The plot of this novel concerns a freethinking young woman’s encounter, through artistic pursuits, with a church, an experienced artist, and a orphan woman from the West. As Esther incorporates herself into this world, she agrees to marry the preacher, Mr. Hazard. She is all but an atheist. Her close friend, George, is a paleontologist and agnostic. Her father uses religion only for its moral influence on society, not out of any true believe. Esther is never quite able to resolve her conflict between her love for Mr. Hazard (admitted in the final line of the novel) and her disgust with her finance’s beliefs and practices. The idea of being a church wife, attending services and putting on the face of a devoted believer disgusts her.