ) together and then face the historically accurate Galveston Hurricane of 1900, and the events that ensue.
I personally found this story riveting, as I broke my cardinal rule in reading the kindle edition in the daytime, but also heartbreaking. The themes the story takes encompass personal tragedy, death, and natural disasters. I felt sorry for Catherine, and all women of her time, being forced to flee a city and an established life because of a mistake. She has to take drastic measures just to save face. You also feel empathy for Oscar, as he takes in a woman who doesn’t feel love for him after his wife has recently passed away. Then throw Nan into the mix, and you have a true story that pulls on the proverbial heartstrings in all different directions.
I also really appreciated the details of the historical account of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which the author describes accurately. I personally did not know about the hurricane, so that was an interesting fact that I went on to search out for myself.
The Promise by Ann Weisgarber was a book that did not meet my expectation, but frankly, blew them away. If you appreciate heartbreaking tales that ring all to true to real life, and a fictional story based on factional history, I’d recommend this for you.
What do you think? Have you read it and loved it? Read it and hated it? Leave your comments below!
*This is my honest opinion of this book. I have not received any compensation, money or otherwise, for my review of this book from the author or publisher.