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

Reviews Promise

  • Angela M
    One horrific natural disaster, two families - one black, one white, two babies thrown by the tornado and the same heartache for both families over the loss and devastation, two families connected by more than this devastation. This is more than a story based on an actual tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936, the “fourth most deadly tornado in the US” according to the author in her prologue. She also notes the undocumented fate of black peop...
  • Karen
    A work of fiction based on the true event of the April 5, 1936 Tupelo, Mississippi tornado and its devastating aftermath. The author herself heard stories of this tornado during her childhood, growing up in Tupelo.This story tells of the damage and how it was handled especially in the time of racial divides.As another author stated in her review “a compelling tale of biblical proportions good and evil, destruction and salvation, and clear momen...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • DeAnn
    4 stars for Promise! This one is set in 1936 Tupelo in the aftermath of a tornado that ripped through the town. Not surprisingly, this one has racial tension, but the tornado claimed lives, property, and created devastation for just about the whole town. The author did a great job of making me feel like I was at the scene with descriptions of the debris everywhere and the terrible disasters that befall many residents of the town, either in the to...
  • Caryn
    Full review & giveaway on my blog:
  • Trudy
    Minrose Gwin is quite a storyteller. Talk about characterization! She is a master! These characters are so fleshed out that I could almost hear them breathing. All of their thoughts, motives, influences, actions were laid bare here. So, why four stars instead of five? For me, the exact same reason I enjoyed it so much. At certain points my own brain became overloaded with the charcters’s thoughts. In some cases, I wanted the story to move along...
  • Angie
    Originally posted @ Readaholic Zone including an interesting video I found.Minrose Gwin deserves a standing ovation for PROMISE. This is the most outstanding book based on true events that I have read. Hence, this book stands alone above all others due to so many factors which I will discuss later in the review. Gwin’s writing is powerful with the Characters jumping off the pages so as a reader, you're experiencing what it is like to walk in t...
  • Dustin Hood
    Anyone from the South can tell you how terrifying and profoundly life-changing a tornado can be on your life and generations to come. When a tornado tears through Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936 the town is immediately disheveled into a landscape unrecognizable. Records indicate the tornado claimed 216 to 233 lives and 1,000 injured. What that record omits is countless of African American lives impacted by the F5 twister. Minrose Gwin's PROMISE regal...
  • Kathryn
    Minrose Gwin presents a story focused on two families, one white and one black as they struggle to reunite with their kin after the F5 Tornado that hit Tupelo, Mississippi on April 5, 1936. F5 are considered extremely dangerous according to more than one source, they are capable of total destruction; strong frame houses are lifted off foundations and can be carried considerable distances and have the capacity to cause them to disintegrate altoget...
  • 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.
  • Gaele
    Gwin tells the tale of the 1936 Tupelo tornado from two perspectives: Dovey, an African-American laundress and Jo, a young white girl and daughter of a Judge and schoolteacher. Simply surviving the storm when so many didn’t, then holding on to hope and determination to survive and find family and help become the skeleton of this tale – allowing readers in to lives and situations that feel plausible and probable, even as some of the underlying...
  • Alison Hardtmann
    Minrose Gwin explores the aftermath of a tornado that struck Tupelo, Mississippi on April 5, 1936, through the experiences of two women. Jo McNabb is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a local judge living in a comfortable brick house and Dovey Grand'homme is a grandmother and a laundress who works for the McNabbs. As their paths intersect, the connections and divisions between them become clear and what the path forward might be. This novel is a s...
  • Thelma Fountain
    I received this book in a goodreads giveaway. I had a difficult getting into this one. The concept of the events of a tornado and the aftermath interested me since I have personally lived through two tornado's but that may have also been the reason I had difficulty. Tornado's are traumatizing especially if people you know are killed. I believe this book just wasn't a good fit for me.
  • Tammy
    Wow! Minrose Gwin has crafted a gruesomely descriptive story in Promise! I live in the Midwest and tornadoes are one of my biggest fears. I felt as if I was actually there experiencing the aftermath. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop!
