The Promise

Ann Weisgarber. Skyhorse (Perseus, dist.), $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-62914-236-4
This second engaging novel from Weisgarber (The Personal History of Rachel DuPree) might have been written a century ago. Set in 1900, the story follows a young bride named Catherine Wainwright, who faces an array of challenges after impulsively leaving her Dayton, Ohio home and heading west to wed. The story has shades of Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, and Conrad Richter, and the prose has a streak of formality that gives the book a period flavor, but Catherine’s first-person narration (and later that of Nan Ogden, the housekeeper at Catherine’s new home) is also appealingly immediate. Catherine received acclaim and gained a bit of regional celebrity as a pianist in Dayton. But a casual friendship with a married man causes provincial tongues to wag, and the gossip leads to canceled concerts and lost teaching opportunities. When Oscar Williams, a childhood friend and prosperous rancher in Texas who has recently become a widower, sends Catherine a marriage proposal, she immediately accepts. It’s a wonderful setup for solid storytelling: the city girl learns to do all the hard work of a farm wife and, in the process, gets to know her instant husband and his son, Andre. At first, Catherine and Oscar are less than completely honest with each other, and as truths are revealed, the plot thickens. Warm and winning. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Compact Disc - 978-1-4915-8305-0
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-63220-645-9
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-230-76898-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-62914-288-3
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-1-4104-7119-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-63450-629-8
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