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Thick-skinned, independent, and fiercely loyal, Dottie Connell farms her family's three hundred acres in rural Ohio alone, having sacrificed love and family for land she does not own. A sudden, inexplicable event leaves the daughter of her childhood friend in her care. Pressured by her community to allow her former fiancée to raise the child, Dottie must face the past she has worked fifteen years to forget.
In a stunning portrayal of forgiveness withheld, Dottie adopts her best friendxs daughter. As she struggles to raise Mattie, her hired hand, the only man to work for her longer than a season, befriends the child and seeks to gain Dottiexs trust. These relationships confront Dottie with her long-entrenched ideas about motherhood, sexuality, and God. When her struggle to buy back the farm comes to a disturbing climax, she realizes that in order to keep it, she will have to betray her deceased friend and her daughter.
Spanning a decade, their story is a mesmerizing portrait of betrayal and the mysteries of grace. This Heavy Silence explores the power of the vows we make to others, and, more binding, those we make to ourselves. Evoking the hardship, spring-fed beauty, and the complexities of community in the rural Midwest, this beautifully observed, debut novel leads us to question our ideas about faith, the debts we owe, and forgiveness.