  • Megan C.
    Solid read, but didn't blow me away. I had stylistic issues with dialogue and also with the narrator. (I'm really picky about narrators, which I will fully admit.) I don't like it when accents feel overly exaggerated - the southern accents and the affect from the narrator at times felt almost like a caricature, and it was really hard for me to get past that. I felt like some of the plot connections were forced just to move the story arc along and...
  • Susie | Novel Visits
    {My Thoughts}What Worked For MeRealities of a Natural Disaster in the 1930’s – We all know what it’s like when tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes strike today. We often times witness the devastation as it’s happening and we see how quickly people respond and aid arrives. Now go back 80 years and think how different it would be, especially for the people of that time. The tornado at the heart of Promise actually happened and the people h...
  • Asheley
    4.5/5Promise by Minrose Gwin is a historical fiction story that is based on the F-5 tornado that tore thru Tupelo, Mississippi on April 5, 1936 at around 9:00 p.m. History says that over two hundred people died in this tornado — it was actually more than that, but only the white population was counted in the casualty reports. I was astounded as I read this, based on Minrose Gwin’s extensive research.Promise isn’t only about casualties and t...
  • 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...
  • Rikke
    2.5 stars. Sadly I didn't like it as much as I had hoped.
  • Patty
    I have a love of historical fiction and a fascination with weather so this book caught me on two levels. Promise is a fictional tale about the very real F5 tornado that hit Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1936. Ms. Gwin’s grandparents lived in the area at the time and survived the event. She includes a slew of photos in the afterward from the news coverage of the day and from the historical society that allows the reader to fully appreciate the fury of...
  • Phyllis Krall
    A historical novel about the deadly tornado that hit Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936 causing devastation and death to many. Two families are linked through horrifying circumstances and struggle to recover.Dovey is a laundress who works for the McNabb family . When the tornado hits she is lifted out of her yard and finds herself bliwn into Gum Pond. She manages to make her way back home to search for her husband, granddaughter, and great grandson. She...
  • Linda
    With all the weather-related warnings we have today, it's hard to imagine a time when F-5 tornados could sneak up on communities. The author did a wonderful job of describing the total devastation this 1936 tornado did to the town (and black and white citizens) of Tupelo, Mississippi. A heart-wrenching story of families looking for their loved ones in the aftermath.
  • Jane
    Gwin's fictional tale of two families during the 1936 tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi is a definite read even though a good editing could have reduced its page length by approximately twenty pages. While they search for loved ones through the rubble of the destroyed buildings and decaying corpses, both Dovey and Jo remember their past and then discover the truth in what is most precious to them.
  • Pat
    I thought the book was interesting and I liked the story. The beginning of the book describing the tornado was very good. There were too many repetitive details that I found to be distracting or I would have rated it higher.
  • Deb Darling
    Compelling book of love and loss, in a period of 1930's bigotry in Mississippi, from the viewpoint of both whites and blacks. I think the reason for 4 stars instead of 5, is that it mostly made me sad.
  • Rachel
    I waited on pins and needles for this one since I heard about it months ago, and it did not disappoint.
  • Padgett Gerler
    Minrose Gwin’s historical novel, PROMISE, is so vivid, so rich, it feels as if it were painted with a brush. PROMISE is based on the F5 tornado that tore through Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936, leveling the town, killing hundreds and injuring over 1,000. The story follows two characters: Jo, the teenage daughter of the wealthy McNabb family, and Dovey Grand’homme, the McNabb’s African American washwoman. Though Jo has been wounded by the torna...
  • Susan Gottfried
    I LOVED the premise of this and couldn't wait to get my hands on it, and indeed, the writing is fantastic. So what was the problem?Ultimately, it was the story of a custody battle, except one half of the two people involved in didn't know anything about it for most of the time, so it wasn't much of a battle. And really, there wasn't all that much at stake, even though these people had been through the sort of trial they were lucky to have lived t...