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The Promised World

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  953 ratings  ·  185 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Cure for Modern Life and Once Upon a Day comes a riveting novel of suspense about a literature professor whose carefully constructed life is shattered after the death of her twin brother and the unraveling of the secret world they shared.

On a March afternoon, while Lila Cole is working in her quiet office, her twin brother Billy point
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Atria Books (first published August 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  953 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
You know it’s bad when you only have 15 pages left of a book, and you can’t bring yourself to read them.

The Promised World by Lisa Tucker started out promising enough: a tale of family dysfunction focusing on twin brother/sister, Billy and Lila, who have an abnormally close relationship and a lot of unanswered questions about their past. When Billy kills himself – suicide by police – Lila tries to figure out why, and starts unraveling a lot of mysteries about their childhood an
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
CONTENT WARNING: Child abuse, gaslighting, maybe-incest, body-shaming, fat-phobia, controlling someone else's food-intake.

"Suicide-by-police" - what does it mean? Police shoot Billy dead. How is that suicide? Anyway, apparently Billy wants them to kill him, and he gets his wish. I think "suicide-by-police" needs way more exploring, because there's barely anything here.

The Promised World is contemporary Gothic, with themes of effed-up families, gaslighting, manipulation, maybe-incest, and a/>The
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This engrossing tale delves deep into the power of memory and the often blurry lines between actual events and the stories we're told about those events. The focus of the book are Lila and Billy, a set of unusually close fraternal twins whose lives and stories are enwtined more than anyone can imagine. After Billy's death Lila completely breaks down, leaving her husband Patrick - a man who has always valued reason and logic over emotion - to sift through what he knows and what he is told to piec ...more
Rosalind Gallaspie
Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
The poorly conceived ending ruined this book for me.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5* - Every now and then one may just be looking for a good drama story, and this would fit the bill. Every family has skeletons and this family is no different. Young children sometimes can't or won't remember their childhoods, and for good reason. The twins, Lila and Billy, each have different tales about growing up and will reflect on how they are living their lives as adults. Whose to blame?
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
In today's climate, with the news full of stories men turning to mass murder and suicide, The Promised World seems an even more fitting book for the times. Unlike the men in the news stories, however, Billy Cole had no intention of killing anyone other than himself the day he aimed his unloaded rifle at an elementary school. His pain had become too much for him to bear. Lisa Tucker offers a firsthand look at a family in crisis and the impact suicide can have on such a family.

Billy ha
Lila Cole seemingly has it made: she teaches English literature at a good university in Pennsylvannia, her husband, Patrick was willing to take a lesser job at a smaller university to accompany her there, and she seems to have a solid marriage.

But all of this comes crashing down around her when her twin brother, Billy, commits "suicide by police," after being charged with child abuse by his wife, Ashley.

Lila's world crashes with the death of Billy, and she ends up estranged from her husband, a
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This gripping tale of family secrets and shattered lives is both tragic and redemptive. When Billy commits suicide, his fraternal Lila is left shattered. Unable to understand Billy's actions or to piece together the fractured pieces of her childhood without his help, Lila starts to separate from her life trying to piece together what happened in his. Meanwhile Billy's wife Ashley and Lila's husband Patrick dance around the edges of the picture, reintroducing Lila's mother Barbara to the family w ...more
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
I've read quite a few favorable reviews on this one that made me want to read it immediately. I'm always interested in family dramas and this book has all of that and then some. I knew right away that something wasn't right with Lila and her twin brother Billy, but it took some time before I could really figure out what their relationship was all about. I thought the writing was really strong and the story had elements of mystery that I enjoyed trying to figure out. In the end, I felt my heart g ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed this book until I got to the end, where the author just kinda wrapped things but didn't really address everything in the book. After reading it, I was left with asking questions. I was really disappointed with the ending.
Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
When I read the book cover, it said something about how the book would haunt me after I finished the last page so I thought it would be a great ending. The book itself was ok, but the ending was pretty disappointing.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's a psycho-drama that kept me turning pages. It's not great literature and I still have unanswered questions but it's a good read!
Gina Wymore
The Promised World by Lisa Tucker is a fiction novel and psychological thriller. When successful literary professor Lila Cola learns about her twin brother Billy’s death, her life is turned upside down. Billy had been her rock and the bond they shared was indestructible. She describes a troubled childhood where she recalls little, however, Billy had filled in the gaps with stories of cheerful times. It isn’t until his death that Lila comes to know the truth about her childhood, family, and brot ...more
3.5 stars

That ending was pretty twisted! I didn't see that coming. If you enjoyed Everything I Never Told You then you would probably also like this novel. Both novels revolve around a family who must continue to survive after a loved one dies unexpectedly.

In The Promised World, we follow the lives of several characters dealing with the aftermath of the death of Lila's twin brother, Billy. The story is told from the perspective of Lila early on, but as the story progresses, the reader al
Tattered Cover Book Store
Sep 06, 2009 added it
Recommended to Tattered Cover by: The IndieNext list for September 2009
Jackie says:

"Words can be like arrows. You can't see them, and that's why they're so dangerous. With an ordinary arrow, if you get hit, you know you have to remove it from your body. With words, you can never pull them out once they get stuck in your mind."

This quote comes toward the end of this extraordinary novel, but it is it's essence. At first it seems that this book is about a woman, Lila, dealing with the shocking 'suicide by cop' death of her twin, Billy. But that is simply
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"Words can be like arrows. You can't see them, and that's why they're so dangerous. With an ordinary arrow, if you get hit, you know you have to remove it from your body. With words, you can never pull them out once they get stuck in your mind."

