As the King battles for English religious control, young tomboy Julian Upton announces her desire to become a priest. Julian befriends monk Hugh Warrenham who’s destined to be ordained in her family’s priory at Hawkswold. But their relationship gives the Crown reason to scrutinize the priory as Cromwell systematically dismantles the Pope’s influence.
When her father dies, Julian is sent to an abbey, but it’s destroyed before she can take her vows. Without resources, her survival depends on her ability to use the skills she taught herself as a child. When Cromwell’s troops seize Hawkswold, Father Hugh plans to follow his vocation, but first he must find out if Julian is safe.
“Once a novice in an abbey and a housekeeper in a brothel, I loved a man who didn’t see me as a woman and a priest who chose his vows over me.”
Left with the New England Shakers in the 1830s when her parents move west, young Lucy learns to love her new family and accept the practices of the celibate religious group—until Sarah, a teen indentured to them after her father dies, befriends her. The strict rules of the sect clash with those of the outside world. Murder and a forbidden romance disrupt the peaceful “garden” members have prepared for Christ’s second coming.