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What Was Promised [Kindle Edition]

Tobias Hill
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

London in the aftermath of war: children run wild on East End bombsites, while their elders strive for better lives in a country beggared by victory. Clarence and Bernadette Malcolm have come five thousand miles in search of prosperity, but find the Mother Country not at all as has been promised them; Solly and Dora Lazarus, too, are strangers in a strange land, struggling to belong even as they try to make sense of their past; and Michael and Mary Lockhart take with both hands all that the world owes them, wherever it leads them, whatever the cost. In the street markets and tenements of Bethnal Green the three families live and work together in uneasy harmony, until Michael shatters the balance between them, his hunger for betterment changing the courses of all their lives over decades and generations.

Reaching across forty years and capturing a city and a people in a time of tumultuous change, What Was Promised is a breathtaking novel by a master storyteller.

Product Description


What Was Promised vibrates with the polyphonic sounds of London in the aftermath of the war, carrying the reader through the hopes and needs of ensuing generations. Hill writes with magnificent poise, seducing us through the prism of lives in the book with his buoyant, mischievous prose Nikita Lalwani Beginning after the Second World War and ending 40 years on, this is a portrait of London and its citizens: grubby, thieving, vibrant, drawn from many continents and rendered poetic by Hill's prose Vogue Hill's writing has a stunning economy and control The Times Mr Hill's book has many strengths. First is the depiction of London itself ... Second is the dialogue, such as the louche fashion photographer telling a woman she's a "knockout" ... Third is a male writer's impressive depiction of female experience ... He deserves high praise Economist Hill has created a dazzling and deeply affecting portrait of a city struggling back to prosperity and of the resilience of its people. It is a novel that questions the idea of home, and what it means to belong, and should secure Hill's reputation as one of the outstanding writers of his generation Observer Hill's language is simple enough that its beauties serve character or place rather than interfering with them ... Such is his lightness of touch that it would be easy not to notice how tightly constructed the novel's plot is ... The poet's gifts are matched here by the novelist's: the result is absorbing as well as elegant Sunday Times From the first sentence Tobias Hill commands the reader's attention and we are not released for the rest of the book ... A superb read; its true power lies in Hill's poetic prose ... As Hill shows in the book, life rarely delivers what it promises; this novel, on the other hand, delivers a lot more Sunday Herald Beautifully written and ultimately gripping, as anyone who knows his work would expect Kamila Shamsie, Guardian Summer Review

Book Description

Three decades. Three families. One city. What Was Promised is a beautiful, powerful, multi-layered novel of London and its children, of roots and belonging, and of the collisions that can pull us together and spin us apart

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2191 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (13 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,609 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stunning sens of place..... 10 Aug. 2014
Hill’s latest novel is set in London and spans from the late forties to 1988. It vibrantly describes post-war London as a place of both squalor and opportunity. Three immigrant families (all with links to the local market area) seek to better themselves after the long period of war and rationing. Clarence and Bernadette Malcolm have come from Jamaica; Michael and Mary Lockhart are from Birmingham; Solly and Dora Lazarus are Jewish refugees from Poland. While parents work, children run wild in the bombsites. The families live in uneasy harmony and each has a long-lasting impact on the others.

I very much enjoyed reading this novel but felt somewhat unsatisfied at the end. I would have preferred some more definite facts about some of the characters and events. Some plot lines were left a bit too vague.

Tobias Hill has created some wonderful characters and his sense of place is stunning. As we have come to expect his writing is lovely – there are some very powerful descriptions of events.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 22 April 2014
I really loved this book - I thought the characters were beautifully written and, as a result, I really cared about what happened to each of them. But unlike some literary fiction, it also has a really great plot, which pulled me along and meant that I read it pretty much constantly over the course of two days. I know the area of London in which it's set fairly well also and it was fascinating reading about how it has changed since WW2. Highly recommended - loved it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A love poem to London. 27 April 2014
By Amanya
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thought this was a beautiful book. It did take me a while to get into it, as I found the fairly rapid shifting from one character's viewpoint to another at the start of the book meant I didn't immediately connect with them. But towards the end of the first section I was completely in love with it . London is wonderfully evoked (and not just the area around Columbia road), the characters were memorable (even the ones I didn't especially like, such as Michael, have stayed with me), the plot is masterful. I have read and enjoyed other books by tobias hill before, and while I have always loved his powers of description and formidable ability to evoke mood and place, I have sometimes found the pace and characters a little hard to connect with. This is without a doubt the best thing he has written. An good novel for anyone who loves London, and enjoys very high quality prose.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Book of the year! 29 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel, a birthday gift from my daughter, was the first I have read by the author.
The location is very much London based. The plot concerns the trials and tribulations of life in the East End, post World War 2. The families and characters are wonderfully drawn,with their interwoven stories, as we follow them through the ensuing decades.
This is very much not a book to gallop through. The writing is superb and every page is one to savour.
For me, it has a surefire 5 star rating, and a strong recommendation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 1 April 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great thank you
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