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.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Genevieve Graham is a new author to me and she is Canadian to boot. Anyone who knows me knows that I get excited while discovering not just new authors from this great country but when the subject matter is Canadian history too. Canada is a great country with rich history and I'm always on the lookout for historical fiction taking place here and sadly they are hard to find, especially going back to the time period Promises to Keep deals with.
It's 1755 in Acadia (present day Nova Scotia) and even though Amelie and Connor are fictional characters what takes place is right out of the history books. I had no idea that something like the Acadian Expulsion could and did in fact take place. Believe me when I say I was googling as soon as I turned the last page.
The author painted an idyllic picture of what life was like for the Acadian's. Content in their way of life it wasn't hard to visualize the landscape with the vivid descriptions as well as their way of life. They are content until the British showed up. The author made me feel for the Acadians. As life turns I could feel the despair and heartache. While this book doesn't just stay in one place the Canadian wilderness is vast and at times unforgiving.
Both Amelie and Connor are unique, interesting and fully developed characters. Watching the relationship blossom as each struggles with their own personal convictions brought this story to life.
I won't go into detail about what takes place here, having enjoyed the ride myself I would not want to spoil it for anyone else. This book kept me captivated and it's one I highly recommend to those that love their historical fiction with history off the beaten path.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.