About the Book
Promises to Keep
Author: Genevieve Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: April 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Purchase links: Amazon
I roll onto my side, expecting to see the sleeping profile of my little sister. She is not there. I rise to look for Claire, who I expect is already awake and stepping into her skirt. She isn’t there either.
In the next instant I am in our garden, breathing in morning fog as it seeps between lush rows of lettuce and beets, soaring vines of peas and beans. I pluck a twig of lavender from the small herb garden next to the door. I am asleep, yet I know how the lavender smells, how it will reach like caring fingers into my senses and soothe any worries which might have festered within me.
I have had this dream before, I think.
Beyond the budding fields stretch the salt marshes and the long walls of dikes, holding back the sea. Livestock dots the green, scattering in mindless ebbs and flows at the command of a gleeful dog. Over a hundred houses and a hundred barns stand around me, each with an identical garden, each sharing my glorious view. Pale smoke rises in soft white plumes from every stone chimney. I know every brother, sister, mother, and father within those walls. We have worked side by side for generations, cultivating this paradise. Together we have played and cried, laughed and died. We are a family.
But in this dream I see no one. I stand alone. The voices are silent; the helping hands are nowhere to be seen.
Perhaps I have not had this dream after all.
I gaze past our world toward the sea, shading my eyes against the brilliant blue. As a child I waded in the warm waters and reeds of the Gaspereau, squeezing delicious red mud through my toes, sinking with pleasure as the ripples touched my arms, then my waist. Sometimes I dropped my head beneath the surface, losing myself in the push and pull of the currents. It was bliss. It was escape. It was lovely
But the dream shows me a different sea, one in which I no longer see freedom. It rolls in a frothing black anger, its fury far more powerful than our dikes. I watch helplessly as the water crashes over the fields and climbs higher, flooding the gardens, claiming our homes.
When all else is gone, the sea comes for me. I cannot outrun it, but I cannot stop running. It seems right that Corporal MacDonnell stands just ahead, a vivid image in red, calling to me. He holds out his hand, but I cannot reach it. The water licks at me, drags at my skirt, sucks me into a whirling, crushing eddy. I flail and scream, though there is no sound but the water. I cannot fight, I cannot breathe—
Summer 1755, Acadia
Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.
Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.
Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.