Promise
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“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.” -- Jonis Agee, bestselling author of The River WifeA 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, Mississippi, killing 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. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one, including Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, who 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. 

Promise Details

TitlePromise
Author
ReleaseFeb 27th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780062471734
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, American, Southern

Promise Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    One horrific natural disaster, two families - one black, one white, two babies thrown by the tornado and the same heartache for both families over the loss and devastation, two families connected by more than this devastation. This is more than a story based on an actual tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936, the “fourth most deadly tornado in the US” according to the author in her prologue. She also notes the undocumented fate of black people whose lives were lost because they just weren’t cou One horrific natural disaster, two families - one black, one white, two babies thrown by the tornado and the same heartache for both families over the loss and devastation, two families connected by more than this devastation. This is more than a story based on an actual tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936, the “fourth most deadly tornado in the US” according to the author in her prologue. She also notes the undocumented fate of black people whose lives were lost because they just weren’t counted - that’s right - just not counted. This is not only about the havoc and destruction, the injuries, the death but it is also a powerful reflection of the time and place, of human resilience, how people manage to dig deep into themselves to find what they need to move forward.Sixteen year old Jo carries the burden of being “tricked” by her vile brother when she was younger, trying to find herself in a household with her mother suffering from post partum depression. Dovey, who washes clothes for white people, including Jo’s family has her burdens to carry - sad memories of her childhood, her losses , remembering a man she saw hanging from a tree. In the aftermath of the tornado, the young girl and the older woman cross paths in heartbreaking and uplifting ways. A span of hours into days and then only a week - a slow burn to the end. No need to give plot details, just to say it is well written and well researched, evocative of the natural disasters of the recent past and highly recommended! I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow/HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
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  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. In the height of the depression, a devastating and horrific tornado has leveled the small town of Tulepo, Mississippi. Houses are destroyed and many are killed, injured, or displaced. Two families fearfully affected; one white, one black. Jo, a teenage girl struggling to keep her mother and baby brother alive while her family's laundress, Dovey desperately searches for her missing husband, granddaughter, and grandson. Gwin has mastered such great detail throughout the pages of this sw 3.5 stars. In the height of the depression, a devastating and horrific tornado has leveled the small town of Tulepo, Mississippi. Houses are destroyed and many are killed, injured, or displaced. Two families fearfully affected; one white, one black. Jo, a teenage girl struggling to keep her mother and baby brother alive while her family's laundress, Dovey desperately searches for her missing husband, granddaughter, and grandson. Gwin has mastered such great detail throughout the pages of this sweeping story. This narrative is reminiscent of The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan and The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I hated to finish Promise because it meant leaving some incredible characters. Gwin gives the reader little chance to breathe as she takes us into the horrific terror of the historic 1936 storm in Tupelo, MS. Gut-wrenching scenes of water-logged days and nights — people wandering around looking for loved ones — tripping over bodies of neighbors and friends. Just when you think the damage is only physical, you realize Promise is also about the emotional storm that will shake apart two families.Hi I hated to finish Promise because it meant leaving some incredible characters. Gwin gives the reader little chance to breathe as she takes us into the horrific terror of the historic 1936 storm in Tupelo, MS. Gut-wrenching scenes of water-logged days and nights — people wandering around looking for loved ones — tripping over bodies of neighbors and friends. Just when you think the damage is only physical, you realize Promise is also about the emotional storm that will shake apart two families.Highly recommend.
