The Promised World by Lisa Tucker is a very deep novel that is moving, sad, and yet hopeful. Despite all the craziness of my world the last few weeks, when I sat down with this novel I could just feel myself able to get away for a while and lose myself in Lisa Tucker’s story of Lila and her twin brother Billy. There are many issues tackled in this novel ranging from child abuse and its effects to memory loss and its effects. It’s a novel that I found quite good.
Lila, a professor, is sitting in her office at the university when she learns that her twin brother has committed ‘suicide by police’. In other words he put himself in a situation where the police would have no option but to kill him. For Lila, this is the end of life as she has known it. She is completely devastated to the point where she can no longer function. She and Billy shared a special bond that went even beyond the bond of twins. They experienced a childhood that left them with each other and only each other to rely on.
Lila’s husband Patrick is at a loss as to what he can do for her. Unfortunately Lila and Patrick, although married for many years, have never really shared anything from their past lives. In truth, he knows nothing about his wife except the small things she has told him. When Lila ends up in the hospital and Patrick is being questioned about his wife’s past he realizes that he never really made an effort to know anything. He had liked that neither he or Lila dragged their past lives into their marriage. However, now he realizes how important it was that he should have tried to learn more about her and Billy as he had often thought that they had a strange relationship even for twins.
Before his suicide Billy had already been spiraling downwards. He believed there was a curse on their family which also extended to his own family of his wife and three kids. Billy was a very troubled individual, so troubled that he went as far as to try to teach his son things that actually put him in harm’s way although really in his mind he was trying to protect him. His kids were his world. When they were taken away from him, his life ceased to exist.
The story builds piece by piece to the end when we finally learn what had happened to Lila and Billy in their mother’s house. Their mother was an evil woman who should never have had children. She took young and impressionable children and essentially ruined their lives. Or did she? Yes and no because they did eventually get away although the road to escape was a wild one and they both built lives beyond what had occurred. However, can you ever really get away from a troubled childhood? Most people can’t and it has both a lasting and huge impact on their lives.
Both Lila and Billy are characters that will stick with you. Although Billy dies early in the novel he is still such a huge part of it. I was drawn into their world, their fears, and their deep and painful hurts. Later with Lila learning in bits and pieces of her past life your heart just yearns to comfort her. You will find it hard to put this book down as the desire to know what happened to these kids and how it will all turn out is much too great. The Promised World – for Lila and Billy – is a place to feel safe and be safe – a secret world of their own making.
I read The Promised World for Lisa Tucker’s blog tour with TLC Book Tours so many thanks to Lisa for my copy of the book and having me participate. You can visit Lisa Tucker’s website here and check out the rest of her tour stops here.