The Promised World: A Novel

The Promised World: A Novel

by Lisa Tucker

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Overview


In acclaimed bestselling author Lisa Tucker’s mesmerizing and suspenseful tale of intimacy, betrayal, and lost innocence, a literature professor’s carefully constructed life shatters after her twin brother’s death.

On a March afternoon, while Lila Cole is working in her quiet office, her twin brother, Billy, points an unloaded rifle out a hotel window, closing down a city block. The aftermath of his death brings shock after shock for Lila when she discovers that her brilliant but troubled twin was not only estranged from his wife, but also charged with endangering the life of his middle child and namesake, eight-year-old William.

As Lila struggles to figure out what was truth and what was fiction in her brother’s complicated past, she will put her job, her marriage, and even her sanity at risk. And when the hidden meaning behind Billy’s stories comes to light, she will have to act before Billy’s children are destroyed by the same heartbreaking reality that shattered her protector and twin more than twenty years ago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416575740
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 09/01/2009
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,095,483
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Lisa Tucker is the bestselling author of The Promised World, The Cure for Modern Life, Once Upon a Day, Shout Down the Moon and The Song Reader. Her short work has appeared in Seventeen, Pages and The Oxford American. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

Hometown:

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Place of Birth:

Missouri

Education:

B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1984; M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1987; M.A., Villanova University, 1991

Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE

While millions of people watched her brother die, Lila sat in her quiet office at the university, working on a paper about Herman Melville’s later years. Someone else might have found it ironic that, on that very afternoon, she’d been thinking about Melville’s son, who shot himself. Lila herself didn’t make the connection until much later, and by then, she was so lost she could only see it as an obvious sign that she should have known, that she’d failed Billy when he needed her most.

Though Billy didn’t shoot himself, his death was considered a suicide. Patrick, Lila’s husband, had to explain it to her twice before she realized what he was saying. Her mind was working so slowly, but she finally understood that “suicide by police” happened enough that it had its own label. Billy had holed himself up inside a Center City Philadelphia hotel with a rifle, unloaded but aimed at an elementary school, so a SWAT team would have to do what he couldn’t or wouldn’t do to himself. As far as Lila knew, Billy had never owned a gun, but she hadn’t talked to her twin much in the last two years, since he’d moved with his family to central Pennsylvania. Still, everyone knew Lila was a twin, because she talked about her brother constantly. And many of those people were probably watching as Lila’s brother closed down an entire city block and sent parents and teachers and children into a terrified panic. As one of the fathers told the reporters, after the threat had been “nullified”: “Of course parents are afraid of violence these days. Seems like every week, there’s another nut job with an ax to grind.”

Her beautiful, sensitive brother Billy—the most intelligent person she’d ever known, who taught her to climb trees and read her stories when she couldn’t sleep and told her flowers were the only proof we needed that God loved us—reduced to a nut job. She wanted to scream at this father, this stranger, but the only sound she could make was a muffled cry.

Patrick hadn’t wanted Lila to watch the eleven o’clock news, but she had insisted. They both knew this would still be the top story, though the city undoubtedly had murders and rapes and robberies to report that day. The elementary school was an upscale, private place, where lawyers and executives and professors like Lila dropped their children off on the way to work. Except Lila didn’t have any children because, though she and Patrick were in their mid-thirties now and had been married for more than a decade, she kept begging him to wait just a little longer to start their family. What she was waiting for, Lila could never explain. She honestly didn’t know.

Her brother certainly hadn’t waited. When Billy showed up at her college graduation, Lila hadn’t seen him in almost a year and she was giddy with the thrill of reunion. He said he was there to give her a present and handed her a large, brown box with nothing on it except a cluster of FRAGILE stickers. He told her to open it later, in her room. She thought it might be pot, since Billy always had pot, no matter how poor he was. They were both poor then (because they’d refused to take any of their stepfather’s money), but Lila had gotten a full scholarship to a prestigious school while Billy had embarked on his adventure to see America, funded by a string of jobs he hated.

She took the box to the room that she was being kicked out of the next day. The dorms were already closed—classes had ended weeks ago—but Lila had gotten special permission to remain until her summer camp teaching job began. Every year it was like that: piecing together a place to stay by begging favors from people who liked Lila and sympathized with her circumstances. Her parents were dead (Billy had forged the death certificates way back, when Lila first started applying for college) and her only relative, a brother, was traveling full-time for his company. “That’s true, too,” Billy had said. “I’m going to be traveling for my own company—and to avoid the company of the undead.”

