Penny's mother Marguerite drinks too much and has a flair for melodrama that does not go down too well in upstate New York. But to Penny she also has a sense of fun that makes everything in life feel the way it should. So when Marguerite goes south in the summer of 1977 to 'dry out' in a Louisiana convent, Penny is alarmed to be left in the care of a high-minded Evangelical, Isabel Flood, especially as Isabel increasingly holds Penny's pretty older sister Mahalia in thrall. Penny may only be ten-years-old but her instinct as to who are the saints and who the sinners is never far from the truth. With wit, humanity and a bracing undercurrent of suspense, Paula Sharp captures a family embattled, rightly wary of who wants to recruit God on their side.