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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,373 ratings  ·  302 reviews
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
ebook, 416 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,373 ratings  ·  302 reviews

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Angela M
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 people whose lives were lost because they just weren’t ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 moments of grace and humanity that bring hope into the
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 emotional storm that will shake apart two families.

Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Based upon the real events that occurred when an F5 hurricane destroyed much of Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936. The records show that a couple hundred were killed and over a thousand were injured. The toll was much higher though as the losses in the African American neighborhoods were never recorded.
The story is told through the voices of Dovey Grand'homme and Jo McNabb. Dovey, from a young age, had been doing the laundry of the prominent families in Tupelo, including the McNabb family. Jo is a
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 such great detail throughout the pages of this ...more
Strong characters. Magnetic writing. Literary fortitude. Heart gripping story centering around a catastrophic tornado, caustic prejudice, and survivalist unification of two unlikely women (one black and one white) in the storm's aftermath.

All the elements for a potential four or five star story, for me. Except, it's a slow, slowwwww read. Exceptionally so, for such catastrophic/prejudicial stormy themes. Mostly due to too many inner monologues and action-interrupting flashbacks. And a bit of
At 9 o’clock in the evening on April 5, 1936 a massive tornado ripped through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi. The aftermath of this devastating event was unimaginable. Hundreds of people died as parts of the city were completely destroyed.

Author Minrose Gwin’s grandparents survived this tragic event, and she grew up hearing details about the tornado which was the fourth most deadly tornado in U.S. history.

Gwin’s novel brings to life the story of the events that took place in Tupelo on that
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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, but the author kept me struck in the characters’
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.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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 tornado itself or wandering around later in the dark ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Set in the days surrounding the Tupelo tornado of 1936, the story focuses on a black and white family, each affected by the tornado. The black community residing near Gum Pond faced near total loss of property and tremendous loss of life. However, the whites also faced losses. The author incorporates assistance from the Red Cross, CCC, and Salvation Army into the narrative. I don't want to give away too much of the plot.

I grew up in a town near Tupelo and heard stories of the tornado's
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 these individuals shoes, enduring everything that
Dustin Hood
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autographed, arc
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 regals the story of two families with more than just ...more
Read In Colour
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Susie | Novel Visits
{My Thoughts}
What Worked For Me
Realities 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 had NO warning that it was coming. Minrose Gwin did a
Megan C.
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
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 keep the pace up. Even so, an enjoyable listen ...more
Thelma Fountain
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tour
Full review & giveaway on my blog:
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars - seems I keep needing that half-star icon...
Given the recent devastating tornado in Alabama, this was a timely read. I learned a lot from the author's note about her family's experience when a similar tragedy struck Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936. This story is a fictional account of the aftermath of that event.

It's a gripping story and one that rings true as two women, one white, one black, try to navigate and understand the devastation that's left behind after the tornado hits. The
Kathryn in FL
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 altogether, some sources say they pack winds over 100 ...more
Diane Lynn
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Very good story based on the devastating F-5 tornado that hit Tupelo, MS in 1936.
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. Sadly I didn't like it as much as I had hoped.
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 discrimination and unfairness persist. Working from ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
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 straightforward historical account based on the
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 as well. This story is one of hope and promise in ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 the storm.

The book focuses on two families; one
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 2018-read

Promise 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 the inaccurate numbers. This is the story of two families
Vikki Patis
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Promise is the exceptional story of Dovey and Jo, one an older black woman, the other a young white girl. During the 1930s, a tornado hit their town with devastating ferocity. Stories of babies flying through the air, buildings torn down, and animals killed. The death toll was high, and yet there was not an exact number of those who died, because the black people were not properly counted. Yes, this is a fictional story based on very real events, and how utterly disappointing those facts are.

Phyllis Krall
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 wanders through town, stopping at the McNabb home
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Kindle Book Club ...: SPOILER ALERT, Promise, Reading Completed 4 15 Jun 24, 2018 10:20PM  
Kindle Book Club ...: Discussion, Promise, Reading In Progress 11 12 May 07, 2018 05:53PM  

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Minrose Gwin is the author of three novels: The Queen of Palmyra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award; Promise; and The Accidentals. Wishing for Snow, her 2004 memoir about the convergence of poetry and psychosis in her mother’s life, was reissued by Harper Perennial in 2011. Wearing another hat, she has written four books of ...more
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“Because sometimes evil didn’t show its ugly self; it could put on the clothes of an ordinary boy. The boy could sit across the table from you, a stray lock of hair hanging in his eyes. He could be doing all the regular things boys do, shoveling in the mashed potatoes, pushing the peas around on his plate, preferring peach cobbler over rhubarb in the late summer while the wasps batted the window screen and the fan on the sideboard rotated.” 1 likes
“Had the girl stashed away a piece of herself, because that’s what mothers must do—hold something back just in case—but of course the answer was no, of course she hadn’t because, and Dovey knew this for a fact, it’s not possible to hold anything back with a baby; everything has already been opened up, everything yawns toward hunger and need, everything says, Take me, use me, this is my body and my blood and no one else’s will do. Dreama was just a piece of water going to the sea.” 0 likes
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