Promise: A Novel

By Minrose Gwin
Read by Adenrele Ojo

12.50 Hours 02/27/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781538500323

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In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women worlds apart—one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager—fight for their families’ survival in this lyrical and powerful novel with the emotional impact of the works of Jesmyn Ward, Christina Baker Kline, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Sue Monk Kidd. A few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, in northeastern Mississippi. Measured as an F-5—the highest on the Fujita scale—the tornado killed more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures. When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son. Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Dovey hates Judge Mort McNabb, a powerful man who cannot control his eldest son, a violent and sadistic youth who has left his mark on Dovey’s family, linking their fates. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one. The mother, Alice, a schoolteacher, is severely injured. The shell-shocked judge has gone to look for baby Tommy, blown from Alice’s arms. And Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him. During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.

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Summary

Summary

In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women worlds apart—one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager—fight for their families’ survival in this lyrical and powerful novel with the emotional impact of the works of Jesmyn Ward, Christina Baker Kline, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Sue Monk Kidd.

A few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, in northeastern Mississippi. Measured as an F-5—the highest on the Fujita scale—the tornado killed more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures.

When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son.

Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Dovey hates Judge Mort McNabb, a powerful man who cannot control his eldest son, a violent and sadistic youth who has left his mark on Dovey’s family, linking their fates. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one. The mother, Alice, a schoolteacher, is severely injured. The shell-shocked judge has gone to look for baby Tommy, blown from Alice’s arms. And Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him.

During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Memorable…vividly conveys what it was like to survive the fourth most deadly tornado in US history; it also brings to light the vast disparity in the care and treatment of white vs. black residents.” Library Journal
“A gripping tale of racism, power, and the bonds that make a family, Promise explores how one can rebuild after tragedy strikes.” Booklist
“The novel’s especially timely focus on what happens to communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster will draw many readers…Gwin’s latest effort will inspire further exploration of an underexamined American tragedy.” Kirkus Reviews
Promise is a powerful story about yet another forgotten chapter in our great national drama. Minrose Gwin knows her characters well and writes about them and their place and times with sympathy and wisdom.” Steve Yarbrough, author of The Realm of Last Chances
“A compelling powerhouse of a story that grips us from the horrific tornado at its start to its stunning, heart-wrenching finish, Minrose Gwin’s gorgeous new novel is a masterpiece!” Jaimee Wriston Colbert, author of Wild Things, praise for the author
“An extraordinary novel.” Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life
Gwin’s gift shines in the complexity of her characters and their fraught relationships with each other, their capacity for courage and hope, coupled with their passion for justice…I couldn’t put this novel down, and I don’t think you’ll want to either.” Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife
“This book is a monumental achievement, and Gwin is a fiercely talented writer.” Jaimee Wriston Colbert, author of Wild Things
“Lyrically precise, taut, and realistic, Promise kept me absorbed from beginning to end.” Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Minrose Gwin

Minrose Gwin is the author of The Queen of Palmyra. She has written three scholarly books, coedited The Literature of the American South, and teaches contemporary fiction at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 12.50
Audience: Adult
Language: English