To read Gail Godwin is to touch the very core of human experience. With inimitable grace and aching emotional precision, this New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award nominee probes our own complexities in characters whose lives oscillate between success and struggle, stoic resolve and quixotic temptation, bitter disappointment and small, sacred joy. Now, in her first novel since The Good Husband, Godwin again translates our everyday existence into soul-touching truths as she brings to brilliantly realized life the people of a small Smoky Mountain town--and a woman whose world is indelibly altered by them. At the advent of the new millennium, the residents of High Balsam are in desperate need of hope. Economic and social unrest has led to tragedy. For Margaret Bonner, the young pastor of High Balsam's Episcopal church, care of the community is her constant challenge and devotion.