Advanced Praise

The Grand Promise is more than a gripping debut from a writer of grand promise. Anderson has given us a poignant exploration of the costs and benefits of progress that is at once hopeful and redemptive. A great addition to the northwest canon.”

Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here and Small World 

Rebekah Anderson’s wonderful debut novel The Grand Promise is a roiling, remarkably ambitious saga exploring the lives of a complex array of characters forever altered by the construction of the largest dam in North America—the Grand Coulee on the Columbia River. Deeply researched, the book evokes with remarkable specificity these ordinary and extraordinary people living in rural Washington in the late 1930s, as they’re pushed and pulled by this outrageously ambitious project, their lives swept up and overturned by the forces of history.”

 — Peter Mountford, author of A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism and The Dismal Science

Rebekah Anderson imagines the repercussions of building the Grand Coulee Dam for riverside communities riven by prejudice, need and hope. To make it through The Great Depression, her characters destroy, scavenge and rebuild to salvage their homes and self-images. A most American story of survival and self advancement in the name of questionable progress, The Grand Promise posits questions about prosperity whose answers are playing out in real time. Amidst shanty towns of a Pacific Northwest more akin to modern times than most people want to believe, each generation raises the stakes for the next.”

 — Kristen Millares Young, author of Subduction and Good Mother

One of the dominant stories of the American west during the first half of the 20th century was the story of water. Rebekah Anderson’s riveting debut, The Grand Promise, perfectly captures the crackling energy of that time, delivering the gravity and complexity of the building of the Grand Coulee dam, telling a story both intimate and epic, and revealing the beating heart of those who benefitted and were harmed by the project. Informative yet compelling, educational but deeply moving, this fantastic novel represents the best of what historical fiction can do.”

Alan Heathcock, author of VOLT and 40

In her engrossing debut novel, The Grand Promise, Rebekah Anderson deftly weaves an intimate family story of conflict and redemption into a sweeping historical narrative bringing to life one of the most important stories of the 20th Century American West–the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.”

Shawn Vestal, author of Daredevils and Godforsaken Idaho

In The Grand Promise, Rebekah Anderson deftly reveals the individual and community conflicts a grand infrastructure project forces onto a close-knit rural community, and the ways in which progress cuts a divide between those bent on preserving history and those eager to write the future. At a time when America sits at a cultural crossroads, the novel serves as a reminder that so much of the territory we occupy is underwritten by these conflicts and divides and that we all carry them within us because they’re a vital, visceral part of our ancestry and our American history.”

Jane Hodges, Rent Vs. Own

The Grand Promise is a gorgeously written account of a part of America that literature often overlooks. With rich descriptions and complex characters, Rebekah Anderson offers a much-needed view of Columbia River towns during the Great Depression. In the tradition of classical working-class writers such as Sinclair and Steinbeck, but with a fresh contemporary voice and an eye toward inclusivity, Anderson fairly and carefully portrays the stories of workers and the Native Americans whose lifestyles—and dignity—are threatened by poverty, progress, and imminent domain. This powerful debut is certain to be a welcomed addition to regional fiction.”

DeMisty D. Bellinger, author of Peculiar Heritage and New to Liberty

In these harsh times of extreme political tribalism, it takes true courage to tell a story without proselytizing for one side or the other–to let the story do its job by simply unfolding without the interjection of moral judgment. And that’s exactly what this fine new novel by Rebekah Anderson does. Lets the reader make up his or her own mind about what it means to ‘progress;’ what it means to ‘preserve,’ what  virtue has to do with accruing power and wealth. But what I admire most about The Grand Promise is that in the end, what we have here is an epic love poem to the Northwest and all those who inhabit it.”

Finn Wilcox, author of Too Late to Turn Back Now

Rebekah Anderson’s novel, The Grand Promise, presents a compelling picture of the personal human disruptions brought on in the 1930s during the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. Communities and the people who lived in them had their lives and their livelihoods changed as dam construction required thousands of workers and as the rising reservoir behind the dam slowly drowned long established settlements and ways of life.  Anderson pictures the drama of those changes on a personal level through the interwoven lives of a few men and women who the reader comes to know in depth. The work is an excellent read for anyone interested in that era, Grand Coulee, The New Deal, or Washington State history.”

Paul Pitzer, author of Grand Coulee: Harnessing a Dream