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  • Kristen Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    Really, really fantastic characters. Loved Jo and Dovey. I had to keep reminding myself though that this wasn’t historical fiction. It’s really just straight up fiction. Which is ok, just some inconsistencies with the time period I believe. But a really great story. Didn’t want to put it down.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted @ Readaholic Zone including an interesting video I found.Minrose Gwin deserves a standing ovation for PROMISE. This is the most outstanding book based on true events that I have read. Hence, this book stands alone above all others due to so many factors which I will discuss later in the review. Gwin’s writing is powerful with the Characters jumping off the pages so as a reader, you're experiencing what it is like to walk in these individuals shoes, enduring everything that the Originally posted @ Readaholic Zone including an interesting video I found.Minrose Gwin deserves a standing ovation for PROMISE. This is the most outstanding book based on true events that I have read. Hence, this book stands alone above all others due to so many factors which I will discuss later in the review. Gwin’s writing is powerful with the Characters jumping off the pages so as a reader, you're experiencing what it is like to walk in these individuals shoes, enduring everything that they had to go through in the backward thinking of 1936. As a result of the entitlement mentality of most white individuals in that era, one of the main characters Jo, had me so riled up I wanted to rip her from the pages and pound some sense into her 16-year-old head. Obviously, this is a prime example of how first-rate the prose is since I have never had my blood pressure go up because I was so enraged by a fictional character before. Breathe… The next main character is Dovey, who is a smart, hard working black laundress for white people. I just want to mention that usually in a review I don’t mention the color of the character's skin, but due to segregation in 1936 it matters immensely. Also, my opinion of race has nothing to do with this review, this is just how it’s looked upon in the book. Back to the review… Dovey is my favorite individual in the book. She loves her family more than anything and will fight to the death to protect them. They live a taxing life just for the most meager of necessities. Furthermore, when this tornado hits (and before) to be treated like animals because of the amount of melanin in their skin. Unquestionably, PROMISE should be on the bestseller list. It transports you back to 1936, as if you had a time machine, causing you to feel like what it is to go through a natural disaster when medicine was not highly advanced, it also meant different things depending on your race. When you wake up from the storm are you on a makeshift bed with the cockroaches or in a real hospital bed off the floor? Is your family on a list of where they had been transported/dead or are you searching through the dead bodies in alleys looking for your loved ones? This book hits you at the core of your being. Definitely, get your copy and let me know what you think!There are gobs more I want to write about this book and how I felt about it. Consequently, that is not my place. My place is just to tell the bare bones and how I felt about the style and writing of the book. I hope I did that well. One last thing, the author did phenomenal research about the tornado of 1936 and at the end of the book, you will find pictures of the destruction of Tupelo, Mississippi. "Thanks, TLC Book Tours"
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  • Dustin Hood
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone from the South can tell you how terrifying and profoundly life-changing a tornado can be on your life and generations to come. When a tornado tears through Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936 the town is immediately disheveled into a landscape unrecognizable. Records indicate the tornado claimed 216 to 233 lives and 1,000 injured. What that record omits is countless of African American lives impacted by the F5 twister. Minrose Gwin's PROMISE regals the story of two families with more than just th Anyone from the South can tell you how terrifying and profoundly life-changing a tornado can be on your life and generations to come. When a tornado tears through Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936 the town is immediately disheveled into a landscape unrecognizable. Records indicate the tornado claimed 216 to 233 lives and 1,000 injured. What that record omits is countless of African American lives impacted by the F5 twister. Minrose Gwin's PROMISE regals the story of two families with more than just this tragedy in common. The McNabb Family, a well-off white family with a rambunctious (Word To Keep) son, "Son", and coming-of-age daughter, Jo, who soon finds the weight of responsibility on her own shoulders, forced to be independent while her mother lies injured and father out in the world tending to who knows what. The Grand'homme Family is an African American family who already knows the feeling of loss, of injustice. Dovey is the McNabb's washwoman, with a family of her own to care for, begins her quest to find and reunite her family after the storm.PROMISE is a book that I could not put down, I found myself engrossed by each family's circumstance and Minrose Gwin's ability to narrate each story with extraordinary pose. This historical fiction tells an important story that should have been told in 1936. Thank you Minrose for the ARC and for crafting a story that should be on everyone's reading list.
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  • Elisha (lishie)
    January 1, 1970
    Well-done account of what is usually the "other side"... The intertwined stories of two families, one black, one white during the 1936 Tornado of Tupelo, Mississippi. And to be sure, the black folks' account was not registered for the books. The dead's names were not written down, not accounted for in the newspapers and it will never be known how many fatalities were the true count. It was also difficult the find the sick from the black community as well. This story is one of hope and promise in Well-done account of what is usually the "other side"... The intertwined stories of two families, one black, one white during the 1936 Tornado of Tupelo, Mississippi. And to be sure, the black folks' account was not registered for the books. The dead's names were not written down, not accounted for in the newspapers and it will never be known how many fatalities were the true count. It was also difficult the find the sick from the black community as well. This story is one of hope and promise in divided community during a horrible natural disaster. It was bleak at times but a good read that kept me mesmerized.
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  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    Gwin tells the tale of the 1936 Tupelo tornado from two perspectives: Dovey, an African-American laundress and Jo, a young white girl and daughter of a Judge and schoolteacher. Simply surviving the storm when so many didn’t, then holding on to hope and determination to survive and find family and help become the skeleton of this tale – allowing readers in to lives and situations that feel plausible and probable, even as some of the underlying discrimination and unfairness persist. Working from a Gwin tells the tale of the 1936 Tupelo tornado from two perspectives: Dovey, an African-American laundress and Jo, a young white girl and daughter of a Judge and schoolteacher. Simply surviving the storm when so many didn’t, then holding on to hope and determination to survive and find family and help become the skeleton of this tale – allowing readers in to lives and situations that feel plausible and probable, even as some of the underlying discrimination and unfairness persist. Working from actual accounts, guessing at numbers of affected (African Americans and their names and numbers weren’t counted), and managing to bring a story of intersected lives through proximity and abuse to life. The devastation and shock from the two survivors when they see just how the landscape has changed: rain, hail, wind and mud, all concealed in darkness that hides other dangers, human and topographical. The unending scenes of death and featherless chickens, lack of potable water and food, dry clothing, and no shoes, we see the ‘make-do’ personal caretaking as Dovey continues to put one foot forward in her search for husband, granddaughter and great-grandbaby. As part of the government’s efforts to alleviate the depression, dispatches of relief arrive reasonably quickly: from medical staff and medicines to food, water, undertakers to care for the dead and the Red Cross: making lists of dead, survivors and proving intermediate and triage care for the citizens. And to be clear – the lists were of white citizens, even as the black citizens were provided minimal assistance as well. Through Dovey’s story we see a life of struggle and tumult: yet full of love of family- and her story unfolds with tragedies and emotion, tying us to her search and finding light in her simple belief that she will find her family alive and well. Through Jo’s story, we see a young woman who is fanciful and often unrealistic, unable to remember (and it feels more like she doesn’t see it as important) Dovey’s name, even as she demands, orders and lastly cajoles her to send someone back to help. More of Jo’s upbringing (and callous disregard – if recognized as a hateful thing later) show as she demands (often imperiously) action from others, black and white, action to care for her needs and that of the brother she found dangling in the bushes at the front of her house. From horrific injuries, fears and the simple struggle to survive: the emotional intensity of the story never quite leaves, coming to a head when Jo with her little brother (much changed from the fractious and colicky child she’d known the past months) finally come face to face with Dovey, now in boxcar housing arranged by the Red Cross – and secrets and realities are revealed – in ways that only time could show if effects were long-lasting for Jo. Family secrets and shames unearthed, families of privilege brought low and unable to exhibit even the most basic of survival skills, and the ever-present separation between the races: in medical care, housing, basic necessities and even casual encounters on the street stand out shockingly: that such an unimportant affectation should be so integral to the society as to be adhered to in times when simple necessities become luxuries is a testament to the stupidity and ignorance that is integral in racism. Unfortunately, the systematic complicity of that racism extended to record-keeping by the government: historic accounts of this story are lily-white, and from the author’s notes, the settlements and people were relocated and or lost to recorded history. The book is beautifully readable: both Jo and Dovey bring their families and lives to life in their recollections and memories, the three characters that are ever-present from the early chapters (Dovey, Jo and the baby) are clearly present in each word and scene. The horrific aftermath of a devastating storm, the strange focus on what is important at that moment, and the faith that Dovey caries like a sword in her search for her people is striking and heartfelt. A tale that feels so plausible and possible as to be a memoir from two survivors of the tornado: this needs to be a part of your upcoming reads. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed
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  • Susie | Novel Visits
    January 1, 1970
    {My Thoughts}What Worked For MeRealities of a Natural Disaster in the 1930’s – We all know what it’s like when tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes strike today. We often times witness the devastation as it’s happening and we see how quickly people respond and aid arrives. Now go back 80 years and think how different it would be, especially for the people of that time. The tornado at the heart of Promise actually happened and the people had NO warning that it was coming. Minrose Gwin did a wonde {My Thoughts}What Worked For MeRealities of a Natural Disaster in the 1930’s – We all know what it’s like when tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes strike today. We often times witness the devastation as it’s happening and we see how quickly people respond and aid arrives. Now go back 80 years and think how different it would be, especially for the people of that time. The tornado at the heart of Promise actually happened and the people had NO warning that it was coming. Minrose Gwin did a wonderful job combining historical facts with fiction to share what that experience