Katherine is only five-years-old. Struck dumb with grief at her mother’s death, it is down to her father, the heartbroken minister Tyler Caskey, to bring his daughter out of silence she has observed in the wake of the family’s tragedy.
But Tyler Caskey is barely surviving himself. His cold, church-assigned home is colder still since Lauren’s death, and he struggles to find the right words for his sermons; struggles to be a leader to his congregation when he himself is lost.
When Katherine’s schoolteacher calls to discuss his daughter’s anti-social behaviour, it sparks a chain of events that begins to tear down Tyler’s defences.
The small-town rumour-mill has much to make of Katherine’s odd behaviour, and even more to say about Tyler’s relationship with his housekeeper, Connie Hatch. And in Tyler’s darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his congregation’s humanity – and his own will to endure the kinds of trials that sooner or later test us all.
From the Orange Prize-shortlisted author of Amy & Isabelle, this is a startlingly beautiful novel about love and abandonment, faith and hypocrisy; and the peril of family secrets