New York Times Bestseller: The quest for the American Dream soars to new heights in this coming-of-age story of a young woman and her country.
Living with her aunt in poor, rural Preston, Pennsylvania, thirteen-year-old Ellen Watson loves books and music and is completely oblivious to her own beauty. But her extraordinary looks arouse envy and malice in the female townspeople—and lust in the males. Hired as a housemaid in the palatial home of the village mayor, Ellen soon catches the attention of his son, Jeremy Porter, who captures her heart in turn. He offers to send her to school, and four years later he proposes marriage.
As the years pass, Ellen’s life parallels the hopes, dreams, and fears of a no-longer innocent nation. As America’s enemies gather, Ellen must face her own demons. The wife of the scion of a powerful political family, she has everything she could ever desire: security, children, and a successful, adoring husband. But when tragedy rips her life apart, Ellen will be forced to confront some terrible truths about her marriage, her family, and herself.
Played out against the backdrop of early twentieth-century America, Ceremony of the Innocent intertwines Ellen’s personal journey with America’s emergence from the devastation of World War I. It raises vital questions, such as: Are we as good as we believe we are? And is faith enough to keep us moving forward even in the face of unimaginable loss?
“Remarkable as well as engrossing.” —Los Angeles Times
“Taylor Caldwell never falters when it comes to storytelling. . . . This is a stirring tale by a past master.” —Publishers Weekly
“Caldwell draws from her multitudinous voices in the literary and religious wilderness to bring it all home.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Taylor Caldwell
“Taylor Caldwell spins a yarn with force. . . . Her sense of timing and her ability to keep even the most alert reader guessing is something readers don’t find very often.” —Hartford Courant
Taylor Caldwell (1900–1985) was one of the most prolific and widely read authors of the twentieth century. Born Janet Miriam Holland Taylor Caldwell in Manchester, England, she moved with her family to Buffalo, New York, in 1907. She started writing stories when she was eight years old and completed her first novel when she was twelve. Married at age eighteen, Caldwell worked as a stenographer and court reporter to help support her family and took college courses at night, earning a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Buffalo in 1931. She adopted the pen name Taylor Caldwell because legendary editor Maxwell Perkins thought her debut novel, Dynasty of Death (1938), would be better received if readers assumed it were written by a man. In a career that spanned five decades, Caldwell published forty novels, many of which were New York Times bestsellers. Her best-known works include the historical sagas The Sound of Thunder (1957), Testimony of Two Men (1968), Captains and the Kings (1972), and Ceremony of the Innocent (1976), and the spiritually themed novels The Listener (1960) and No One Hears But Him (1966). Dear and Glorious Physician (1958), a portrayal of the life of St. Luke, and Great Lion of God (1970), about the life of St. Paul, are among the bestselling religious novels of all time. Caldwell’s last novel, Answer as a Man (1981), hit the New York Times bestseller list before its official publication date. She died at her home in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1985.
To read more about the life and work of Taylor Caldwell, please visit www.taylorcaldwell.com.