This is the author's first novel for young adults. She is a High School teacher in Pennsylvania.
This is a novel about a religious commune called Mount Blessing. The commune has strict rules, and guarded secrets that unroll in the novel. To me the book is fascinating, and educational at the same time.
The main personalities are Agnes & Honey that have lived at the commune since childhood. Agnes's purpose in life is to become a Saint. Honey wants to leave the commune for good. The two girl's grandmother Nana Pete comes to visit the commune, and is appalled at what happens at the commune for discipline. It is a way of punishment given to people who live there. It is very cruel, and harsh. For example, girls have to lift their blouses to expose their backs, so the Head of the commune Emanuel slashes their back with a leather belt until they have big welts. The room were the punishment is administered is the regulation room.
Nana Peter the grandmother, comes to take the girl's far away from the Commune for good. Nana Pete drives a station wagon for many miles, and ends up at her daughter's house. Nana Pete suffers from a heart disease, and dies at at her daughter Lillian's house.
This book has many stories about what goes on in a commune. I do not want to go on, because it would spoil your interest in reading this good novel.