Th e Chastened Heart is a novel of middle class American and European manners, satirical yet compassionate, realistic yet committed to the spiritual and ethical concerns of the very best fi ction. Robert Crooke’s deeply emotional narrative urges a reader to follow the Winslows into a past that is both personal and universal, and to embrace with them the mysteries that their marriage represents.
When she married John Caldwell in 1908, she looked forward to taking care of her own family instead of her brothers and her father’s wives.
Mary gave birth to four children. She was happy until John entered the world of moonshine and bootlegging. When he drank, which was most of the time, he became abusive to her and the children. As a result of the abusive upbringing the children followed in their father’s footsteps and continued on the bootlegging legacy of their father.
During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bill’s grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killing—and then she blacks out. When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes she’s been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang. She is hurled into a secret underworld, wondering why she is still alive and for how long.
Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his untimely death, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty-six year- old Cameron. She understands it’s a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life. But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.