When Dottie Connell adopts her best friend's daughter out of a combination of spite and loyalty, she must confront her ideas on motherhood, sexuality, and God. Set in rural Ohio, This Heavy Silence spans ten years in Dottie's life. She loves the land despite its bitterness and hardship. She raises her adopted daughter and farms her family's three hundred acres in a time and place unaccustomed to independent women. Her struggle to buy back the farm comes to a disturbing climax when she realizes that in order to keep it, she must choose to betray the daughter who has become her own. This Heavy Silence explores the mysteries of grace, the bargaining of birthright, and the power of vows ? both the vows we make to others, and more binding, those we make to ourselves.