Promise by Minrose Gwin


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, couple...

Details Promise

Release DateFeb 27th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction

Reviews Promise

  • KC
    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...
  • Jennifer
    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...
  • Kristen Beverly
    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.
  • Elisha (lishie)
    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...
  • Maggie Holmes
    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-Ameri...
  • Kim McGee
    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 l...
  • Laura
    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. A...
  • Anne
    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 cl...
  • Read In Colour
    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.
  • Nona
    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.
  • Chris Humphrey
    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
  • Jackie Wolfred
    "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.
  • Roxanne
    This is a Goodreads win review. I like to read books about things I know about. We live 30 minutes from a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado ten year ago. And it has not made a good comeback. So this book is about what happens in a Tupelo tornado and the stories of Dovey and Jo and how they helped each other survive.
  • Ann Wrathall
    Really enjoyed this book. Found the story about the Tupelo tornado very fascinating. You see these tornadoes on the news but this book really showed how it was to live through one of these devastating storms both the physical wounds and the emotional wounds. The only complaint I had is that some of it was a bit slow. Sometimes I could skip paragraphs and not miss much.
  • Lynn
    This novel, set during the aftermath of the Tupelo Mississippi tornado on April 5,1936, traces the storm's effect, hour by hour, on families both black and white. Well worth reading!!I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Harper Collins; pub date 02/06/18
  • Vera
    Won a copy of this. Very well written. Both black & white lived through tragedy. The author makes the reader feel like part of the story.Would recommend to others. Hard to put down when you start.
  • Beth
    I loved this book! I found it hard to put it down once I started it and I was sad to come to the end.
  • Susan White-Riggs
    A great book, i really like the writing and storyline.
  • Ann Marie
    Beautifully written. Fleshed out characters with plenty of back story. A story worth telling.
  • Laura Valentine
    Not as good as her first book, but still powerful.