Promise Bridge

Promise Bridge

4.7 7
by Eileen Clymer Schwab
     
 

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A powerful debut novel of friendship, love, and family set in the segregated pre-Civil War South.

"This is a promise bridge, and it bridges a promise flowing from your heart to mine. It can't never be broken...the promise is part of you now, understand."

Thus begins an unlikely friendship between Hannelore Blessing, a plantation mistress, and

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Overview

A powerful debut novel of friendship, love, and family set in the segregated pre-Civil War South.

"This is a promise bridge, and it bridges a promise flowing from your heart to mine. It can't never be broken...the promise is part of you now, understand."

Thus begins an unlikely friendship between Hannelore Blessing, a plantation mistress, and a slave girl named Livie. As the young women are launched on a harrowing journey of awakening filled with shared risks and nurtured promises amid whispers of the Underground Railroad and the rising tension preceding the Civil War, they discover their ability to trust, love, and ultimately take action.

Aided by Colt, a devoted suitor hoping to win her heart, Hannah comes to understand that true friendship means letting go, so that Livie can be free to find a life and destiny all her own. However, a vicious slave catcher stalks the two women-and his unseemly motives and relentless pursuit threaten all that Hannah holds dear, as well as put her loved ones in unimaginable danger.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Schwab's promising debut puts an uncommon spin on a runaway slave story. Hannah Blessing has had a privileged upbringing at Hillcrest, her aunt's Virginia plantation where slavery has been a fact of life she never gave much thought to--until Hannah and best friend-turned-potential suitor Colt encounter a group of runaway slaves in the woods. Among them is Livie, a wounded girl about Hannah's age. When Livie's unable to continue traveling, Hannah and Colt integrate her into Hillcrest's slave population, and soon she's Hannah's personal servant, and Hannah begins to understand the horrors of slavery. After some time, Hannah and Colt, with the help of some unlikely allies, send Livie north, but the overseer at the neighboring plantation has different plans-- and a hidden personal stake in the matter. Though the dialogue ranges from florid to cheesy ("I never knowed a white heart and a colored heart could beat together in friendship"), readers who are won over by the strength of Hannah and Livie and can wait through a slow start will be rewarded by some surprising twists and an eventually riveting narrative. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Friendship with a runaway slave helps an orphaned white woman in antebellum Virginia wake up to shame, injustice and love. There's more energy than subtlety in Schwab's debut, an historical drama with mystery undertones devoted to spirited Hannah Blessing, who lost her parents in hazy circumstances and now lives in the chilly but well-ordered home of successful plantation owner Aunt Augusta. With her "milky cheeks" and "Southern belle eyes," Hannah attracts the attention not only of upright trainee doctor Colt Reynolds but also his bastard half-brother Twitch Grayson, a sadistic slave-catcher. After Colt wounds young runaway Livie on a hunting expedition, Hannah pretends to take her in as her house slave in order to protect her and the two women become close friends. Surprisingly sassy Livie opens Hannah's eyes to the perpetual misery of enslavement while Hannah also begins to piece together the truth about her parents' death. With the return of Livie's brother Marcus, who has been helping slaves to escape north via the Underground Railroad and who exposes Twitch's illegal slave-rustling, the pace shifts from leisurely to frenetic. Escapes, births, whippings, arguments, revelations, beatings and declarations of love pile up as the action shifts north to Promise Bridge, home of escaped slaves, where radical Hannah will create her hope-filled future. Soapy storytelling and one-dimensional characters contrast oddly with the story's social conscience in a well-meaning but awkward narrative. Agent: Kevan Lyon/Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451230034
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/06/2010
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Eileen Clymer Schwab is a first time novelist. She resides with her family in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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