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Promise: A Novel Audiobook, by Minrose Gwin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Minrose Gwin Narrator: Adenrele Ojo Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2018 ISBN: 9780062802316
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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, coupled with their passion for justice.” -- Jonis Agee, bestselling author of The River Wife

A few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, Mississippi, killing more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures.

When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son.

Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one, including Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, who has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him.

During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Memorable…vividly conveys what it was like to survive the fourth most deadly tornado in US history; it also brings to light the vast disparity in the care and treatment of white vs. black residents.”

    Library Journal

  • “A gripping tale of racism, power, and the bonds that make a family, Promise explores how one can rebuild after tragedy strikes.”

    Booklist

  • “The novel’s especially timely focus on what happens to communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster will draw many readers…Gwin’s latest effort will inspire further exploration of an underexamined American tragedy.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Promise is a powerful story about yet another forgotten chapter in our great national drama. Minrose Gwin knows her characters well and writes about them and their place and times with sympathy and wisdom.”

    Steve Yarbrough, author of The Realm of Last Chances

  • “A compelling powerhouse of a story that grips us from the horrific tornado at its start to its stunning, heart-wrenching finish, Minrose Gwin’s gorgeous new novel is a masterpiece!”

    Jaimee Wriston Colbert, author of Wild Things, praise for the author

  • “An extraordinary novel.”

    Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

  • Gwin’s gift shines in the complexity of her characters and their fraught relationships with each other, their capacity for courage and hope, coupled with their passion for justice…I couldn’t put this novel down, and I don’t think you’ll want to either.”

    Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife

  • “This book is a monumental achievement, and Gwin is a fiercely talented writer.”

    Jaimee Wriston Colbert, author of Wild Things

  • “Lyrically precise, taut, and realistic, Promise kept me absorbed from beginning to end.”

    Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

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About the Author

Minrose Gwin is the author of The Queen of Palmyra. She has written three scholarly books, coedited The Literature of the American South, and teaches contemporary fiction at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

About the Narrator

Adenrele Ojo is an actress, dancer, and audiobook narrator, winner of over a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2018. She made her on-screen debut in My Little Girl, starring Jennifer Lopez, and has since starred in several other films. She has also performed extensively with the Philadelphia Dance Company. As the daughter of John E. Allen, Jr., founder and artistic director of Freedom Theatre, the oldest African American theater in Pennsylvania, is no stranger to the stage. In 2010 she performed in the Fountain Theatre’s production of The Ballad of Emmett Till, which won the 2010 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Ensemble. Other plays include August Wilson’s Jitney and Freedom Theatre’s own Black Nativity, where she played Mary.