Lucy Tan: What We Were Promised



About the Author:

Lucy Tan grew up in New Jersey and divides her time between New York and Shanghai.  She graduated from New York University and earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her work has been published in Asia Literary Review and Ploughshares where she won the 2015 Emerging Writer’s Contest.  What We Were Promised is her first novel and has been designated as a Barnes & Novel Discover Great New Writer Selection, Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer, and one of Huffington Post’s 60 Most Anticipated Reads of 2018.

Bookmarks has selected What We Were Promised as their Bookmarks First Editions pick for July.

AboutWhat We Were Promised:

There is a cross-section of characters in What We Were Promisedthat cover an array of archetypes – from the child of Asian parents who identifies most closely with America, the career-driven husband, the wife seeking contentment, the village girl who works in the city and sends money back home, and the rebellious brother who left home but now wants to re-establish a family relationship.  Character development is well presented in this novel.  The back-story is interwoven throughout the novel to further explain the family and relationship dynamics, especially when Wei, Lina, and Qiang were young.

As an observer of the family she works for, Sunny views their drama from a somewhat dispassionate point of view.  While they work through their family situation, Sunny has her own issues.  As a widow who works first as a housekeeper for the expat apartment complex, then as an ayi for the Zhen family, she strives to find balance between cultural expectations and her own personal wishes.

Readers may identify with one or more of the characters as they deal with historic cultural norms and modern reality.

Where to find What We Were Promised:

What We Were Promised will be released on July 10, 2018 wherever books are sold in hardcover, soft cover, electronic, and audio formats.  Readers can pre-order copies via Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, indiebound.org, and ibooks. Follow the social media campaign for the book on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.  Look for future novels from this up-and-coming author.


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