Lila opened the box. On top, she found a baggie with three perfectly rolled joints and a note that said, “Do this in memory of me.” Below that, a copy of Highlights for Children magazine, which Billy had probably ripped off from a doctor’s office. On page twelve, at the top of the cartoon, he’d written “Billy = Gallant, Lila = Goofus.” It was an old joke between them: Lila, the rule follower, had always been Gallant, and Billy, the rebel, Goofus. But in this particular comic strip, Gallant had brought a present to someone and Goofus was empty-handed.

TouchÉ, bro, Lila thought, and smiled.

Finally, underneath an insane number of foam peanuts was a large shoe box, which he’d made into a diorama. It was so intricate, worthy of any grade school prize, except Lila and Billy had never made dioramas in grade school, not that she could remember anyway. Her memories of her childhood were so fragmented that she sometimes felt those years had disappeared from her mind even as she’d lived them. Of course, she could always ask Billy what really happened. He remembered everything.

Inside the shoe box, there were two houses made of broken Popsicle sticks in front of a multicolored landscape, complete with purple clouds and a blue sky and a pink and yellow sun. The houses had tiny toothpick mailboxes to identify them: the one on the left was Lila’s, the one on the right, Billy’s. In Lila’s house, a clay man and woman stood watch over a clay baby inside a lumpy clay crib. In Billy’s house, a clay man and woman were sitting on the floor, smoking an obscenely large joint, but a clay baby was asleep in another room, on a mattress. Billy’s house was dirtier, with straw floors and very little furniture, but it was still a house and, most important, it was still next door to Lila’s. They’d always planned on living next to each other when they were grown. Of course whoever Billy married would love Lila and whoever Lila married would love Billy. How could it be any other way?

Lila knew something was wrong when she saw the note Billy had attached to the bottom of the diorama: “Don’t worry, I haven’t lost the plot. This won’t change anything.” She knew what the first sentence meant since Billy had been saying this for years, but the second one was too cryptic to understand. Stranger still was how short the note was. Billy had been writing long letters from the time he could hold a crayon. He was a born writer. He’d already written dozens of stories when they were kids and he was planning to start his novel on the road trip. Lila liked to imagine him writing in seedy hotels while she learned how to interpret novels in her English courses.

She found out what he was telling her only a few days later, when he called to invite her to his wedding. He’d gotten a woman pregnant. Her name was Ashley and she was twenty-nine—eight years older than Lila and Billy. She was a waitress in a bar in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She didn’t write novels or read them, but she claimed to think it was “cool” that Billy did. “He’s got himself a real imagination, that boy,” Ashley said, and laughed. She and Lila were sitting on barstools, waiting to drive to the justice of the peace with Billy and one of Ashley’s friends. Lila tried not to hate her for that laugh, but from that point on, she couldn’t help thinking of her as Trashley, though she never shared that fact with anyone, not even Patrick.

Fifteen years later, she’d forgotten about the diorama—until that night, watching Billy die on television. Then it came back to her, and she felt tears spring to her eyes because she didn’t even know where it was. She told Patrick that she was going to the storage space in the basement of their building to find Billy’s diorama first thing tomorrow. He gripped her hand more tightly. No doubt he thought she was in shock. Maybe she was.

The news reporter had started by announcing that the gunman, William “Billy” Cole, was in the middle of being divorced by his wife, Ashley. Patrick hadn’t shared this fact with her, maybe because he didn’t know it, as he’d only heard about Billy’s death on the radio driving home, or maybe because he’d intuited it would upset her more. It stunned Lila, but it was the end of the broadcast that made her feel like her throat was closing up and it was becoming difficult to breathe. “Cole was thought to be depressed from the divorce and from his recent loss of visitation with his children after his wife’s allegation that he’d abused their middle child, an eight-year-old boy whose name is being withheld. Earlier in the week, the district attorney had decided to bring charges against Cole for several counts of child endangerment. A warrant for his arrest had been expected today.”

While Lila watched, Patrick held her tight, trying to quiet her shaking, but when she shouted an obscenity at a close-up of Trashley, he looked very surprised, and Lila heard herself barking out a hysterical laugh. It was true she never cursed and certainly never shouted. The walls of their apartment were so thin they could hear the old lady next door coughing. Normally Lila worried about this, but now she longed to hear screaming or sirens or even the room exploding: something, anything, to match the turmoil inside her mind. She repeated the obscenity she’d used, louder than before, adding, “And I don’t care who hears me!”

