An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war - from the best-selling author of Tides of Honour.
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.
I have loved every book I've ever read by Genevieve Graham and was so excited to hear one of her books on audio.
Promises To Keep is set in Nova Scotia in the 1750's, during the war between the British and the French. This author is consistently great with relationships in all of her stories, and one example of that here is the friendship between Amelie's friendly, peaceful community and the neighboring Mi'kmaq people. The author is also especially wonderful at laying out her settings. In this case, I feel like I was able to visualize this part of Canada during this time period pretty easily, which is important because the land is key to the events in the story. I love this story and my print copy is going onto my rereads shelf.
This audiobook is made great by its narrator: Alexis Quednau. The narrator is French Canadian; being able to listen to her read the book authentically was delightful because I love when accents are true. I love the way Ms. Quednau pronounced the names of the characters and places in the setting just as the locals would have. She also pronounced the Mi'kmaq words and names correctly, which was wonderful. I am from Eastern North Carolina and do not speak French nor with an accent like this narrator's, so hearing the words spoken accurately added so much enjoyment to my reading experience.
Each time I settled in to listen, I found that after only a few minutes, I fell easily into the story and imagined that it was main character Amelie speaking directly to me. That is what I want when I'm listening to a book: connection directly with the characters. I felt the connection especially in several instances where emotions were heightened, whether the scene was a little on the sad side or when the action was heightened a few times. There were also times when Amelie was alone with her thoughts, and I felt particularly connected with her through the narration.
This is a wonderful story, not only of the alliance between Amelie and the reluctant British officer Connor MacDonnell, but of the resilience of the French Canadian people and the Mi'kmaq, and of the strength of community. I'm looking forward to listening to this one again in the future.