Set in the US in the year 1900, The Promise opens with the story of Catherine, an upper-class, gifted pianist with an elegant life. However, when Catherine embarks on an ill-advised affair, her independent lifestyle grinds to a halt. She is forced to leave everything she’s ever known to marry the only man who can rescue her from poverty: a lower-class former classmate who now lives in Galveston, Texas. When she arrives in Texas, she discovers that her new husband has a housekeeper named Nan whose feelings about Catherine are decidedly negative. The author alternates point-of-view between Catherine and Nan.
The depth of each character, particularly the two women that make up the focus of the story, is phenomenal. The author brings the reader right into the fears and motivations of each woman, and it makes for what is easily the best first-person narrative I’ve been fortunate enough to read. Not only are the characters detailed, but so is the setting. Weisgarber makes Texas come alive in a way that few authors could. Of course, whether or not someone will love this book will depend on how much they enjoy the ending: without giving anything away, I was not a fan. However, I enjoyed the book so much as a whole that I still can’t deduct more than a 1/2 star.
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