might have been like. Buildings, cars, animals and people were sucked up into the air. At the heart of Promise are two babies plucked from their mothers’ arms. As in disasters today, people were quick to help, but the quality of help was limited and much slower. I found the historical aspect of Promise fascinating.A Study of Casual Racism – There can be no doubt that 1930’s Mississippi abounded with racism, and Gwin addressed this in ways both big and small. The differences in the homes of whites and blacks also made a difference in survival rates. The bigger, sturdier homes of whites offered so much more protection. After the disaster, Dovey was expected to help out a white family even as she was searching for her own family. A hospital for whites sprung up much quicker than the one for blacks. White citizens were taken by train to Memphis, while blacks were poured into boxcars. Different morgues were set up. Even with a storm that saw no color boundaries, boundaries were everywhere.What Didn’tS.L.O.W. – I don’t mean to be dramatic, but Promise was often just too slow. There was a lot of repetition that just wasn’t necessary and I felt like the author often went off on tangents that added little to the story. I skimmed quite a bit and that’s never a good sign.Repetitive Events – A couple of similar events running throughout a story can be the cornerstone of what makes it great. I felt like there were too many in Promise: girls being “bothered” by boys, confused identities, dreams that made no sense, women fainting, being unable to find family. The fact that repetition happened so often, took away from the events that were truly important to the story.Bird Imagery – Gwin used a lot of bird references and bird imagery in her novel. I felt like she was hitting me over the head with it, but more than that, it added nothing to the heart of her story. I could have easily done without all of it.“That morning the flutter had taken up residence in her upper thigh; she had watched the skin jump with it. Was she becoming a bird? Since the storm, she flew through her dreams. She flew without fear, with a steady heedless curiosity; nothing could hold her down, not the sweet dear earth, not the people who held her life in place. She wondered if she were getting ready to die.”{The Final Assessment}While I enjoyed much of the heart of the story that was Promise, overall I cannot recommend it without serious reservations. I think the book would have been much more interesting had it been more selectively edited, and had it stayed focused on the heart of Dovey’s and Jo’s stories. Grade: CNote: I received a copy of this book from the publisher (via Edelweiss) in exchange for my honest review.Original Source: https://novelvisits.com/promise-minro...
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  • Rikke
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. Sadly I didn't like it as much as I had hoped.
  • Ricki Treleaven
    January 1, 1970
    This book far surpassed my expectations. Lyrical, literary, and beautifully written, I'm fairly certain Promise will make my Best Three Books of 2018 List. I know it's still early in the year, but I seriously doubt I'll read anything better this year, and here's why.Gwin has a connection to Tupelo and this event from history: her grandparents' home survived the horrific F-5 tornado that hit on Palm Sunday, 1936. The novel is very well-researched, and although the characters are fictitious, the e This book far surpassed my expectations. Lyrical, literary, and beautifully written, I'm fairly certain Promise will make my Best Three Books of 2018 List. I know it's still early in the year, but I seriously doubt I'll read anything better this year, and here's why.Gwin has a connection to Tupelo and this event from history: her grandparents' home survived the horrific F-5 tornado that hit on Palm Sunday, 1936. The novel is very well-researched, and although the characters are fictitious, the events, places, and devastation are real. It's hard for me to comprehend that more than 200 white people were killed in the disaster, yet there are no stats for the "colored people," and one of the hardest hit areas was an African American neighborhood. I can tell that this subject is close to the writer's heart because it's that obvious in her writing.The characters are so well-drawn that they remind me of the "freaks" depicted in Flannery O'Connor's fiction. Many of the characters are unlikable, and even Jo, the teenage antagonist in the book, is awkward, damaged, and is handicapped with a broken arm and head injury. Some of her thoughts I could have done without quite frankly! Dovey the protagonist is also flawed, and she has the gift of sight. Aptly named, she flies through the air during the tornado and lands in a pond where she could've drowned like other citizens. Once she pulls herself from the pond, she embarks on a quest to find her missing family members because she knows that they're alive. This book is not for the squeamish. Some of the details about injuries, deaths, and medical care during the aftermath of the storm are graphic, not to mention the sanitary and living conditions. Gwin is very descriptive about these things, but it enhances the mood and atmosphere of the segregated South during the height of the Great Depression after a devastating natural disaster. Ironically, Tupelo was the first Tennessee Valley Authority city, and was a cotton mill town so her citizens hadn't suffered as badly as other areas until the tornado. If Gwin's descriptive prose isn't enough, she includes several historical photos taken after the tornado of victims and damage. There are several things that a great Southern novel must have: a sense of place; racial tension; a sense of family and community and one's role in it; Protestantism; a sense of justice; and unforgettable, flawed characters. Promise delivers on all these elements, plus the story is fantastic with the added benefit of hope. I highly recommend this book; it's a new Southern classic.
