Tilda’s Promise: A Novel

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Tilda hasn’t been able to get a full night’s rest in a while. She wakes up around 3 am and cannot get back to sleep. She’s haunted by horror stories of nighttime deaths of people her age. After months of this, she finally gets a full night of sleep, waking at 7 am to find that her husband, Harold, has died during the night. She goes through the motions, on autopilot, of calling an ambulance and arranging the funeral, but it all seems so surreal. Of all nights to sleep through, why that night? Soon after the funeral, her daughter, Laura, a take-charge kind of person, starts in on Tilda, asking about the house, the bills, and her mother’s health. They make an uneasy pact, that no decisions are allowed in the first year. Tilda just wants a year to become accustomed to doing things on her own and figuring out her new life without Harold. As this is a tradition in the Jewish faith, practiced half-heartedly by her husband but taken up strongly by her daughter, the year passes. What she doesn’t expect is how the death of her husband of many years will affect her grandchild, Tilly, and how to deal with the changing landscape of both their lives.

Moore writes adeptly, inserting touching humor in difficult situations. She also explores the life of a widow and how much that changes – what is acceptable? When should she date? Does that lessen her relationship with her husband? Moore has created a strong character in Tilda; she still cries often over things that remind her of her life with her husband, and she struggles with how to be herself without depressing those around her. The guilt she feels and the loss she endures lead her to talking out her fears and distress with friends, a Rabbi, and sharing with her granddaughter. Tilda’s relationship with her granddaughter and the exploration of contemporary issues of gender and acceptance make this a book beyond traditional stories of loss. While at times it seems the story goes off on tangents, Moore brings it full circle, and the side plots become important as part of the big picture and the conclusion of the first year Tilda spends alone. It is a tender story, delving into lifelong relationships with spouses, friends, children, and how they change over time. While the cover suggests beaches and sun, it may be that this one is better read in a smaller, more private place, as the emotions it evokes may cause a couple of errant tears. However, this would make a great book-club read, as the discussion questions provided could lead groups to delve into matters usually kept private.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Jean P. Moore
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 262 pages
Publisher She Writes Press
Publish Date 2018-Sep-25
ISBN 9781631524776
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Popular Fiction
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