by Jean P. Moore
Length: 272 Pages
Release date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: She Writes Press
Amidst all the characters in this moving novel of loss, love, and renewal, the two who grieve hardest have the most to discover. Tilda Carr has lost the love of her life―her husband, Harold―after forty years of marriage, while her granddaughter and namesake, Tilly, has lost her grandfather and best friend. Together they will embark on a journey of discovery in this intergenerational story of friends, family, and lovers―and learn that there is always hope for new beginnings.
My thanks to Booksparks for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Tilda’s Promise places a strong emphasis on culture and family ties. Of particular importance is the family’s Jewish heritage, especially for Tilda’s granddaughter, Tilly, who views it as her link to her recently deceased grandfather. References to Jewish culture, history, and traditions are peppered throughout the novel.
My main gripe with novel has to do with the pacing, which felt somewhat slow at times. I think this was partially due to the presence of some things which I don’t feel added much of value to the story. For example, Tilda somewhat frequently mulls over news stories which she has heard about lately. I think the author was attempting to make the novel feel grounded in the real world by doing this, but the various mentions of current events tended to feel forced. There are several side plots happening; in addition to the loss of her spouse, Tilda is struggling with problems in her neighbors’ lives, her granddaughter’s struggles and sudden emotional distance, and determining whether she is ready for a new romantic partner. Taken all together, it began to feel a little unfocused at times.
While Tilda is the main character, there are infrequent switches to Tilly’s point of view. These worked really well, as Tilly is somewhat of a mystery to her grandmother in a lot of ways. These peeks into Tilly’s thoughts call into focus the generational gap. These alternating perspectives allow the readers to connect to characters in two very different stages of life as they process the same death. Most readers should be able to relate to one or both of their perspectives.
Tilly’s perpsective within the novel means that the reader is treated to a mini coming of age story within the larger narrative of Tilda’s adjustment to losing her husband. There is a strange sort of similarity in what both characters are facing. Tilda has lost her life partner, and with him a sense of stability. Tilly has lost a close family member for the first time just as she is on the cusp of adolescence; the sudden pain of lost love has shaken her deeply. Tilda and Tilly are both grappling in their own ways with grief and the fear of loving and losing again; how do you find the courage to let someone in when the pain of losing someone dear is so fresh in your mind?
Tilda’s Promise is a remarkably hopeful story about learning to move on after a loss that turns your world upside-down. It’s about the need for human connection and the courage that’s needed to allow yourself to love.
Thank you for reading! What inter-generational stories have you read? Discuss your favorite in the comments!