A powerful short novel from the prolific poet and novelist Glancy (Pushing the Bear, 1996; Claiming Breath, 1992, etc.) that maps unusual terrain. Set in the present, in small, seemingly changeless southern towns and dusty Army posts, the story traces the emergence into adulthood of Rachel Hume--a devout, sheltered young woman, part of a large, affectionate family of itinerant laborers, and of her struggle to create a life apart from them, and to square her religious beliefs with marriage and motherhood. Glancy pulls off the difficult feat of making a seemingly quiet life rich, complex, and deeply moving. A powerful meditation on the manner in which religious and earthly love may reinforce one another, offering something sustaining ``beyond the plainness of our lives.''