The international bestselling author of The Lacuna, Flight Behaviour and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards – including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize – returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resilience and compassion in times of great upheaval.
Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against an upended world that seems to hold no mercy for her shattered life and family – or the crumbling house that contains her.
Thatcher Greenwood, the new science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Charles Darwin, and he is keen to communicate his ideas to his students. But those in power in Thatcher’s small town have no desire for a new world order. Thatcher and his teachings are not welcome.
Both Willa and Thatcher resist the prevailing logic. Both are asked to pay a high price for their courage. But both also find inspiration – and an unlikely kindred spirit – in Mary Treat, a scientist, adventurer and anachronism.