The Promise: A Novel

The Promise: A Novel

by Ann Weisgarber


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From the author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (soon to be a major motion picture)!

“This second engaging novel from Weisgarber . . . has shades of Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, and Conrad Richter.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio, in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation, she agrees to marry him, but when Catherine travels to Oscar’s farm on Galveston Island, Texas—a thousand miles from home—she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her. The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar’s little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother. And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.

Meanwhile, for Nan Ogden, Oscar’s housekeeper, Catherine’s sudden arrival has come as a great shock. For not only did she promise Oscar’s first wife that she would be the one to take care of little Andre, but she has feelings for Oscar that she is struggling to suppress. And when the worst storm in a generation descends, the women will find themselves tested as never before.

The Promise, now available in paperback, received rave reviews from critics and captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Against the backdrop of the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900, Ann Weisgarber tells a heartbreaking story with two unforgettable voices.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction—novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632206459
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 109,962
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa. Her first novel The Personal History of Rachel Dupree was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers.

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The Promise 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could give 10 stars, I would. Wonderful characters, a gripping plot, unususal setting, and very well written. This book should win a prize. It is not for the faint hearted because this is a gripping story based on an actual occurrance. Another great book based on history is "The Partisan" by William Jarvis. Both deserve A++++++++
Humbee More than 1 year ago
This is a rare book. The author is outstanding and the story is captivating. I was swept up in the telling of it and with the very distinct characters that inhabit the pages. Truly one of those "you can't put it down" books of the season. It's luminous and heart-rending. I don't know much about Galveston, Texas, having never been there, but Ms Weisgarber brings it to life vividly. She sharpens our senses to the salty air of the beach, the weathered landscape and the beaten habitations of Oscar's farm. I became anxious as Catherine first crossed the waters in her train and throughout her trip there. And I felt the anxiety and terror throughout the storm the whole family faced...both real and psychological. Matchless writing that garnered many visceral and emotional reactions from me! The characterization is strong here. I truly felt the isolation of Catherine as she faced first her deceptions, and then her personal fears and love. I struggled with Oscar as he tried to understand and find a heart's balance. And I sensed the longing and pain in Nan. The confusion in little Andre. And much more. Ann Weisgarber is a master at rendering the perfect beat needed for each character in their settings. This is a beautiful book full of longing, love, heart-breaking reality and a sense of lost life regained. I loved it. I hope you'll give it a try. It's the perfect book group book...lots of meat here...lots of situations to discuss. 5 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame
CherishD More than 1 year ago
This book had me from the first word...excellent writing, deep characters...made me feel like I was part of the story. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ann Weisgarber pulled me into the heart of her characters' lives with a story that made me fall in love with them. Her people are so real they awakened me in the middle of the night to finish this novel. A wonderful read that will touch my heart for a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm obviously in the minority with my review. When I read the description & B&N sample I thought it sounded like a really good story and was anxious to read. However, further along, I thought the book became way too wordy and unnecessarily descriptive. I wanted the writer to focus more on the characters so I could get a feel for them but,instead, she wrote more about describing unimportant things that had already been described before. For me, if I don't really care about the people involved, I can't like the book. It's almost like the writer wasn't sure if she wanted to write a love story or the devastating Galvaston hurricane in 1990. But, again, many people enjoyed this book and maybe you will too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope Ms. Weisgarber keeps writing more books. Loved this story. She does a beautiful job of relating the story from the different characters' points of view.
avidreaderctb More than 1 year ago
Like this sbook---an excellent fiction
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters were real and likeable. The history of the Galveston Flood fit into the story perfectly. It was an easy and entertaining read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this. Beautiful bittersweet story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very good book.. I couldn't put it down
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one that grabbed me from the first page! In fact I’ve read it three times. Living in Texas near Galveston and living through several hurricanes, I was drawn into Ms Weisgarber’s description of Galveston in 1899-1900. The railroad station, the clothes, the beach, the city, especially The Strand and the Great Storm! The characters were intriguing, the story spot on. I read the first time on a loaner from the library, loved it so much I purchased my own copy. Read won’t be sorry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't hesitate this is a winner
nolenreads More than 1 year ago
This is one of the finest books I've read in a long time. The author sets a horrific day in history firmly into its context. The character of Catherine Wainwright is a sympathetic one. I rooted for her even when she was shunned by the society she grew up in. I loved that she finds redemption in the most unlikely place. I was rooting for her all the way. The character of Oscar is so fine. I really liked him. Nan Ogden as narrator had such a clear voice all her own. The tragedy and the sweet harmony throughout the story left me breathless. The story lived on with me for some days. I wish it hadn't ended the way it did, but it was realistic and believable. I love when authors take the time to research everything.
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Good book.
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Twink More than 1 year ago
I read Ann Weisgarber's debut novel, The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, in 2011 and was immediately captured by her storytelling. Weisgarber's latest book, The Promise, did the same, holding me from first page to last. Catherine Wainwright is a talented pianist, making her own way in 1899 Ohio. But she makes the mistake of believing a man's interest in her is true. She is marked as a fallen woman and shunned by her family, friends and acquaintances. The man has no intention of leaving his wife. With no one willing to hire or work with her and her debts mounting, Catherine's plight grows increasingly desperate. She casts about for a man that has not heard of her background, sending out letters to renew ties. One man replies - Oscar Williams. Oscar left Ohio as a young man and eventually landed in Galveston, Texas where he makes his living as a farmer. His wife Bernadette has just died, leaving him to raise their four year old son Andre. A local girl, Nan Ogden made Bernadette a promise - to look after Andre. But when Oscar brings home Catherine as his new wife, worlds, emotions and more collide. Weisgarber has again created very strong, but different, female characters in Catherine and Nan. Both are well drawn, but I found myself drawn more to Nan. Her down to earth, practical attitude belies a caring heart. She is astute enough to sense the attraction between Catherine and Oscar and realize what is inevitable. I had a harder time with Catherine. Although her character transforms as the relationships between the three main characters evolve, I still had a difficult time accepting her. "Oscar ate with the neighbour men and danced with the women, rural unrefined people, but that hadn't mattered to him. He enjoyed their company. He was without pretense and this, I realized, was what drew me to him." She, howeve,r is pretending, hiding her past and the desperate need to flee circumstances of her own making. The narrative is alternated between Catherine and Nan, giving us an insider's view of each woman's thoughts. Interestingly, Oscar is never given a voice of his own. Rather we learn of and about him from each woman's point of view. Weisgarber again draws on historical events to set the backdrop for her novel. I was unaware of the geography and history of Galveston Island. (I did, of course, have to Google it after I finished the book. ) 1900 Galveston was home to one of the US's greatest natural disasters. A hurricane inundated the island and city, killing 6,000 people in the span of a few hours. And this event is pivotal to Weisgarber's story. The setting is a character in the book as well, the heat and the storm almost tangible in Weisgarber's beautifully descriptive passages. Weisgarber has written a story rich with emotion, detail and history - definitely a recommended read. The Promise has been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.