The Promise by Anne Weisgarber

promiseAll novels begin with trouble. Catherine is on the verge of poverty after she has an affair with a married man.

Disgraced, Catherine Wainwright decides to make a fresh start in Galveston. Though she never planned on marriage, a man she scarcely remembers from high school has offered to marry her.

From Dayton, Ohio, Catherine journeys to the unknown where the food, religion, climate and ways of life are foreign to her.

Oscar Williams, the man who offered marriage, had adapted to Galveston. Catherine believes that she can, too, even if it means becoming a step-mother to a five-year-old and living under the watchful eye of a resentful servant, Nan.

Catherine and Oscar learn to love each other, even if they have different ways. Catherine is a college graduate and was a celebrated pianist. She has refined ways whereas Oscar is a dairy farmer. His home is on stilts and there’s no electricity.

Catherine learns to appreciate Oscar’s goodness; even if, tragically, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 will change everything.

This is a well-researched historical novel filled with delightful people who are honest and hard-working, especially Nan and Oscar.

Catherine, of course, has a past, but she learns the true meaning of love and family when she meets Oscar and his little son.

This could have been a beautiful story about making a fresh start and beginning anew, but the tragedy of the storm muddies this beautiful message.