After her life as she knows it is ended by heartbreak, Mary Rasmussen, a strong-willed and independent young ranch woman living in the Sandhills of western Nebraska, suddenly feels that all she has believed in - God, her instincts, the land itself - has failed her, and she abandons her cultural and emotional ties, succumbing to circumstances she thinks she is powerless to control. In a rash decision, she marries a conservative, patriarchal preacher who doesn't understand Mary, the ranching community, or anything beyond his own beliefs.
Ladette Randolph is director of the nationally renowned journal Ploughshares and a Distinguished-Publisher-in-Residence in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing program at Emerson College, Boston. A former acquiring editor and interim director at University of Nebraska Press, she is the author of the short story collection This Is Not the Tropics and editor of two anthologies, A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers and The Big Empty: Contemporary Nebraska Nonfiction Writers. She is the recipient of the Pushcart prize, a Rona Jaffe Foundation grant, two Nebraska Book Awards, the Virginia Faulkner Award from Prairie Schooner, and she has been reprinted in Best New American Voices.