The crumbling convent of Our Lady of Mercy stands alone in an uninhabited part of the Spanish sierra, hidden on a hill among dense forest. Its inhabitants are devoted to God, to solitude and silence-six women cut off from a world they've chosen to leave behind. This all changes on the day that Mother Superior Maria Ines discovers a suitcase punctured with air holes at the entrance to the retreat: a baby, abandoned to its fate. Is it a miracle? Soon she will find that the baby's arrival has consequences beyond her imagining, and that even in her carefully protected sanctuary she is unable to keep the world, or her past, at bay. In this beautifully told novel, "we witness justice and injustice, theological controversy, the politics of a tiny enclosed society, despair, cruelty, generosity, scandal, suspicion and suicide, all told with immense verve and skill" (London Sunday Times).