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  • denise kay jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    Through the anecdotal details, personal histories, injustices, loves, and losses of a few choice characters, Gwin weaves a Southern community rich in both common and intricate patterns. In Promise as in The Queen of Palmyra, my favorite of the two, Gwin’s gift of story—for Minrose Gwin is a quintessential storyteller—is both a blessing and a curse. Reading Minrose Gwin is a little like sitting on a porch stoop with an old man (he must be from Mississippi) who has been through the wars. The old m Through the anecdotal details, personal histories, injustices, loves, and losses of a few choice characters, Gwin weaves a Southern community rich in both common and intricate patterns. In Promise as in The Queen of Palmyra, my favorite of the two, Gwin’s gift of story—for Minrose Gwin is a quintessential storyteller—is both a blessing and a curse. Reading Minrose Gwin is a little like sitting on a porch stoop with an old man (he must be from Mississippi) who has been through the wars. The old man is describing a battle, but he digresses about those who died and those who sustained injuries—where they came from, what they hoped for, and what they missed most about home, etc. It makes for a long conversation. If you can hang in there, you come away better for it, but at some point, you’re just itching for the old man to get to the point. Like the old man on the porch step, Minrose Gwin doesn't tell a straight story—nor would you want her to. Her characters are the story, and their lives are intertwined with the forward movement of the plot. To me, her writing is charming and delightful and yet, every now and then, it is just a little too much. So, what I love about her writing in the beginning is what I dislike about it in the end. I think this means that, at a certain point in each book, the story has so gripped me, that I want a resolution sooner than Gwin wants to give it to me. In the end, I have experienced the Tupelo Tornado of the 1930s from the vantage point of Black and White, young and old, and I feel as if my understanding of Southern culture has expanded, that I am more aware of the cultural baggage that informs this Northern transplant's Mississippi friends and neighbors. I feel a sort of privilege to have been able to sit on the stoop for a while with the old man burdened by the wars.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.The main characters, Dovey and Jo, survived the tornado in Tupelo that killed so many. They're both searching and caring for their family in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. Dovey is African American and Jo is white, living in the southern states in the 1930s. Their lives are very different, but connected in so many ways before the tornado occurred. And even more so afterwards. This historical fiction n I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.The main characters, Dovey and Jo, survived the tornado in Tupelo that killed so many. They're both searching and caring for their family in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. Dovey is African American and Jo is white, living in the southern states in the 1930s. Their lives are very different, but connected in so many ways before the tornado occurred. And even more so afterwards. This historical fiction novel tells the story of people dealing with the terrible aftermath of the storm, over the period of a week.I enjoyed Promise by Minrose Gwin for it's in depth perspective of this historical event, great character development and insight, and unique lovely writing style. I do wish there was a bit more focus on the entire tragic event as a whole, not just focusing on those two characters mainly.Focusing mainly on Dovey and Jo's perspective made the story feel a bit unbalanced at times. I wish there were more references to the historical aspect of the tornado, not just those two stories. Also, it was a slower read for me. I enjoyed that the stories were told without giving labels to things. For example, the mom most likely had postpartum depression, but it is never labeled as that. Instead, she is described as being sad, lethargic, and minimally caring for her baby. I also appreciated the writing style; wonderfully descriptive and a perfect mix of dream like and practical. The character descriptions and development along the way makes the story. In general, I enjoyed the historical fiction novel, Promise by Minrose Twin. The story gives a voice and perspective to the people often ignored in the terrible tornado of Tupelo.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning. This relentlessly grim but beautifully written novel of the 1936 Tupelo tornado is about more than the aftermath of the storm- it's about two inextricably tied families, race, and class. Dovey, the laundress is one terrific heroine but Jo, the privileged daughter with a horrible secret that links her to Dovey's granddaughter, is one as well. Jo discovers just how irrelevant she is to her parents when the tornado hits, as her mother is worried only about her baby brother and her father, Stunning. This relentlessly grim but beautifully written novel of the 1936 Tupelo tornado is about more than the aftermath of the storm- it's about two inextricably tied families, race, and class. Dovey, the laundress is one terrific heroine but Jo, the privileged daughter with a horrible secret that links her to Dovey's granddaughter, is one as well. Jo discovers just how irrelevant she is to her parents when the tornado hits, as her mother is worried only about her baby brother and her father, well, Mort is worried about something else. Dovey knows where she fits in the world but she's determined to find her husband, grand daughter, and great grandson when the world blows apart. What she finds is Jo, who later finds a baby in the crepe myrtle and believes he's her brother. The descriptions of the destruction (and the injuries) are detailed and horrifying- so much so that you will be able to picture them. Gwin even includes animals, such as Snowball the cat (although we don't know what happened to Henry the guinea pig.) There are a lot of coincidences, which some might find troublesome but that's often how life works. I read this in a long gulp, wanting very much to find out what happened to Virgil, Dreama, Jo, Tommy, and most of all Promise. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This is wonderful historical fiction and while it is often distressing to read, it's well worth your time.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book on Goodreads first reads.A beautiful story that takes place during the aftermath of a F5 tornado in Tupelo Mississippi that occurred on April 5,1936. While the characters in the book are a work of fiction, the actual tornado is not. A note in the book says the authors family actually lived through the devastation, about her grandmother finding a child in her bushes and how another family found a child thrown through one of the windows of their homes after the storm.Knowing this i I won this book on Goodreads first reads.A beautiful story that takes place during the aftermath of a F5 tornado in Tupelo Mississippi that occurred on April 5,1936. While the characters in the book are a work of fiction, the actual tornado is not. A note in the book says the authors family actually lived through the devastation, about her grandmother finding a child in her bushes and how another family found a child thrown through one of the windows of their homes after the storm.Knowing this is based off a piece of history gives the story more impact. The characters are fleshed out well, making you feel as though you're a hopeless witness to what is transpiring.The story takes place hour by hour over a few days time, describing events leading up to the storm, the aftermath, and plenty of back history about both families. This story doesn't stay bleak through out the whole thing, there's hope, an unexpected friendship, and Promise, that brings two families, one black and one white, together as they learn to navigate their new tornado devastated world after they lose almost everything.This story is beautifully written with characters that seem to come to life. It is well worth the read.
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  • Maggie Holmes
    January 1, 1970
    This book couldn't be more timely after a summer and fall of dreadful storms in our country. The tornado of 1936 that struck Tupelo, Mississippi, was one of the most deadly tornadoes in US history. Like Katrina (and probably most of the storms in the south), the cost to the poor and to the African-American population of Tupelo was probably worst than for the white wealthy residents. From the research Gwin has done, she says that the African-American casualties weren't even counted for this storm This book couldn't be more timely after a summer and fall of dreadful storms in our country. The tornado of 1936 that struck Tupelo, Mississippi, was one of the most deadly tornadoes in US history. Like Katrina (and probably most of the storms in the south), the cost to the poor and to the African-American population of Tupelo was probably worst than for the white wealthy residents. From the research Gwin has done, she says that the African-American casualties weren't even counted for this storm. So this book is fascinating just for this peek into an unacknowledged part of history.Beside that, Gwin has presented us with two wonderful narrators in Dovey and Jo. Their reactions to the pain in their lives, the terror and aftermath of the storm are described in beautiful language and individualized voices. The plot is straightforward with the ending as expected so it was important that the two characters could carry the book. All of the other characters are seen through these two and while they aren't cardboard, they aren't fully developed. Recommend to readers of Wiley Cash and any American historical fiction. Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with this prepub edition.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    More than just the interiors of houses are laid bare when a huge tornado rips through Tupelo, Mississippi in April, 1936. What little privacy the townspeople may have had, and its doubtful they had much, is further stripped away when the tornado flings them up in the air and then sets them down apart from their families and their belongings. For the white townspeople, help arrives quickly and families are reunited. For the black families, a list of the missing is never attempted, even now 80 yea More than just the interiors of houses are laid bare when a huge tornado rips through Tupelo, Mississippi in April, 1936. What little privacy the townspeople may have had, and its doubtful they had much, is further stripped away when the tornado flings them up in the air and then sets them down apart from their families and their belongings. For the white townspeople, help arrives quickly and families are reunited. For the black families, a list of the missing is never attempted, even now 80 years later. Author Minrose Gwin grew up hearing about the tornado and a baby found in a crepe myrtle tree; she has written a novel spun from the stories her grandmother told her. It is riveting and tormenting and amazingly timely. I was unable to stop reading. In a crisis, people choose their families, and they show their true selves. This book is amazingly deft at holding a mirror to a southern town in the midst of the Depression as everything is changing and nothing changes. It’s an incredible book. I received my copy from the publisher through edelweiss.
