Counting things in threes usually calms Dell’s crippling anxiety—the passionflower vine along the shop wall, the jimsonweed by the roadside, the sleeping valley in the distance—until the day her baby daughter goes missing.
1979, Virginia. Growing up amongst the sprawling valleys and forests of Blyth, beautiful young Dell has always had a natural intuition for how to fix other people’s hurts, if not her own. She hopes for a better future, although thanks to her alcoholic father and narcissistic mother, happiness seems far out of her reach. She certainly could never have predicted holding her baby girl for the first time, and the life-changing, powerful love she would feel when she did.
Even as a heartbroken single mother in a small town riddled with gossips, she suddenly feels that she can do this. She can raise her daughter. But when she turns to her own mother for help, her mother convinces her that the child would be better off with another family. With nobody to fight her corner, Dell must watch the local church take the baby away, leaving her alone and completely devastated.
Dell feels there’s nothing left for her in her tiny hometown but heartache and shattered dreams, and so she flees, vowing never to go back. It finally seems like luck is on her side when she finds a small shop for rent, overlooking the peaceful Shenandoah Valley. This quiet corner of paradise feels like the perfect place to heal and use her gift to help others heal, too. Until Dell’s mother tracks her down to tell her that her baby girl is missing.
Dell knows she won’t find out where her child is in the stars or on her palms. Instead, she must do the one thing she promised she never would. She must return to Blyth.
Will what Dell finds there finally heal her fragile heart, or break it into a thousand irreparable pieces?
An unforgettable and heart-wrenching debut about the endurance of love, the power of forgiveness, and finding beauty in the world around us. Your must-read book of 2019.
Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, Kristin Hannah and Kerry Lonsdale.
One of the reasons that I most love book blogging and blog tours is that no two books I’m ever invited to review are the same. When I was invited onto the tour for The Fortune Teller’s Promise I was really excited as I always like reading books that I’ve not got a preconception of before I begin. Discovering new favourite reads can be one of the best things about being a book blogger – e as well as hearing what all my other blogging friends thought too. It’s like a virtual book group where you are waiting every day to see what other people enjoyed about your book…
I was really intrigued to read The Fortune Teller’s Promise as I love novels that deal with family relationships and how different generations interact and the complexities that lurk beneath the surfaces of most families’ lives. As soon as this book arrived, I wanted to open it up and find out how these family members’ lives would unfold and I loved the fact that it was set somewhere that clearly meant a lot to Kelly Heard as she grew up somewhere very very similar. I loved the initial premise of family separation and the idea of returning somewhere from your part to try and resolve your future. I found this book totally engrossing once I’d started: I really wanted to get to the heart of this story and discover what had happened to Dell’s baby and how she would respond to the shocking and unexpected news of her disappearance.
I also enjoyed the way that Kelly Heard’s novel allows us to see the reality of families and the complexity of relationships, rather than just the ‘happy ever after’ that we are so often presented with in fiction and I think that this is one of the things that I enjoyed most about this book. The way that you can feel so connected to and distant from your own roots is exceptionally well-drawn and a testament to her skill as a writer that we really believe in the relationships and interactions with one another in the small-town setting of Blyth. I’m sure that there are many people reading this novel and nodding their heads in recognition at the way this town works and some of its inhabitants.
The way that Kelly Heard builds in the uncertainties about what’s really going on beneath the surface and slowly develops our understanding of what is going on in the heads of these characters is convincingly done and leads to you feeling like you can really start to understand Dell as a character and empathise with the challenging situation she finds herself in and I’m looking forward to hearing what my sister thought of her over a long coffee date as soon as possible.
The scenes where Dell is trying to deal with the ramifications of the disappearance and the impact of this on her emotionally have an incredibly realistic feel and the comparisons with Kristin Hannah are definitely well deserved. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to immerse myself in the intricacies of this world and found it really thought-provoking to think about what I might have done in Dell’s situation and admire her bravery and resilience in the way she dealy with such an impossible situation.
The Fortune Teller’s Promise is a moving and immersive read as it takes a genuine look at what we really mean by ‘family’ It allows us a glance into relationships where peoples’ needs are complex and real and dares us to ask ourselves what we might have lost along the way in our own lives. Its’ setting in Virginia is another aspect that I really enjoyed and it really made me feel like I was able to immerse myself in events where the beauty of the surroundings and the complexities of what is unfolding is deftly juxtaposed.
I always enjoy a book much more if I’m not hyping myself up before I read it and The Fortune Teller’s Promise was exactly that. It was definitely a grower and I found myself thinking about these characters and the repercussions of their choices whilst driving to work and marking my essays at school this week. I will definitely seek out more books by Kely Heard and am keen to keep pushing myself to choose more novels by writers that are new to me in the second half of 2019.
Treat yourself to a copy of The Fortune Teller’s Promise here
One of the things I always do if I’ve loved the setting of a book is to follow it on the fantastic site The Book Trail – Follow the Book Trail here for The Fortune Teller’s Promise
Writer On The Shelf
I’ve written to entertain myself since I learned how to write the alphabet, but sharing my work with others will always feel new to me.
I started writing novels in high school, but finally wrote one I loved enough to query in 2017. That book will release later this year with Bookouture, along with another to follow in 2020.
I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, but currently live outside Richmond with my husband, our daughter, and the worst-natured house cat that has ever lived.
I prefer writing to most other pastimes, but you’ll occasionally find me in the garden, hiking, or exploring thrift shops (the spookier the better).
Twitter is the best way to keep up with me, though I’ll share news on releases here as well.