A housemaid with a dangerous family secret conspires with a wealthy young abolitionist to help an enslaved girl escape, in volatile pre-Civil War Philadelphia.
The rebel . . . the socialite . . . and the fugitive. Together, they will risk everything for one another in this “beguiling story of friendship, deception, and women crossing boundaries in the name of freedom” (Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends).
Philadelphia, 1837. After Charlotte escaped from the crumbling White Oaks plantation down South, she’d expected freedom to feel different from her former life as an enslaved housemaid.

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  • Random House Large Print Publishing
  • Paperback
  • April 2024
  • 512 Pages
  • 9780593861820

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About Ashton Lattimore

Ashton Lattimore is an award-winning journalist and a former lawyer. She is the editor-in-chief at Prism, a nonprofit news outlet by and for communities of color, and her nonfiction writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, CNN, and Essence. Lattimore is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and Columbia Journalism School. She grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband and their two sons. All We Were Promised is her first novel.


“Against the backdrop of untold history, Ashton Lattimore spins a beguiling story of friendship, deception, and women crossing boundaries in the name of freedom. Disparate and deeply real, Charlotte, Nell, and Evie struggle to fully trust one another, but ultimately discover that together they may be stronger than everything their turbulent world casts against them.”–Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends

“A moving story of the heart’s cry for independence, regard, and honor–deftly told. So relevant to the current moment and yet fully transportive to the complex years before the Civil War. A truly impressive debut.”–Susan Meissner, bestselling author of Only the Beautiful

“Once in a rare while a book comes along that is so compelling it’s impossible to put down. In All We Were Promised, Ashton Lattimore delivers an explosive debut novel which recreates the turbulent city of Philadelphia only two decades before the Civil War. Nineteenth century America has never felt so gripping or alive.”–Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of Nefertiti

“Ashton Lattimore’s debut All We Were Promised has everything I value most in historical fiction: compelling characters, suspenseful plotting, and vivid details, which bring to life a part of America’s past that continues to resonate painfully today. The stories of Nell, Charlotte, and Evie brilliantly meld with the story of Philadelphia itself, a city torn apart by abolitionist and pro-slavery advocates in the years leading up to the Civil War. I highly recommend this important and beautiful book.”–Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl

All We Were Promised brings to life the struggles of Black women in the North before America’s Civil War. Ashton Lattimore’s deep research and compelling story will enthrall readers of historical fiction; her legal acumen illuminates the complex compromises in the laws that supposedly ended slavery. The book weaves in details of indentured servitude, preserved enslavement as Southern whites traveled North with their ‘property, ‘ risks of enslavement even for freed persons, and distinct challenges for refugees of the Haitian revolution. Especially indelible are the courage, creativity, and collaboration of the fully-realized main characters. Be prepared to stay up reading through to the striking climax!”–Martha Minow, author, legal scholar, and former Dean of Harvard Law School

“From a debut author to be watched, All We Were Promised is as beautifully written as it is historically sound. Set in pre-civil war Philadelphia, it is ripe with the overwhelming struggle to right America’s greatest wrong–slavery, and the power of three young women who courageously risk it all for the promise of freedom.”–Sadeqa Johnson, author of The House of Eve

All That We Were Promised is a stunning debut from the spectacular Ashton Lattimore. Three women of color form a sisterhood in 1837 on the cusp of the Civil War, a conflict so personal to their survival that neither Charlotte, Nell, or Evie is strong enough alone to face what their divided country has in store for them. As the powerful conspire against them, the women lock arms for freedom and the right to exist on their own terms. This riveting story will enthrall you as promises are kept and broken, love is lost and found, and despair carves their paths forward with hope.”–Adriana Trigiani, author of The Good Left Undone