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    One of this country's most dangerous natural disasters was the site of Tupelo Mississippi in 1936 after a horrific tornado touched down and dragged away the majority of the city and left nothing but heartache in its wake. The story is not just about the destruction but of the city and victims themselves - those counted and those left uncounted. The poor African-Americans who most likely accounted for at least half of the deaths and injurys were left to fend for themselves. Two families, connecte One of this country's most dangerous natural disasters was the site of Tupelo Mississippi in 1936 after a horrific tornado touched down and dragged away the majority of the city and left nothing but heartache in its wake. The story is not just about the destruction but of the city and victims themselves - those counted and those left uncounted. The poor African-Americans who most likely accounted for at least half of the deaths and injurys were left to fend for themselves. Two families, connected by a violent secret, two babies blown out of arms and out into the storm and the many lives that were touched that day. The tornado did not choose its victims based on the color of skin, how wealthy or how old but instead became the great equalizer in destruction and loss of life. In suffering and loss we are not really different at all. Keep the Kleenex handy and scan the skies with this one.My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Cherie
    January 1, 1970
    what a beautiful delightful book, I absolutely loved it. I was reading it so fast and I kept wanting to pace myself, just didn't want it to end. The characters are so good, but what's with the husbands in this book? The ending is so fabulous. I won this book from Good Reads for my honest opinion. On page 265 it says: Come in, stay as long as you like, we are all going to be all right. Glory, to the word would get out and every poor homeless soul would come. Everybody in creation, white and Negro what a beautiful delightful book, I absolutely loved it. I was reading it so fast and I kept wanting to pace myself, just didn't want it to end. The characters are so good, but what's with the husbands in this book? The ending is so fabulous. I won this book from Good Reads for my honest opinion. On page 265 it says: Come in, stay as long as you like, we are all going to be all right. Glory, to the word would get out and every poor homeless soul would come. Everybody in creation, white and Negro, rich and poor, smart and feebleminded. That's just beautiful.I loved this story line, and the strength of the characters, I had to keep reminding myself that this is based on true facts. This is an excellent read and I highly, highly recommend.Thanks again Good Reads.The Author did a wonderful job and has a new fan.Cherie'
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Sadly not as wonderful as Queen of Palmyra, Promise is still a great delve into race relations during the 1930s. The events are real, the people are drawn from history, and yet there's something slightly missing. Maybe it's the pacing, which is v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w., or the fact that the story doesn't feel new (which is incredibly sad, when you think about it). The casual racism is as horrifying as ever, but somehow - at least here - doesn't shock. And perhaps that's the reason I couldn't give this Sadly not as wonderful as Queen of Palmyra, Promise is still a great delve into race relations during the 1930s. The events are real, the people are drawn from history, and yet there's something slightly missing. Maybe it's the pacing, which is v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w., or the fact that the story doesn't feel new (which is incredibly sad, when you think about it). The casual racism is as horrifying as ever, but somehow - at least here - doesn't shock. And perhaps that's the reason I couldn't give this more than three stars: I wanted to read something that surprised, and this just doesn't.ARC provided by publisher.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this novel was brilliantly written. The horror, fear and confusion in the aftermath of the tornado of '36 opens the story and draws the reader in with fast pacing and plenty of hooks to keep one reading. The characters are well drawn and while not all are fully fleshed out, the main characters of Dovey, Dreama, Jo, and Alice are complex and nuanced so that each is completely individual.Anyone who has ever ridden out a tornado or been close to one or even seen the devastation left behin I thought this novel was brilliantly written. The horror, fear and confusion in the aftermath of the tornado of '36 opens the story and draws the reader in with fast pacing and plenty of hooks to keep one reading. The characters are well drawn and while not all are fully fleshed out, the main characters of Dovey, Dreama, Jo, and Alice are complex and nuanced so that each is completely individual.Anyone who has ever ridden out a tornado or been close to one or even seen the devastation left behind will surely appreciate this story.