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Back from a tour of duty in Vietnam, Benny Finn strives to find his bearings amid the everyday life of 1973 New England. At a Benedictine Abbey in rural New Hampshire, Sister Clare, a young novice, confronts the day-to-day realities of a cloistered existence. Linking the stories of Benny and Sister Clare is Isabel Howell, a college student soon to discover that she must chart the course of her own life in a way she could not have imagined. Deeply felt and often luminously moving, this powerful story reveals a writer richly aware of the range of human tragedy and tenderness.
“Filled with precise, loving observations of human nature, The Beauty of Ordinary Things is a slender, wise triumph of a novel, exquisitely distilled. Read this book; it will open your heart.” —Michelle Richmond, author, The Year of the Fog
"This beautiful short novel is populated by characters who are connected to each other by filaments of memory, regret and yearning. Each strand is lovely on its own, and the whole is captivating, radiant, mysterious, and deeply moving. I loved it." —Ann Packer, author, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier
"The Beauty of Ordinary Things is a soulful, tender, affecting novel, with complex, searching, sympathetic characters whose situations and plights one deeply cares about. Harriet Scott Chessman has written another wonderful book!” —Ron Hansen, author, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
"A beautiful étude of humanity. Harriet Scott Chessman succeeds in writing a song of the soul in The Beauty of Ordinary Things. … Her writing is like poetry spoken in real, soft voices. It would be hard to close this book and not feel changed." —ForeWord Magazine
“Chessman paints word pictures bathed in color and light.” — Boston Globe
“Quite simply stunning. In an exquisite few pages, Harriet Scott Chessman delivers a gigantic story.” —Meg Waite Clayton, author, The Wednesday Daughters