A well-regarded author (Sydney, Herself, 1989) tells a heartwarming love story about a pregnant 17-year-old who, cruelly rejected by her preacher father, is taken in by thoroughly wholesome Jake, who has dropped out of college in order to write. Without pausing to discover that Lucy was raped by a boy who first saw her handing out his religious pamphlets in Ocean City, Maryland, Pa commands her to confess her ""sin"" at his revival meeting or leave home. Lucy leaves, sleeps under the boardwalk, then encounters Jake, who offers sanctuary and is sensitive enough to wait until she's ready to confide her troubles. Meanwhile, Lucy gets a job and shares the rent; the two become close friends who talk, help each other, and--gradually, sweetly--fall in love (agreeing to postpone sex), planning to marry and raise the baby together. Lucy dreads meeting Jake's family at Thanksgiving, but they are as accepting as Jake, especially after Lucy bravely explains their circumstances. The visit is another turning point: reminded of Jake's cherished opportunity to act as ""dogsbody"" for a famous visiting novelist in the spring, Lucy insists he follow through: her sister will help with the baby; if their love is real, it'll endure the separation. Almost--but not quite--too good to be true, these likable young people grow and change as their relationship blossoms; Lucy, especially, is touchingly believable as she begins to reach toward possibilities unimagined in her father's home--including more education and a kind and loving God. Gentle and appealing, written with insight and skill.