This Heavy Silence: A Novel

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Strong, resilient, and deeply loyal, Dottie Connell farms her family’s three hundred acres in rural Ohio alone, having sacrificed love and family for land she does not own. A sudden, inexplicable event leaves the daughter of her childhood friend in her care. Pressured by her community to allow her former fiancé to raise the child, Dottie must face the past she has worked fifteen years to forget.

Spanning a decade, This Heavy Silence explores the power of the vows we make to others, and, more binding, those we make to ourselves. Evoking the hardship, spring-fed beauty, and the complexities of community in the rural Midwest, this award-winning, beautifully observed novel leads us to question our ideas about motherhood, faith, and the debts we owe.

"Like the land she inhabits and the people she attends, Nicole Mazzarella offers a subtle and enduring beauty, born of intense interiority, and vision both broad and deep."
-Scott Cairns, author of Philokalia: New & Selected Poems