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The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
Heartbroken and disillusioned, Langston Haverman walks out of her Ph.D. oral exams and returns home to the moribund little town of Haddington, Indiana. She moves into her parent's attic and does her best to shut off the world and feels smug about her intellectual superiority to the local townspeople. Amos Townsend is the town's minister and he's suffering a crisis of faith and bouts of intellectual loneliness as well. When Langston's best friend, Alice, dies leaving two orphaned girls, she finds herself placed into the role of being the caregiver for them. Amos, feeling guilty for not being able to foresee and stop the tragedy that befell their mother, also tends to the girls' spiritual needs. Haven Kimmel's debut novel has received mostly praise with a few misgivings. Southern Scribe calls it "a richly textured, deeply felt, and wry debut novel."