THE PREACHER'S PROMISE
1866 – Oberlin, Ohio/ Milford, Georgia
Devastated by her father’s death days after her triumphant graduation from Oberlin College, Amanda Stewart is all alone in the world. Her father’s unscrupulous business partner offers her an indecent proposal to earn a living. Instead, to fulfill a promise she made to her father, she resolves to start a school to educate and uplift their race. Sorting through her father’s papers, she discovers he had carried on a mysterious correspondence with a plantation in Milford, Georgia. She determines to start her teaching work with the formerly enslaved. However, when she arrives, the mayor tells her to leave. There’s no where for her to go.
Virgil Smithson, Milford’s mayor, blacksmith and sometimes preacher man with a gift for fiery oratory, doesn’t want anything to do with a snobby schoolteacher from up North. On top of everything else, the schoolteacher lady has a will hard enough to match the iron he forges. He must organize his fellow formerly enslaved citizens into a new town and raise his young daughter alone. Still, his troubled past haunts him. He cannot forget the promise he made to his daughter’s mother as she died—that their child would learn to read and write. If only he didn’t have secrets that the new schoolteacher seems determined to uncover.
To keep the preacher's promise, Amanda and Virgil must put aside their enmity, unite for the sake of a newly-created community in a troubling age, and do things they never imagined. In the aftermath of the flood that was the Civil War, God set his bow upon the earth to show love and understanding for humankind. To reflect God’s promise, these combatants must put aside their differences and come together--somehow.
Amazing debut novel that takes an entirely different look at the post Civil War South. I learned a lot, including that this time period is called the Reconstruction Era. Loved the fresh perspective of a former slave and free Northerner. Virgil is so closed and prickly. Pride and insecurity battle for prominence as he buries his attraction to the unexpectedly female school teacher. As far as welcoming committees go, he's the least friendly of them all. But Amanda has nowhere else to go and she's desperate to carry out the work her father had a passion for. Clash of wills, barbed comments and a whole lot of fun ensue.
My ire skyrocketed while reading a number of historical plot points. Freedom didn't come easily. In a way it was more of a mockery then anything else. Huguley brings all the injustice and hope and raw determination of this era to life in a most spectacular way. A riveting read.
Important to note: -- paperback copy available in US only. Ebook version available for international winner.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The Preacher's Promise please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 22 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!