Published by Simon & Schuster on April 4, 2017
Source: the author
Narrator: Alexis Quednau
Length: 8 hours, 16 minutes
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An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling 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 received this audiobook for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the audiobook or the narrator, nor the content of my review. Thank you, Genevieve Graham!
I love all of the stories that I have ever read by Genevieve Graham. When I was given the opportunity to listen to and review the Promises To Keep audiobook , I was ecstatic. I almost always find that listening to a book adds to my enjoyment of the story. I couldn’t wait to get started.
In the 1750’s, Amélie Belliveau’s family and her Acadian community live closely with the Mi’kmaq people in a quiet, peaceful area in Nova Scotia. The British and the French are at war, and the Acadians do not want to take sides. It isn’t long before the British come calling, asking for the Acadians to pledge their allegience. When they refuse, the British confiscate their weapons, their homes, and eventually their lands. The Acadian families are separated and put aboard ships, to be sent away from the lands that they love. Little do the British realize that one of their officers – Corporal Connor MacDonnell – is not exactly sympathetic to the British cause. He doesn’t feel the Acadians are being treated fairly. Plus, he is falling for the young and lovely Amélie Belliveau.
Amélie is gentle, sweet, and kind. But she is also fiesty and independent. Her father has taught her well: to stand up for herself and what is right. When the Acadians are treated unfairly, Amélie uses what she has learned from her father to make a plan to outsmart the British. With the help of Connor, the Acadians have a chance at making it. But the British won’t let them get away easily – and any help that Connor gives makes him a traitor to the British military.
I thought, based on this cover (which is amazing), that this would be a straight-up historical fiction that leans heavily on the romance. And while there is a light romance that brews between Connor and Amélie, it did not overshadow the larger part of the story, which featured the conflict between the British and the Acadians. I enjoyed the sweet romance, but I think I appreciated reading about this conflict even more because I learned so much about this event in Canadian history. I spent time looking up the background behind this story and the area and was fascinated with what I was reading. In particular, I loved the space that the Mi’kmaq occupied on the pages/on the audiobook, and I was pleased to see the amicable relationship that their group had with the Acadians. At the end of the story, I found that I still craved more from the Mi’kmaq, but I was happy for the page time that and the scenes that they had.
This story had great characterization and a lush, vibrant setting that was easy for me to visualize as I was listening to this audiobook. I feel like I know these characters pretty well after this story – especially Amélie and her father, Charles. My favorite thing about the book, probably, is the setting. Since I’m not very familiar with this area of Canada (in real life), I very much enjoyed listening to the descriptions of the Acadians’ land and the nearby waters. I also loved referring to the map in my print copy of the book and looking at the real-life Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia online so I could check out the area for myself.
I spent a lot of time on this story, absorbing it all. I fell in love with these characters and truly felt like I lived this experience along with them. I am excited to say that my print copy of Promises To Keep is now on my rereads shelf and that I wouldn’t hesitate to pull it down for rereads. The same applies to the audiobook-I would relisten to the audio in a heartbeat.
The Promises To Keep 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 Amélie speaking directly to me. That is what I want when I’m listening to a book: connection directly with the characters. I especially felt that connection in several scenes where emotions were heightened, whether the scene was a little on the sad side or when the action was more intense. There were also times when Amélie was alone with her thoughts, and I felt particularly connected with her through the narration.