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The Promised World: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, August 3, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Engrossing and suspenseful, Tucker's remarkable fourth novel (after The Cure for Modern Life) unveils the motives behind the curious behavior and superfluous lies of unusually close-knit fraternal twins. Brilliant but mercurial Billy Cole, estranged from his wife, Ashley, commits suicide after losing visitation rights to his children. After Billy's death, his fragile twin, Lila, immediately begins to break down, recalling bizarre incidents and feeling overwhelmed by dread. Once her husband, Patrick, who always prized reason over emotion, hears from Ashley that the twins lied about their parents being dead, he connects with Lila's mother, Barbara, and gets a very different picture of the twins' past. By rotating points of view between Lila, Patrick, Billy and Ashley, Tucker fleshes out the story, leaving readers understanding how both guileless and malevolent actions can be misconstrued. The strong, plausible narrative threatens to lapse into melodrama at the end but Tucker's easy hand with characters and persuasive human trauma saves the day for this satisfying, imminently readable novel. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Tucker is a riveting storyteller whose book brims with a cathartic intelligence about the dark side of families and how we survive." -- People

"Engrossing and suspenseful, Tucker's remarkable fourth novel unveils the motives behind the curious behavior and superfluous lies of unusually close-knit fraternal twins...[a] satisfying, imminently readable novel." -- Publishers Weekly

"A compulsively readable story...nothing is as it appears in this suspenseful, well-crafted look at truth and betrayal...a haunting, harrowing story." -- Library Journal

"A masterfully told story that delves deep into the human psyche and examines the frailty of the human mind after a tragedy and the powerful, lifelong impact of childhood memories." -- Booklist

"Tucker excels at telling unexpected stories. In The Promised World, she hands the reader a solid marriage that is torn by tragedy...when the story's underlying turns are revealed, and everything comes together, it makes terrific sense." -- The Denver Post

"A compelling must-read novel that is part mystery, part family drama, and wholly satisfying." -- Deseret News

"The Promised World is a book that will appeal both to readers of literary fiction and those who enjoy psychological suspense. It's one of the standout novels of the year." -- The Chicago Sun-Times

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; 1 Reprint edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416575391
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,076,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Tucker is the author of six novels: The Song Reader, Shout Down the Moon, Once Upon a Day, The Cure for Modern Life, The Promised World, and The Winters in Bloom. Lisa grew up in Missouri. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she went on to receive master's degrees in English and mathematics and was awarded fellowships in both fields. She has taught creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania, the Taos Writers' Conference and UCLA. Her short work has appeared in The New York Times, Seventeen, The Oxford American, and NPR's "Three Books." She currently lives in Philadelphia.

Customer Reviews

Tucker amazingly weaves the lives of her characters to create novels that are irresistible.
Crystal Richards
There were far too many loose ends that were never resolved but luckily I didn't care enough about the characters to be bothered too much.
This just wasn't working for me, and when I start dreading picking up a book, it is time to stop reading!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Anderson VINE VOICE on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was hard to put down. The Promised World is a life that Lily and her twin brother Billy live in. A world of stories, plots, memory lapse and many lies. Lily is a Professor of American Literature and loves to read. Billy never made it through college, married young and had three children. Lily has been married 12 years but has no childen.

When Billy is accidently killed in what is presumed a suicide, Lily goes into a deep depression in a world that she remembers only Billy and what he told her happened in her life. She has no memory of her childhood other than what Billy has told her.

This is the story of how Lily tries to save Billy's children from what she thinks is abuse from their mother and her boyfriend. It is also the story of Patrick, Lily's husband and his attempts to understand his mentally impaired wife. There is much for Lily to remember about her past and she suffers through this painfully. I suffered with her as she re-lives the abuse of her childhood and begins to learn her life has been built on lies.

Very good book. I couldn't put it down.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Heather O'Roark on October 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I only had to read one review of The Promised World to know that I would like this book. I requested it from my library immediately, and as soon as I took it home, I dove right in. I had to use all of my willpower not to finish the novel that same day - it captivated me from the start.

