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Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Preacher's Promise by Piper Huguley

The Preacher's Promise is a very sweet story that takes place following the Civil War. During this time African Americans in the South are finding themselves with new freedoms and opportunities that they have never had before; however, they are still living under the prejudice of the South. This is the case in the town of Milford. The town has sent a missive to the North requesting a teacher (their first) for the new school house that is being built. Unbeknownst to them, the man who they've reached out to has recently passed away and his daughter Amanda, who is college educated herself , has decided to answer the call. She is in a bad situation as
she believes that her father's law partner has stolen her father's money, which is rightfully hers. In addition, he's hinting that she should give herself to him as a way to end her financial woes. For Amanda the school teacher offer seems to be a sign from God. The mayor and preacher of the town of Milford is a single father named Virgil. He isn't happy to see a woman instead of the man that he had expected. He believes that the beautiful woman can only mean trouble and is anxious to send Amanda back to where she came from. The owner of the plantation that had once enslaved the people of Milford is Mrs. Milford. She is an old sickly woman who still holds significant power in the town. She has a strained relationship with Virgil due to occurrences in the past regarding Virgil's late wife. Mrs. Milford says Amanda needs to leave for proprieties sake, unless she agrees to marrying Virgil. With no other path to take, Amanda decides to do just that. But Virgil isn't an easy man to live with and their growing love for one another is tested by secrets and omissions. In addition, when the neighboring white town discovers that the Milford's children are being taught when the white children are not, trouble begins to brew.

I liked both Amanda and Virgil. They were very much people of their time and products of their circumstances and environments. Amanda has always been free in the North and is a very intelligent woman. She knows nothing of the ways of the South and is headstrong, sometimes in a reckless way. She wants to teach the children and any adults who want to learn, but she also wants to be a good and proper wife to Virgil, the mayor/preacher. Virgil is a simple God-fearing man and is a bit difficult to deal with. He hadn't wanted a wife, but is quick to see all that Amanda has to offer both himself and his daughter. He has secrets that he fears will make Amanda think less of him and he secretly feels he isn't the right man to be mayor. He distrusts Mrs. Milfred and fears for his daughters future. Virgil stands in his own way a lot of the time, and although this frustrated me about his character, I forgave him considering the time period and his position of town preacher. I completely disagreed with his response to the threats made by the white men regarding the school, however, I understood it after awhile. In this situation I felt Amanda acted childishly, but it wasn't without purpose and it helped to move the story of her father's money along. Virgil's daughter was sweet and I was happy that she had Amanda in her life considering what was bound to be a very strict and potentially unhappy upbringing if left in the care of her father who was very strict on his own.

Overall I really liked this book. The story, although not over-the-top or overly exciting, steadily held my interest and left me wanting to know more about what is in store for the little town of Milford. This period in history fascinates me because of the will and determination that African-Americans at the time possessed. We know what amazing hardships they faced, but they were determined to learn and carve out a life that included towns and businesses. Although life was not perfect in Milford there was hope and the beginnings of a better future. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, including the prequel. Readers should note that this book does not contain a great deal of sex. True I would have liked a little more intimacy or heated moments between our main characters, but it didn't kill the book for me by any means. It is very much a "fade to black" kind of story that doesn't really even get that far. This isn't about sex at all. If that disappoints you - try the book anyway. It's a heck of a good book without all of that. If you can't live without a little bump and grind in what you're reading then I guess this one really won't make you happy and maybe you should pass. I'm very sorry about that though, you're about to miss a good, but sweet story... I recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical romance.featuring African-American main characters, and authors such as Beverly Jenkins.
I give The Preacher's Promise a 4.5 out of 5 rating
*A Copy of this book was given to me to in exchange for an honest review*

Published:July 27, 2014
Price: $3.99

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