By: Ann Weisgarber
A candid look into the life of women, family dynamics and natural disaster in the 1900’s, The Promise provides readers with a vivid glimpse through time. Ann Weisgarber set her novel in Galveston Texas to give testament to the largest disaster American’s suffered in the twentieth century. Her talent shines through her rich characters, complex plot as well as her historical and contextual framing. The Promise will carry you away as on the winds of the great storm and deposit you in the rural farmland on the island of Galveston, Texas in the year 1900. This book will gift you with a first hand experience of the details of daily life, social life and the dangers women faced at this point in history. Traveling from Dayton, OH where she fell for and engaged in an affair with her sick cousin’s husband, Catherine Wainright must travel by train across the country to seek refuge in marriage to a childhood friend – a man she hasn’t seen in or communicated with in twelve long years.
As someone in their late twenties, while reading The Promise, I found myself imagining what it would be like to live Catherine’s life. I caught myself trying to determine whether I could have handled life in the 1900s, the restrictions and duties of a woman in this time period. How hard must it have been to to pack up, travel across the country and marry a man who is effectively a stranger, all within a few short days? With the artful storytelling of Ann Weisgarber I feel as if I have answers to some of these questions. She very much makes you feel as though you are living rather than simply reading the novel. History buffs, novelists and women of all ages are able to relate to these events in this latest work from Weisgarber. Somehow reading of the tragedies or hardships of others makes our lives more palpable, more manageable, and enables us to better embrace what we have been given. This book was easy to devour. With skill of the author, I was able to devour it in just two work days. Whether as part of a book club, or a personal library this book is a great addition.