Esmeralda, a high-spirited widow in her sixties in the small South Carolina town of Live Oaks, leaves an unforgettable impression on readers with her unpretentious, down-to-earth manner. Her unabashed faith shines through as she shares details of her life as an adviser to her best friend, Beatrice, and as a voice of reason to her women's Sunday school class, the Willing Workers. The pettiness of the women at the Apostolic Bible Church gets under Esmeralda's skin, but when she rallies them to the side of an impoverished mother with AIDS, the very best of human love and compassion is portrayed. Told in delightfully eccentric first-person narration, this story will inspire, uplift, amuse, and move readers to tears. Despite Esmeralda's lack of education and sophistication-or perhaps because of it-she is used mightily by God and meets everyday challenges with gumption, humor, and grace. Her struggle to maintain her faith in the midst of pain and suffering is a timeless and universal theme with which many will identify, and the love and mercy the story unfolds will delight both young and old.

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