Twenty-year-old Ellie Bartholomew's face is disfigured after a tragic accident. Ellie resents her family's "Bartholomew babble," always talking about God as if he's their best friend. He didn't stop the accident, did he? And he hasn't "fixed" the consequences.

Now her mother, ill with cancer, plans to revisit a site in Scotland that she calls the Dwelling Place. She wants Ellie to take her, but Ellie would rather have her teeth extracted. What secrets of her mother's past does this Dwelling Place hold? The answers turn Ellie's perceptions inside out.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that impacts you from start to finish. Musser displays a rare gift for complex characterization and intricate plotting that starkly reveals flaws as well as beauties in human nature. (Apr., 400 pp., $12.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson