If you are looking for wholesome historical fiction story that could be enjoyed by the entire family, I can say that I surprisingly found “The Preacher’s Promise” to be a well-written and encompassing story set during a time of great difficulty and struggles. However, the author weaves in elements of light-hearted humor making the characters feel alive and hopeful for their futures. The story is written by Piper Huguley, who is a newer author to Audible, and it is wonderfully narrated by Shamaan Casey. As I stated when I reviewed the prequel to this story, the romance genre is not one of my preferred styles. Yet, I found the storytelling both engaging and compelling enough that I wanted to listen from start to finish, and I was glad I did. For those just starting out with this audiobook, note it is the first audiobook in a series, and I’m not sure how many books are planned by the author. As I listened and took notes, the word wholesome kept coming back, and if this is your type of story, romance or not, I can highly recommend you give this one a listen.
To understand the difficulty of living, or just surviving, for all people during the time of the United States Civil War, imagine how much more difficult it would have been for a black person and even more a black woman. Take a newly educated black woman from the North and drop her in the middle of the South (Georgia) in a small town on a large plantation and you have quite a tale. Yet, adding to the mystery, Amanda before leaving, uncovers some previous correspondence between her deceased farther and the plantation owner which comes to fully bloom as the story progresses. Once planted in her new location, she naively thinks she will be welcomed with open arms along with her thoughts and beliefs learned in the North. All of this could not be farther from the truth, and Amanda needs to be taught just how things happen in the South. The teacher often becomes the pupil on the way of the South. Is she willing to learn or will she push back?
She is quickly wed to the mayor and blacksmith of this small town which was a requirement of the plantation owner for her to stay and teach. The audiobook has quite a bit of redemption aspects that made me want to better understand the characters. These two people, newly wed to one another, whose personalities could not be farther apart had to come together to overcome the many struggles of life while also being black in a time where slavery was still ramet. They often fought one another because each had very strong opinions. Yet, as the story progressed, each found that they could not only learn from the other, but their love between them grew as well. I often found myself laughing at the thoughts and actions of the other when it was clear each cared about the other deeply. One can say that there were plenty of awkward moments in the book, but these were often the more memorable times as well.
I found the storytelling to be uplifting and the setting of the scenes exceptionally well done. It was almost as if I was there in person, or watching a Hallmark movie; admittedly, not that I have much experience with these. It is rare that someone can keep me engaged with a genre that I’m not a fan of, so I can say this was very written. It is also harder and harder to find a tale that does not come with an agenda, or something being pushed on the listener. This story was just that a well told story of two people and their struggles.
For the audiobook’s narration, all I can say is that I find Mr. Casey’s voice to be easy to listen to and pleasantly deep. This is a wonderful story fitting of his expert narration skills as I could easily imagine Virgil and the many other characters from his voice. When listening to Mr. Casey’s voice I often think of someone telling a tale around a campfire late at night. He has a great storytelling voice while the book was written for just this type of narration. The audio itself was clean and clear of any audio artifacts or other issues. The recording sounded professional, and I look forward to future audiobook by this narrator.
For parents and younger listeners, even though this audiobook is a historic romance, it is really a wholesome and clean story that could be enjoyed by most. There was not a focus on the romance or mature matters, but older listeners will understand these parts of the story more than a younger reader will. No use of profane language or other adult material I can recall.
In summary, if you are looking for a clean historic tale set during very difficult times, I think you have found your next listen. I’m not sure where the author will go in future books in the series, but it is very open ended and able to follow many paths. The narration was super with no noticeable issues. I know I have used the word many times during this review, but the story is wholesome in a time where such audiobooks are becoming more obscure. I would recommend giving it a listen.