The book starts out with Lila learning that her twin brother, Billy, has just died - he's committed "suicide by police". Since Billy is hands-down the most important person in her life, she predictably falls to pieces. But Lila is not the only person who was affected by Billy's death - he left behind a (soon to be ex-) wife and three young children, who are also obviously shaken with Billy's death. And in the aftermath of his death, Lila begins to question everything she thought she knew about her brother, about her past, and about her own memories.

The Promised World is a pretty awesome novel. Just as I expected, I loved the book and couldn't put it down. Let me first tell you that the novel is told from multiple perspectives - something I love when it's done well, and Lisa Tucker definitely does it well here. The story is told by Lila, her husband Patrick, Ashley (Billy's wife), and William (Billy's ten-year-old son). Hearing from all these different characters really gives the reader a true feel for who Billy was, since each person had such a different relationship with him than the others. It also helped to see the characters for what they really were - Lila, for example, seemed okay when she was narrating, but from any other characters' perspective, it was clear that she was not handling Billy's death well, that she was being completely self-absorbed and wasn't thinking of anything but her own grief.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl VINE VOICE on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a very abosorbing psychological thriller involving a twin brother and sister, now grown up. Lila is a professor of English, married to Patrick. Billy, although a "genius",works in construction, is married to Ashley and has three kids. Strange things begin to happen within the first 50 pages. Nothing is what it seems. Lila and Billy are exceptionally close. Lila mentions that Billy has forged their parents' death certificates. Why? How? It comes out that the twins had a stepfather who hurt them in some way. What happened to their real father? Billy suddenly commits suicide in a way that puts him on the national news. Lila begins to have memory problems and can't distinguish actual memories from dreams. Patrick, thinking she's depressed over her brother's death, starts digging into the past, one of the worst mistakes he could have made. Ashley refuses to let them see the kids. This sets the scene. It takes to the end of the book to find out what is real and what is fantasy, who is good and who is evil, who is telling the truth and who is lying. Chess is the family game, with its strategies matching the mind games played. The destruction stretches out over three generations of the Cole family, which Billy always referred to as "cursed." Hurtling toward a nail-biting ending, you won't put this book down. Great combination of suspense and family novel. One of the best of the good Vine books I've read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Novel Bookworm on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's very hard to sum up Lisa Tucker's new novel, The Promised World. It's a complex book, nuanced and empathetic. It's a book that shows that every story can have more than one perspective, and that what we view through the prism of our own experiences, is often viewed much differently by others. What we think of as intimacy may really just be the veneer of intimacy; a thin hard shell that we use to protect ourselves from getting to close. What we think of as betrayal may be deeper and harsher than even we comprehended, or it may merely be the act of someone who loves us and wants to spare us. And mostly, that what we think is innocence, may really be ignorance. The novel shows us all that mistakes can be made, with the best of intentions, which are difficult and painful to rectify. But it also shows that these solutions, albeit painful, ultimately bring people closer together, and show us all what loyalty and love can do.

As usual Lisa Tucker didn't disappoint me with this novel. As with The Song Reader, her characters are finely drawn, with multi-faceted personalities. Tucker is able to show us these complex characters in a very life-like way, not as plot driven people, but as real people. The antagonist in the story, Lila's mother, is the quintessential "Mommy Dearest" and frankly makes Joan Crawford's mother look positively saint-like. Lila's husband, Patrick, has almost as much emotional baggage as Lila, and they're perfect for each other because they have so studiously ignore anything painful in their pasts for years. Bobby's estranged wife, who starts out as a shallow, narrow-minded trashy type woman, is shown from all perspectives, and her behavior becomes more human and more easily understood and defined. In short, her characters are human, they're you, and me, and people we know, and that is what makes the story work so well. The Promised World was a really lovely novel, one I'll think about for quite some time.
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