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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Promises by Ardyce Durham revolves around the lives of two boys, Owen Cartwright and Weston Walker, who are the same age and grow up together. They are not only friends, but also buddies, confidants, companions, and they do everything together. Their fathers, Harmon and Monroe, worked at the local sawmill. The closing of the sawmill in 1857 sees the families moving out of Tennessee and going to Mississippi to start a new life. The boys join the Confederate Army in 1862 and readers get to read about the battles and stories of the soldiers. The author effectively blends the rustic and agricultural life that prevailed during the period between 1840 and 1940, and the difficult and demanding lives that people lived during that time.
Set against the backdrop of Mississippi, this is a book for all those who enjoy historical fiction. The friendship of Wes and Owen, their deep bond, and how their lives were woven together make the story tangible and memorable for readers. The story is poignant in how it speaks about war and death, and brings to life all the soldiers who fought and died during the conflict. The narration is descriptive and detailed, and gives readers the sense of being 'there' with Owen and Wes. The memories and promises shared through the lives of the two friends and their families are heartwarming. The author also uses the dialect from that time to make the connection to the period stronger. It's a well written historical fiction that many readers will find entertaining and compelling.