Robert Glory has never quite felt as though he fit in the small town of Esau, Michigan, but finds solace in his role as the pastor of Esau Baptist and his spare, orderly routine. When Susan Shearer arrives at his church seeking the strength to stay true to her tormented and increasingly volatile husband, neither expect that their immediate connection will upend both of their lives. As their relationship deepens and Susan's domestic situation becomes more and more unstable—both Robert and Susan are forced to confront the wounds that have shaped them and discover if they still have the power to change.
... beautifully captures the rewards and burdens of the intimate connections between mothers, fathers and their children ... The novel, which fully submerges readers in both its setting and the innermost thoughts of the characters, dramatizes the small-town experience, touching upon such aspects as gender, faith and family dynamics ... Heartbreakingly genuine characters distinguish Webster Hein's nuanced portrayal of love and loyalty to one's family.
Delicate ... Hein adds depth and complexity to the otherwise simple and restrained story by telling it from the various characters’ points of view ... For the most part, Hein’s eloquent writing and convincing portrayal of the characters’ faith and piety makes up for a fairly anti-climactic narrative. Overall, it lands as a worthy first outing.