This quote comes toward the end of this extraordinary novel, but it is it's essence. At first it seems that this book is about a woman, Lila, dealing with the shocking 'suicide by cop' death of her twin, Billy. But that is simply the point whe
Deon Stonehouse
Lila Cole’s life was formed by her twin brother Billy.  When he is killed by police she comes apart at the seams.  As Lila sinks into a morass of grief, dark secrets start bubbling to the surface. Lila and her husband Patrick are both successful professors. Patrick never questioned his wife’s unusually strong bond with her brother, or her reticence to speak about her parents. Patrick is quite content with a calm ordered life until his wife goes off the rails and everything she has ever told him ...more
Carla Ford
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time becoming really engrossed in this book until about the middle, but then I couldn't put it down because I was so curious to know the truth about Billy and Lila's childhood. As Lila seems to be losing her own will to live after the death of her twin brother Billy, her wonderful husband Patrick refuses to let her give up. He does some soul searching of his own and realizes that his own issues contributed to Lila's problems, and he determines to pull her through. As Patrick and Lil ...more
Melissa Foster
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book on a whim, which I do often--I was in a hurry and the cover caught my eye. I read the back and gave it a shot. Lisa Tucker is a skilled author! Promised World is a twisted tale of twins and their families, primarily their mother. Without giving away the cruxt of the novel, it touches on control between siblings and parents. Their lives are convoluted, to say the least. The book also speaks volumes about the inner strength of people and the ability that others have to manipu ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I found this book VERY confusing. Such a good idea, but I felt like the author tried to have too many drastic twists and turns and often the reader was clued in until much later in the book which caused me to stop and think a bunch and have to go back to figure things out. I liked the idea behind the story a lot: twins Lila & Billy had a horrible childhood and Lila has been told stories from Billy so she doesn't have to remember the horrible things they endured as children. All around I real ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This is an incredibly well-written novel - I could NOT put it down. The Promised World follows twins Lila and Billy - they have always been extremely close and the book opens with Billy killing himself. Obviously this throws Lila into a tailspin and she simply cannot cope without Billy. Billy's death changes the lives of everyone in his family - secrets and lies surface and the reader hardly knows what to believe. An unbelievable book about the love between siblings and dealing with an abusive p ...more
May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book not because of beautiful writing, although the writing is fine. I liked the mystery of it. Who is crazy? is the question at the heart of the mystery this book is. It's the mystery of a dysfunctional family, several generations of dysfunction. Patrick is too good to be true, but that was fine with me. Lila certainly needed someone this good in order to survive. It was a page turner. Not like the book I'm currently reading, The Three Weissmans of Wesport, which is a page savore ...more
Allyson Langston
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Okay--this was intriguing. I honestly spent 95% of the book trying to figure out what was going on--what had happened to the protagonist that "erased" her memories? Why had her brother jumped off the deep end? It definitely kept me reading. When the "shocking" conclusion was reached, I felt a little let down, maybe. It's about fraternal twins, their bond, their history, and their past. It was really . .. different, but in the end, I did like it. Not uplifting--wouldn't surprise me to see it as a ...more
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
How fast can the individual's psych deteriorate? This is a well writtine narrative exposing the intricates of human relationships, the horrid consequences of abuse, and the impact of deception on a person.
Nov 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book had an interesting twist on being a twin in a very dysfunctional family. Again, a good read if you are interested in twins, twisted families where hope still rules.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Lila is devastated when she discovers that her twin brother, Billy, has been killed by police ("death by suicide") after he is found with a gun aimed from a hotel window at a nearby school. Lila has always had a very close relationship with her twin, almost unnaturally so, and as their families try to untangle the events and reasons behind Billy's ultimate death, family secrets are gradually uncovered, and Lila's husband Patrick wonders if he ever really knew his wife at all.

Lauren Johnson
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Lila is incredibly close to her twin brother Billy, so when she finds out that he has intentionally died at the hands of the police, she is at a loss for words. Lila desperately tries to understand why Billy would choose "suicide by police," and her search leads to places that no one expected. The book deals with Lila's relationship with her husband and her brother, while also focusing on Billy's relationship with his family and his children. The book has many flashbacks as the reader tries to u ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book kept me really interested until about 3/4 of the way through. There were a lot of details that went unexplored or were underdeveloped and it ultimately made the book very confusing. I had to reread several sections as I didn’t follow what pronouns were referring to which character. Lila has several flashbacks and foggy memories about her past as the story continued, but it was often hard to tell when/where I was placed in the story. While I understand the concept of flashbacks to tie i ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I am not sure why folks trashed this book so badly. While I wouldn't rave about it and put it at the top of my favorites list, it was still a very intriguing read.

Lila and Billy are twins who come from a disturbing past. Unfortunately, Lila cannot remember anything about it and as you move through the story you discover that what Billy has told her may not be the truth.

It was a quick read for me-you don't need to spend days thinking about this one. Perhaps, sometimes a story is simp
Tamara Bennett
Sad story, sad characters. Pitiful childhood produced pitiful adults struggling to have basic relationships. Thought the story would delve a little deeper into the psychological setbacks that the characters' neglectful (@ best) & abusive childhood produced - & why - in order to better explain how they ended up the messes they became. Also felt the siblings' relationship itself would be better explained since that was the focus of the story. Still not sure of what was happening w/ main ch ...more
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Lisa Tucker is the author of six novels: The Winters in Bloom, coming this September; The Song Reader, Shout Down the Moon, Once Upon a Day, The Cure for Modern Life, and The Promised World.

Her books have been published in twelve countries and selected for Borders Original Voices, Book of the Month Club, the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, People magazine Critic’s Choice, Redbook Book C