The story of a minister's wife, handled with tender affection, deep appreciation of the spiritual values, and nostalgic recall of a happy home life in the late Victorian period in central Pennsylvania. There's not the mounting sense of melodrama that characterized The Chain, nor the personality conflicts of The Bishop's Mantle, it is more definitely a woman's novel than either of these. But it has an inspirational quality without undue sentimentality as Willie explores the sources of his mother's strength, her influence on her husband's rather faltering career, her genius for seeing to the truth through layers of hypocrisy, and making others recognize it in spiritual terms. The story is told through the experiences in three parishes, -- Williamsburg, where the father's incapacity as a preacher defeated him; Sunbury, where the community needed missionary work to rescue them from slothful ease; Shamokin, where the mining community was split into two hostile camps- and where Mrs. Verne brought down upon her the wrath of the ladies of the parish because she didn't look nor act like a clergyman's wife. There's little humor, but somehow it is not heavy handed. Uneven but rewarding reading.