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Parrish's debut novel begins with the mother of all Christian fiction clichés: a young urban sophisticate is forced, much to her chagrin, to move from the city to the country. Despite this scenario playing out largely according to the formula (stock rural characters teach said sophisticate important life lessons), the story feels fresh. Parrish's protagonist, Sarah Graham, is unabashedly self-centered, unfriendly, promiscuous and lazy-and amazingly enough, she holds on to these characteristics throughout most of the novel. The conversion she experiences in the brutally poor mountain hamlet of Jonah is full of hiccups and reversals. Just when it seems that Sarah has been rehabilitated, she tosses off yet another casually diabolical thought or action with absolutely no remorse. The people of Jonah are flawed and complicated, too, and Parrish allows readers to savor every moment of genuine, hard-earned human connection. With its vast array of richly imagined characters, its humor and its substance, this debut is sure to resonate with a wide and appreciative audience. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.