She stormed into their bedroom, slammed the door, and collapsed to her knees. The sound that came from her was less a cry than a wail, too airless for anyone to recognize the sentences she kept moaning over and over. “It isn’t real, Lila. It can’t be real unless you decide that it is.”

How many times had Billy said this to her? Fifty? A hundred? How could she have forgotten?

She desperately wanted to believe this, but she couldn’t remember ever making any decisions about what was real and what wasn’t. Billy was the one who’d told her the nightmares weren’t real, the one who knew what had really happened in their past. It was Billy, too, who’d convinced her that their future would be beautiful with second chances, and then described that future so vividly it became more real to Lila than her sorrow and lost innocence. All she’d ever had to do was trust her brother, but that was the easiest thing in the world. It didn’t require imagination. It didn’t even require faith. Love was the only necessity. Her love for Billy, which had always been the truest thing in her life.

She used to think that without her brother she would simply cease to exist. But now, as she heard her lungs gasping for air and felt the ache of her knees against the hardwood floor, she knew her body was stubborn; it would insist on remaining alive, even if her life no longer made sense to her. Even if she couldn’t comprehend the world in which she’d found herself. It was frankly impossible, and yet this was her reality now: a world without Billy.

© 2009 Lisa Tucker

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The Promised World 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
SallyRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lisa Tucker originally from MO and now PA has written five novels. This is the first one I have read, but not the last, as this lady can tell a story. She has a brilliant way of pacing the story. Only after the main theme and characters have been ensconced does she switch and lets each character speak from their point of view. The story starts with twins; Billy and Lila are brainy orphaned adults. Lila has married Patrick but has not wanted children and Billy marries a showgirl, Ashley and has three children. With these facts, the real story starts With Billy committing suicide by cop.If anyone has ever had a doubt about a childhood memory, this story will be a fascinating, psychological look at the secrets hidden by Billy so his sister may have the Promised World.My Book Club of 15 talked longer about this book than many of the ones that went before. It was without the usual life stories as we are all of an age that barely remember our childhood. Everyone liked it is another unusual fact. It will be my pick for my other book club which is a younger bunch.
stonelaura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tucker has created a fairly tense story about the obsessive bond between twins Lila and Billy and the somewhat mysterious family history Billy has created for Lila who can't remember anything from their youth. After Billy's untimely death Lila suffers a breakdown and begins to recover some distant memories that ultimately allow her a breakthrough to a hopeful future. Tucker develops the story slowly through the perspective of several characters which adds to the suspense of a story that is about truth, love, trust and obsession.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lila is a Princeton graduate, a college professor of English Literature and married to the gentle and understanding Patrick. But when Lila¿s twin brother Billy threatens a school full of children with an unloaded gun and is killed through ¿suicide by cop,¿ Lila¿s world unravels. Unable to remember any of her early childhood years and completely dependent on Billy¿s interpretation of her past, Lila finds herself floating without an anchor when Billy dies. What really happened to her? What is merely a story¿ a contrived plot of her life? The Promised World centers around this psychological mystery. Lila must recreate her childhood and unearth both her and Billy¿s secrets in order to not only move forward, but to save her eight year old nephew from a doomed future.Told from multiple viewpoints, the novel is an examination of memory and the power of storytelling as the characters move through grief, trauma, and betrayal. Tucker¿s strength is in her characters who are both deeply flawed and painfully human. Lila is a woman who has essentially been living life like a character in a novel ¿ reality and fantasy have become inexplicably linked. Her struggle to sort out the discrepancies of her life and hold together her marriage with Patrick is raw and believable. Billy¿s wife, Ashley, and his children (William and Pearl) have also been caught up in Billy¿s world of carefully constructed half-truths. Tucker easily slips into the voice of William ¿ a child who adores his father and only wants to please him, even if it means doing the unthinkable. Although Billy is revealed only through the voices of those around him, he is perhaps the most compelling character ¿ complex, brilliant, and deeply disturbed.The Promised World is an unnerving novel which examines psychological survival from trauma and loss and questions how well anyone really knows another person. Tucker¿s style is conversational and easy to read. The narrative is non-linear and the use of multiple viewpoints works in creating tension ¿ the answers to Billy and Lila¿s past are revealed slowly, as if in a dream. I found myself unable to put the book down by the midway point. I wanted to know the truth and I was fascinated with the psychological aspects of the story. Although dark and heartbreaking, The Promised World ultimately delivers a hopeful message.Readers who have suffered an abusive relationship or been shattered by the suicide of a loved one may find The Promised World difficult to read. But for those who enjoy engrossing character driven novels which examine the human psyche in the aftermath of trauma, Tucker¿s book is an intriguing read.
galleysmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Child abuse is always a difficult subject to wrap one¿s head around. It¿s uncomfortable and emotional and not short of infuriating yet Tucker has skillfully navigated her way through those issues to build a story that handles each delicately. She¿s crafted a story that is both thought provoking and suspenseful; one which the reader is not quite able to pinpoint what has actually happened until the very bitter end when the pieces of the puzzle are more closely locking together. While not the darkest it could be elements of The Promised World would certainly not e described as chipper or fluffy either. Tackling the subjects of suicide, abuse, and depression was something Tucker did deftly and with great sensitivity. She took the reader through the intricacies of the mind and allowed us to feel that angst and pain without sending us into the depths of despair ourselves.Told through multiple points of view (Billy, Patrick, Lila, Billy¿s wife and children) it took me some time to get used to the voices jumping around from chapter to chapter. But once I did I enjoyed that we got a more rounded view of the story. I liked being able to see the events from the eyes of the most important people, I enjoyed hearing the perspective of the people involved as compared to being told assumptions about those same scenarios from other characters watching it happen.About the only element I struggled with initially was Lila¿s seemingly unnatural attachment to Billy and subsequent disassociation from many other facets of her life and relationships. I found that at times it made her feel quite robotic, emotionless and cold. This is best exemplified by her interactions with her husband Patrick whom (early on) I didn¿t get the feeling that she loved very much. This, I know was by design, but until certain elements of the plot played out towards the end I didn¿t get the feeling she felt much more for him than companionship. He seemed to be more of a placeholder, or a means to an end, until she was able to be with Billy again. This characterization didn¿t ruin the story for me but I wish I felt some small traces of that love it turns out she had for her husband a bit earlier in the story.Having said that I found this a well written and intriguing book that kept me on my toes throughout. I enjoyed the detailed viewpoints and portrayal of emotional upheaval a tragedy like this would inevitably create on the people in the lives of a love one lost. Furthermore, I was consistently interested in where the story was going and was truly rooting for Lila to come out of her depression healthy and happy.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This gripping tale of family secrets and shattered lives is both tragic and redemptive. When Billy commits suicide, his fraternal Lila is left shattered. Unable to understand Billy's actions or to piece together the fractured pieces of her childhood without his help, Lila starts to separate from her life trying to piece together what happened in his. Meanwhile Billy's wife Ashley and Lila's husband Patrick dance around the edges of the picture, reintroducing Lila's mother Barbara to the family with almost tragic results. Tucker is a masterful storyteller and this heartbreaking novel stretches those skills to the limits. I found the story haunting, and am still thinking about the revealed truths weeks later. Though the ending drifted toward the unbelievable, it didn't cross over the edge which could have ruined this wonderful novel. This novel pushes at the definitions of truth and memory, and explores the blurry lines that sometimes mask the two. Highly recommended- this wonderful novel with stay with you long after you have finished reading.
LiteraryFeline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In today's climate, with the news full of stories men turning to mass murder and suicide, The Promised World seems an even more fitting book for the times. Unlike the men in the news stories, however, Billy Cole had no intention of killing anyone other than himself the day he aimed his unloaded rifle at an elementary school. His pain had become too much for him to bear. Lisa Tucker offers a firsthand look at a family in crisis and the impact suicide can have on such a family.Billy had been everything to his twin sister, Lila. Billy was her hero and her mentor. He had been her support for many years, nurturing her and rescuing her from a past she has no memory of. Billy was the person who filled in the gaps of her memory and inspired her love for books. His death shattered not only her heart, but her world as well--everything she thought she knew and believed suddenly came into question. Lila's husband could only watch his wife unravel before him, unsure of what to do and how to help her. His wife was not quite the woman he thought she was. What seemed to be a perfect marriage, suddenly was falling apart. Billy's death left his own family, his three children and estranged wife, confused and angry. His teenage daughter, Pearl, wants to understand her father and why he would do such a terrible thing. William, Billy¿s 8 year old son, continues to hang on to the promises he made to his father, wanting to make him proud even after death. Ashley had loved Billy but also been afraid of him. He was the perfect father one minute but his mood swings and secretiveness proved more than the couple could bear.I was intrigued when I first read the description of this novel and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the book tour. The Promised World sounded liked something I would like. And it certainly was. I was especially mesmerized by the momentum the author built as the story went along. I was caught up in the downward spiral leading up to the climax, wondering where the author would take me next. How much worse could it get for this family as they struggled to come to terms with the past and move forward in their own lives?I went back and forth in my opinions of the characters, sometimes liking them and sometimes wondering what the heck they were thinking. Each was flawed, dealing with a catastrophic event that would scar anyone in his or her shoes. Everyone dealt with Billy's death in different ways. Still, they all felt a similar pain and anger, and even the shame. My heart especially when out to the children.There is so much to this novel. The author took on the issue of child abuse, looking at it from varying angles: from false allegations to the lasting damage and impact of long time abuse. The novel also delved into the fragility of memory--how easily it can be manipulated or colored by perception and time or forgotten all together, repressed. Secrecy also plays a role in The Promised World. Billy and Lila kept their past well hidden. They lied to those they loved. When the truth came out, was it any wonder their loved ones felt betrayed?Lila and Billy both shared a love for books. There are many book references that will attract fellow book lovers. Lila used books as an escape from her past, and most especially to keep her memories from overwhelming her, however unconscious that may be. ¿I¿m a great believer in stories. I used to tell Billy I was afraid we loved stories more than real life, but he said, `What is life but a story we don¿t know the meaning of yet?¿¿ [pg 10]It was not until a few hours after I had finished reading The Promised World that I could fully appreciate all the author had set out to accomplish. While on the surface, the novel is entertaining and a page turner, in its depths it is a story about lost innocence, betrayal and the complexity of relationships.
smileydq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This engrossing tale delves deep into the power of memory and the often blurry lines between actual events and the stories we're told about those events. The focus of the book are Lila and Billy, a set of unusually close fraternal twins whose lives and stories are enwtined more than anyone can imagine. After Billy's death Lila completely breaks down, leaving her husband Patrick - a man who has always valued reason and logic over emotion - to sift through what he knows and what he is told to piece together the truth about Lila and Billy's childhood. Often poignant and incredibly readable, this novel was very well-written and I highly recommend it with 5 stars. Every family has its secrets, some more so than others - I think Tucker truly captured the quiet darkness that exists deep in the recesses of the human mind. She also tackled the very interesting topic of twins and the unique bonds they share, sometimes to the detriment of their other relationships. This book will make you think; it'll make you call your sibling or your mom; it will certainly make you want to read more from Lisa Tucker.
bookmagic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lila Cole breaks down when her twin brother Billy kills himself after his wife throws him out and he can't see his kids. Lila and Billy have always been extremely close but as she tries to deal with his death and answer questions about her childhood, Lila realizes she can't tell the difference between her memories and Billy's stories. Lisa's therapist, husband and her sister-in-law all try to help give Lisa the answers to her questions. Lisa needs to solve the mystery of her childhood if she hopes to help her brother's children- before it is too late. my review:I really wanted to like this book; I greatly enjoyed Once Upon a Day by this author. But I felt that Tucker tried to pack too much drama into this novel. Despite some of the horrifying events, I also felt that she wrapped things up way too neatly and too easily. While there was still interesting plot twists, I think I would have liked it to either be pared down for size of book or made a little longer to make it more in depth.my rating 3/5
SugarCreekRanch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Promised World starts with the news of Billy's "suicide by police". Billy's twin sister, Lila, had an unusually close bond with Billy, and struggles to cope with his death. Lila's memories of her childhood may not accurate, and her assessment of current relationships may also be flawed. As Lila works to clarify her memories, her views of more current situations must also change.This novel is told in multiple perspectives. Though Lila is the primary character, we also view the situation through the eyes of Ashley (Billy's wife), and William (Billy's son). The multiple perspectives really worked well in this novel, as the characters are so different. It was difficult at times to determine which narrator was the "reliable" one; this added a lot of interest to the story.I enjoyed this book and wouldn't hesitate to loan it to a friend. It was engrossing and entertaining, even if it doesn't make my "all time favorites" list.
NovelBookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s very hard to sum up Lisa Tucker¿s new novel, The Promised World. It¿s a complex book, nuanced and empathetic. It¿s a book that shows that every story can have more than one perspective, and that what we view through the prism of our own experiences, is often viewed much differently by others. What we think of as intimacy may really just be the veneer of intimacy; a thin hard shell that we use to protect ourselves from getting to close. What we think of as betrayal may be deeper and harsher than even we comprehended, or it may merely be the act of someone who loves us and wants to spare us. And mostly, that what we think is innocence, may really be ignorance. The novel shows us all that mistakes can be made, with the best of intentions, which are difficult and painful to rectify. But it also shows that these solutions, albeit painful, ultimately bring people closer together, and show us all what loyalty and love can do.As usual Lisa Tucker didn¿t disappoint me with this novel. As with The Song Reader, her characters are finely drawn, with multi-faceted personalities. Tucker is able to show us these complex characters in a very life-like way, not as plot driven people, but as real people. The antagonist in the story, Lila¿s mother, is the quintessential ¿Mommy Dearest¿ and frankly makes Joan Crawford¿s mother look positively saint-like. Lila¿s husband, Patrick, has almost as much emotional baggage as Lila, and they¿re perfect for each other because they have so studiously ignore anything painful in their pasts for years. Bobby¿s estranged wife, who starts out as a shallow, narrow-minded trashy type woman, is shown from all perspectives, and her behavior becomes more human and more easily understood and defined. In short, her characters are human, they¿re you, and me, and people we know, and that is what makes the story work so well. The Promised World was a really lovely novel, one I¿ll think about for quite some time.
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debbook More than 1 year ago
Lila Cole breaks down when her twin brother Billy kills himself after his wife throws him out and he can't see his kids. Lila and Billy have always been extremely close but as she tries to deal with his death and answer questions about her childhood, Lila realizes she can't tell the difference between her memories and Billy's stories. Lisa's therapist, husband and her sister-in-law all try to help give Lisa the answers to her questions. Lisa needs to solve the mystery of her childhood if she hopes to help her brother's children- before it is too late. my review: I really wanted to like this book; I greatly enjoyed Once Upon a Day by this author. But I felt that Tucker tried to pack too much drama into this novel. Despite some of the horrifying events, I also felt that she wrapped things up way too neatly and too easily. While there was still interesting plot twists, I think I would have liked it to either be pared down for size of book or made a little longer to make it more in depth. my rating 3/5 http://bookmagic418.blogspot.com/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Galleysmith More than 1 year ago
Child abuse is always a difficult subject to wrap one's head around. It's uncomfortable and emotional and not short of infuriating yet Tucker has skillfully navigated her way through those issues to build a story that handles each delicately. She's crafted a story that is both thought provoking and suspenseful; one which the reader is not quite able to pinpoint what has actually happened until the very bitter end when the pieces of the puzzle are more closely locking together. While not the darkest it could be elements of The Promised World would certainly not e described as chipper or fluffy either. Tackling the subjects of suicide, abuse, and depression was something Tucker did deftly and with great sensitivity. She took the reader through the intricacies of the mind and allowed us to feel that angst and pain without sending us into the depths of despair ourselves. Told through multiple points of view (Billy, Patrick, Lila, Billy's wife and children) it took me some time to get used to the voices jumping around from chapter to chapter. But once I did I enjoyed that we got a more rounded view of the story. I liked being able to see the events from the eyes of the most important people, I enjoyed hearing the perspective of the people involved as compared to being told assumptions about those same scenarios from other characters watching it happen. About the only element I struggled with initially was Lila's seemingly unnatural attachment to Billy and subsequent disassociation from many other facets of her life and relationships. I found that at times it made her feel quite robotic, emotionless and cold. This is best exemplified by her interactions with her husband Patrick whom (early on) I didn't get the feeling that she loved very much. This, I know was by design, but until certain elements of the plot played out towards the end I didn't get the feeling she felt much more for him than companionship. He seemed to be more of a placeholder, or a means to an end, until she was able to be with Billy again. This characterization didn't ruin the story for me but I wish I felt some small traces of that love it turns out she had for her husband a bit earlier in the story. Having said that I found this a well written and intriguing book that kept me on my toes throughout. I enjoyed the detailed viewpoints and portrayal of emotional upheaval a tragedy like this would inevitably create on the people in the lives of a love one lost. Furthermore, I was consistently interested in where the story was going and was truly rooting for Lila to come out of her depression healthy and happy.
cindy0208 More than 1 year ago
This book starts kind of slow and if it wasn't for the secret I'm not sure I would have continued to read it. It was a little confusing also, for a minute I wasn't sure if it was their mother who was abusing them(physically) or the boyfriend.