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by Henry Adams
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A freethinking young woman must choose between her passion for a preacher and purity of convictionIn Henry Adams's memorable tale of old New York, the spirited young painter Esther Dudley is introduced to Stephen Hazard, an Episcopal clergyman at St. John's. But her views, learned from her father, are radical, and he is preoccupied with clerical duties; initially each is repelled by the other. After Esther receives a commission to refurbish the decorations at the church, however, Stephen becomes an enthusiast of her painting and a companion to her ailing father. Esther finds herself falling for the preacher and, following her father's death, even becomes engaged to him. But must she compromise her personal convictions to marry him?Originally published in 1884 under a female pseudonym, Esther is both an unforgettable story of a courageous woman grappling with a conflict between love and integrity and an evocative portrait of the tensions between science, art, and religion. Written with uncommon insight,and humanity, Adam's novel rivals the best fiction of Edith Wharton for urbanity and wit.
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