About the Book
Book: A Promise to Break
Author: Kathryn Spurgeon
Genre: Christian Historical
July 11, 2016
SIBYL TRIMBLE, the daughter of a wealthy banking family during the Great Depression in Shawnee, Oklahoma, promises her father to be part of a political movement to change the world. By 1932, the timing to fulfill that promise seems right. Her life consists of fashionable clothes, cruising in a Model T, and dancing every weekend at the local speakeasy.
FREMONT POPE is a handsome, blue-eyed, down-on-his-luck hobo, and Sibyl’s life turns upside down when she meets him. Her love for him and his Christian family opens her eyes to a different way of life than she has ever known.
Based on a true story, this historical novel follows Sibyl through some difficult choices. She must dig deep within herself to find strength to face her father and determine which, if any, of her past beliefs can be salvaged. What is more important, love or duty?
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About the Author
A Christian writer, Biblical counselor, teacher and speaker who offers insight, the author loves connecting to people individually and through retreats and conferences.
Kathryn’s mission is to teach that the passion of godly love knows no boundaries. Whether with prisoners, international students or those needing assistance, her platform strategy is the concept of personal, intimate encounters with Jesus. Her historical novel, “Up Town,” shows the importance of spiritual encounters with Jesus—small encounters that lead to a more mature spiritual life. Kathryn’s Biblical counseling and teaching background lends itself to this message.
She lived in South Korea for two years in her early twenties, spent time in an orphanage and adopted two Korean babies. A single mom for 18 years, she went from welfare to owner and CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation, Integrity Healthy Care. Her company took care of the medical needs of over 4,000 prisoners and during that time she counseled over 200 women.
Kathryn and her husband, Bill, hold Bible studies for international students attending the University of Central Oklahoma. They have had many different students live in their home and try to help students in all areas of their lives.
Kathryn is on the Mission Team at her home church, Henderson Hills Baptist Church, in Edmond, Oklahoma, where she has been a member for over 13 years. While attending her prior church, Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma, she was on the Finance and Long Range Planning Committees, and taught DivorceCare and Financial classes. She is a Crown Money Map coach.
Bill and Kathryn have six children and nine grandchildren at the last count, including some adopted. Their family is internationally diverse. God’s love is enormous and includes all of us.
More from Kathryn
Have you ever wished to go back in time and question a relative who is no longer around? Ask what motivated her, discuss her greatest heartaches and how she overcame them, analyze her spiritual journey?
My grandmother’s life was full of upheavals and I wish I could have spent more time with her and studied her thought-processes. My mother did spend more time with her. With a clear mind of that time, Mom (and many others) enthusiastically shared memories and discussed the lessons the once wealthy Sibyl Trimble may have gathered in life.
What a trip it has been! Autobiographies. Publications. Notes in attic boxes containing information about secret love affairs and heart-breaking losses told with spiritual honesty. The more information I uncovered, the more I wanted to get to know Sibyl Trimble, the person. I wanted to know how God worked in her life. I wanted to write her story.
The nostalgic era of the 1930s came alive to me as I travelled to places of lively, boogie-woogie music, old handwritten documents, and tombstones. The amazing, booming town of Shawnee, Oklahoma, was the perfect setting for a Great Depression tale. Some people moved to California during that time. Others stayed in Shawnee. In contrast to “The Grapes of Wrath,” this book relates the experiences of some who remained during one of the worst times in U.S. history. They stayed and thrived.
This book is not a recount of simple facts but examines the essence of a brilliant woman who traversed through life, maneuvering the hardships along with the blessings. I uncovered anecdotes, read newspaper articles, and confirmed family lore that had been passed down through generations.
Many readers agree Sibyl could have been their grandmother, their heritage, and after reading this book series, they will know Sibyl almost as well as I do.
This story is an intimate look at a searching individual during the wistful days of a long-gone era. I expect, after you read “A Promise to Break,” you’ll agree that Sibyl Trimble’s story needed to be told.
The 1930s is not a time period with which I am very well acquainted. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but I haven’t read many books set during this decade. The fact that Kathryn Spurgeon’s “A Promise to Break” is based on a true story enhanced my appreciation for this book, and because it is written in the first person, it truly felt like stepping back almost 90 years into the past. Something that struck me almost immediately was how much things have actually remained the same. Issues that our society and our country is now contending with may seem new, but in reality they are longstanding. Sybil Trimble’s father is an advocate for Socialism, and yet as a well-to-do bank auditor, he is more inclined to talk and not to action. He is not willing to sacrifice anything himself but thinks that he has all of the answers to society’s ills. As Sybil remarks, “Papa, not God, decided what was right or wrong for our family. And right and wrong always depended on his mood that particular day.”
As the oldest child and her father’s protégé, Sybil follows a path already set forth for her. It is not until she meets Fremont, a poor young man and a hobo, that she begins to see beyond the close confines of her sheltered life. Spurgeon does well in demonstrating the conflict within Sybil as her upbringing collides with Fremont’s worldview. Up until this point, she has lived under her father’s thumb, and her goal in life is to please him: “I would do anything to make Papa proud. Anything… I promised I would help Papa change the world. I could never break that promise—Papa was my hero.” As her eyes begin to open to the world outside of her own comfortable home, she finds herself questioning her future and what she truly believes. Sybil’s spiritual journey likewise progresses, and her questions and doubts are very credible coming from someone of her upbringing and class. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 9:24, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When we have everything we need to live securely, it is easy to rely upon ourselves and forget that the Lord is the one who blesses us and provides for us. The journey to accepting and trusting God may be filled with bumps and detours, as is Sybil’s, but what a spectacular treasure awaits for the heart of the faithful!
Anyone who enjoys reading historical memoirs and books about the 1930s, the disparity between rich and poor, and flawed but endearing and sympathetic characters will appreciate Kathryn Spurgeon’s debut, “A Promise to Break.” There were some grammatical errors throughout, but none of them detracted from the story itself, which contains an appealing mixture of faith, family, heartache, and triumph.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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To celebrate her tour, Kathryn is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.