Find a Christian store
Book Image

Secret Promise

By Mary Lou Cheatham


Caroline is in hiding. She knows that lying in her bed seems too dangerous. If the wind blows, the curtains will fly open. Anyone passing in the yard will see her. She pulls the bed sheets and quilt onto the floor to make a pallet. Then she snuffs out the candle and finds her way to her makeshift resting place. Caroline prays for God's protection as she lies holding her pistol. Soon the morning will come, but the sky is still dark. Clump-clump. Clump-clump. It isn't the milkman; the horses and the wagon sound different. The wagon pulls into the back driveway, and a man's thudding steps come closer, closer, and closer. He pushes against her door. Stuck-this door is stuck. How will Caroline escape? * * * She watches the front room through the crack by the kitchen door. She feels a strong attraction to the handsome young man. Years ago she made a promise, which she will honor at any cost, even if she has to live a Cinderella life.

Book Takeaway:

As we dream of the romance of our past, let us not forget our legacy of inadequate schools, racial tension, domestic abuse, and old-fashioned snobbery. May we rise above our history.

Why the author wrote this book:

A bridge on The Old Road to Taylorsville inspired me. When I was a child, our school bus driver used to take that road. The beavers would build a dam and cause water to flood the bridge. We would be forced to take a detour until the county broke the dam and repaired the bridge.

Also, I have a funny memory of finding a certain relative sitting on that bridge with her boyfriend in his pea-green Chevrolet. I wonder whether any of my friends from Taylorsville, Mississippi, ever sat on the bridge on The Old Road with their dates just to study the beavers in the creek.

The South of the early 1900’s—the time when people from one side of town were not supposed to sit at the table with people from another part of town called “The Quarters” . . . unless no one was looking . . . left an indelible stain on the tablet of compassion in my mind. The cruel customs of the reconstructed South differed little from the Mississippi I knew in the 1950’s.

I knew women like Rachel, the cook for Hortense Clemons, Caroline’s stepmother. Rachel, Caroline’s true mother and best friend, passed through life with her dreams for her grandchildren deferred.

I think about my family’s involvement in politics and the way we grew up with maternal admonitions not to air the family laundry before hostile eyes.

When I was a child, I read and reread Cinderella until my book fell apart. Such a great story—such a perfect plot, the starting point for a novel. As a teenager, I spent weeks each summer in Jackson. I can see the streets in Secret Promise. As I wrote this novel, the entire book flashed in front of me.

Imbedded in my mind’s camera are pictures of the little town where I went to school, visited friends, shopped, and saw Saturday movies. The house, store, and hotel will always be vivid snapshots, a blink away from vision. I simply turned back the clock a few years. My parents told me stories of their childhood and the way things were back then.

For all these reasons and a dozen more, I wrote Secret Promise.


No reviews have been posted.

Write a Review

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.