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw this book as a giveaway on Goodreads Firstreads, I knew I had to read it! I spent six months in Mississippi as a naive 19 year old girl not too long after Hurricane Camille devasted the Gulf Coast in 1969. Besides witnessing the aftermath of something so horrendous, I also was subject to frequent tornado warnings on the radio. Being raised in California, this was something completely new to me, as was the amount of racism still prevalent in the South. This story is heart-rending and p When I saw this book as a giveaway on Goodreads Firstreads, I knew I had to read it! I spent six months in Mississippi as a naive 19 year old girl not too long after Hurricane Camille devasted the Gulf Coast in 1969. Besides witnessing the aftermath of something so horrendous, I also was subject to frequent tornado warnings on the radio. Being raised in California, this was something completely new to me, as was the amount of racism still prevalent in the South. This story is heart-rending and powerful. Highly recommend!
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  • Dad
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book on Goodreads. It was a wonderful novel based on fact about the tornado that hit Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936. The lives of the residents, some white, some African American are combined in an unusual way. It also describes how the different races were treated. The white people were accounted for, while there were no records of how many African American people lived or died,were injured, or lost their homes during the storm.At time, disturbing, this was still a novel worth reading.
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  • Read In Colour
    January 1, 1970
    I want to rate this higher and probably would have but REASONS. In the aftermath of a tornado, whiteness is still centered. Black people were expected to delay looking for their family to assist white people. And this little white girl ordering grown ass black people around? Lawdamercy, this book didn't sit right with me for so many reasons. Was it a good story, probably. Is there a lesson to be learned in it, maybe for somebody, but not for me.
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  • Nona
    January 1, 1970
    Reading "Promise", I felt as if I was experiencing the Tupelo tornado! Gut-wrenching scenes, water-logged days and nights, people wandering around looking for loved ones, falling in holes and ponds, tripping over bodies. Dreadful. And in this nightmare, the story of Dovey and Jo and their families, losses endured and their secrets made known. In the midst of the devastation, both still trying to do the right thing. Excellent.
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  • Marg Corjay
    January 1, 1970
    A fictionalization of a little known natural disaster in Mississippi in 1936. When a catastrophic tornado roars through Tupelo on Palm Sunday, the destruction is total. The racial barriers are still in place but the storm did not discriminate and people step forward to lend aid as they can. The author brings out the human side of the story in a way that you cannot put down. I cannot wait to recommend this book to friends who enjoy historical fiction.
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  • Tracie
    January 1, 1970
    I HATED finishing this book. Saying goodbye to these characters who were so well developed I felt like they were all friends or neighbors (even the hateful ones). "Promise" is reminiscent of "To Kill A Mockingbird" based purely on how I felt when I read it. The storytelling brought me back to Harper Lee's novel when I read it in the 70s. I will definitely re-read this and loan it out to friends. Amazing.
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  • Chris Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Outstanding read! Amazing page turner. The author tells a vivid story of the tornado and its aftermath which I could not put down. Timely as it compares the experience of two families, one white, one black in the week following this devastating natural disaster. It left me wanting to read other books by this author
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  • Barbara Leuthe
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a moving book.The way people were looked over because of skin color is so sad we are all equal.Seeing this family who had such a hard time finding each other because of color so there were no records makes you think about life and equality.I received this book free as part of goodreads giveaways.
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  • Jackie Wolfred
    January 1, 1970
    "PROMISE" by Minrose Gwin is a story of the 1939 Tupalo, Mississippi tornado, which destroyed much of the community. The official accounts only recorded the casualties and injuries of the white residents. This account includes the losses of the black residents.A wonderful story that I could not put down.I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
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