Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Promise

On Palm Sunday in 1936, a tornado touched down in the town of Tupelo, Mississippi. Hundreds are killed, homes and businesses are destroyed, and the town that people have lived in for their entire lives is gone forever. Dovey is outside, wondering when her granddaughter Dreama and great-grandson Promise would return. She is thrown through the air and lands wounded and dazed with no idea if her family is still alive. Across town, 16-year-old Jo McNabb comes to with a piece of glass embedded in her forehead. Her mother is injured, her baby brother is missing, and her father is nowhere to be found. The two families have a bitter and difficult history, but their actions on that devastating day will cross lines and build new relationships.

Minrose Gwin based her novel on a real event. Her grandmother lived through this tornado. It would be impossible for Gwin to show the range of injury and grief inflicted that struck the town, so she focuses on two women who are opposites in every way. One is a poor, black grandmother and the other is a a rich white girl. Dovey is all too familiar with the ways people can inflict pain on each other, while naive Jo is just starting to learn. But both of them are determined to survive, to do what needs to be done, and to fight for their families.

This story deals with some very dark things--rape, racism, natural disasters, and poverty, to name a few. But everything cleans up a bit too neatly--justice will be served to abusive boys and absent parents and closure will be found for our heroines, even among the ruins of their homes. While the photos included within this book show the devastation of this tornado, Promise leaves no doubt that Jo and Dovey will be able to rise from the wreckage and maybe even have a happy ending one day.

By Minroe Gwin
William Morrow February 2018
400 pages
Received from the publisher for TLC Book Tours


  1. This book originally was on my radar when my sales rep from Harper was trying to talk me into carrying it for my store -- the fact that it was a MS location stuck with me. I like your review here, not saying too much about it, and I'm glad to hear you say that there's room for hope at the end.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.