One of "5 more writers over 50" to Watch, Poets & Writers, Nov/Dec 2017

"If this doesn't become a New York Times bestseller, I'll never understand why. This is one of the best novels I've read in the past five years—it will stay with me."

—Cathy Kodra, Reader from Knoxville, TN

  • Beautifully written … An ambitious and moving debut novel.
    Beautifully written … An ambitious and moving debut novel. - Lily King, award-winning, national bestselling author of Euphoria
  • A remarkable novel ... an essential story for our time.
    A remarkable novel ... an essential story for our time. - Matthew Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eighty Days.
  • A riveting story ... this striking debut is essential reading for our times.
    A riveting story ... this striking debut is essential reading for our times. - Judith Frank, Lambda Literary Award Finalist for All I Love and Know
  • ... a prescient road map for our times.
    ... a prescient road map for our times. - Mary Rechner, author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women.
  • ... a compelling story that seems to rise out of ... current national headlines.
    ... a compelling story that seems to rise out of ... current national headlines. - Frank O. Smith, Bellwether Prize finalist for Dream Singer
  • A spellbinding novel ... a moving adventure ...
    A spellbinding novel ... a moving adventure ... - Dr. Eva Fogelman, Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust

“... an extraordinarily pertinent novel dripping in suspense and powerful scenes of political discourse … a must-read ....” —FOREWORD (starred review)

“… Dempsey’s fine first novel [is] notable for the evenhanded way it addresses hot-button issues. The result is a timely and memorable story.” BOOKLIST

“A gripping and sensitive portrait of ordinary people wrestling with ideological passions.” —KIRKUS

"Dempsey’s fine debut, set in 2009, explores how hate, fear, and intolerance cast a lifelong shadow. Current events have only made this gripping story more relevant." —LIBRARY JOURNAL

"... a thought-provoking and timely novel." —THE ADVOCATE


" ... [Dempsey's] talent is evident ... a fast-paced, entertaining read." —MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM

"... timely, suspenseful and powerful exploration of the very real conflict between religious freedom and civil rights … a provocative hit." —KENNEBEC JOURNAL

"... [the novel] is nothing if not timely ... an enticing read." —MAINE WOMEN MAGAZINE

"... a page-turner ... a perfect book club choice for these contentious times." —HUNGRY FOR GOOD BOOKS

" ... a writer worth watching, a novel worth reading." —B. Lynn Goodwin, STORY CIRCLE BOOK REVIEWS


“Dempsey has taken two stories that could have been ripped from today’s headlines and woven them into one fascinating, can’t-put-it-down book.” —Edwina C

“I absolutely loved this book! I literally couldn't put it down. At the same time, I didn't want it to end.” —Karen D

“This book was hard to put down. On the day I received it, I read up to Part III, turned out the light but couldn’t close my eyes. So back up, light on, reading until I finished at 2 am.” —Donna


“… once I sat down, I stayed up most of the night to finished it!” —Volanda

“I sped through [the novel] within two days of receiving [it]!” —Dawn S

“… [the novel] drew me in and then I couldn't put it down. The only problem for me was the book ended! I wanted these people in my life. I need to know what they are doing now.” —Annette

“Eerily relevant to current events—as if Joan stayed up all night writing it this week!” —Janet C

“… engaging and thought provoking, a 'can't put it down' read.” —Willow

“From the very beginning [Dempsey] had me hooked. The book was hard to put down when life intruded.” —Joan G

“From the beginning of this book, I was captivated …” —Coreen J

“The characters draw you in, and the story is intriguing, moving, and intense. Could not put it down, had to know what would happen next.” —David B

“Dempsey crafts a must-read with her debut novel … a binge-worthy read.” —Amazon Customer

“A page-turner literary novel … worthy of becoming a New York Times bestseller. One of my top favorites, new and old.” —Cathy K

“No spoilers but there’s an unexpected moment towards the end that gave me goosebumps and made me want to sing … a must-read.” —Eric M

“…a riveting read … will surely set a new standard in political fiction.” —Debbie H

“A novel that grabs you, gathers you in and engulfs you in the story.” —Barry J

“I see a future bestseller and movie! I read my advance copy ... Twice!” —Candace T

“Well-researched and exquisitely written … an exciting page-turner.” —Mary W

“… a writer worth watching … a novel worth reading.” —B. Lynne G

“So well written, so gut wrenching, a must-read.” —Rhonda L

“… takes your breath away with its relevance to present day issues and our world’s historical heritage … a beautiful creation.” —Sarah S

“I highly recommend this book for the reader who is looking for rich story content and character depth and suspense that feels ripped from the headline news.” —Mary C

“[This] is not my normal type of book choice, so I didn't expect to like it. But, WOW, [Dempsey] pulls you in with a story straight out of today's headlines.” —Diane T


Enter to win a copy of this award-winning novel and a $15 Bookshop or Amazon gift card.
Enter to win the novel and a $15 gift card.