Released on 14 March 2013.

Read extract

The Promise

3.93 based on 2108 ratings & 406 reviews on

2014 Short-listed

Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction


Shortlisted for the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

1900. Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation she agrees to marry him.

But when Catherine travels to Oscar's farm on Galveston island, Texas - a thousand miles from home - she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her. The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar's little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother. And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.

Meanwhile for Nan Ogden, Oscar's housekeeper, Catherine's sudden arrival has come as a great shock. For not only did she promise Oscar's first wife that she would be the one to take care of little Andre, but she has feelings for Oscar which she is struggling to suppress. And when the worst storm in a generation descends, the women will find themselves tested as never before . . .

From the author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Promise is a heart-breaking story of love, loss and buried secrets, which confirms Weisgarber as one of the most compelling literary voices writing today.

The Promise was a finalist in the Western Writers of America Best Historical Fiction Awards.

In the media

In this superb novel, Ann Weisgarber has created voices so convincing it is as if the dead themselves have arisen to tell their story. The Promise is a novel that, once started, few readers will be able to put down.
Ron Rash
Weisgarber's tale is a deeply moving story about the heart and worth of obscure lives, and becomes a universal tale despite its tiny Texan-boondocks canvas.
Waterstones Blog
'Outstanding . . . The Promise by Ann Weisgarber is set in Texas in 1900 and follows the story of a young pianist who arrives from the sophisticated east coast to make a hasty marriage to a widower. The story of their tentative relationship in the oppressive Texan heat is engrossing, and the final pages are profoundly moving.
Kirsty Wark, Sunday Express