New York Times Bestseller: The quest for the American Dream soars to new heights in this coming-of-age story of a young woman and her country. Living with her aunt in poor, rural Preston, Pennsylvania, thirteen-year-old Ellen Watson loves books and music and is completely oblivious to her own beauty. But her extraordinary looks arouse envy and malice in the female townspeople--and lust in the males. Hired as a housemaid in the palatial home of the village mayor, Ellen soon catches the attention of his son, Jeremy Porter, who captures her heart in turn. He offers to send her to school, and four years later he proposes marriage. As the years pass, Ellen's life parallels the hopes, dreams, and fears of a no-longer innocent nation. As America's enemies gather, Ellen must face her own demons. The wife of the scion of a powerful political family, she has everything she could ever desire: security, children, and a successful, adoring husband. But when tragedy rips her life apart, Ellen will be forced to confront some terrible truths about her marriage, her family, and herself. Played out against the backdrop of early twentieth-century America, Ceremony of the Innocent intertwines Ellen's personal journey with America's emergence from the devastation of World War I. It raises vital questions, such as: Are we as good as we believe we are? And is faith enough to keep us moving forward even in the face of unimaginable loss?