William Morrow Paperbacks
On Sale: March 12, 2019
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Hardcover (March 2018)
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
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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