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St. Elizabeth’s is a lovely old place in a small town in Kentucky that used to be the beautiful Hotel Louisa. In the 1960’s it is a home for unwed mothers run by nuns. Life at St. Elizabeth’s is not unpleasant, but it is temporary. All the pregnant women who come there will go home within the year. Except for Rose, a beautiful, mysterious woman, who is neither unwed nor alone. She is simply pregnant and doesn’t want her husband or her mother to know. She plans to give her baby up because she knows she cannot be the mother the baby needs.
But St. Elizabeth’s is near a healing spring, and when Rose’s time draws near, she cannot go through with her plans, not all of them. She cannot remain forever untouched by what she left behind and who she has become since the leaving.
A beautiful debut novel about life and love and faith.
ANN PATCHETT is the author of seven novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer, Lucy Grealy, What now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and, most recently, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays.