In the aftermath of the turbulent 60s, unable to reconcile her monastic existence in upstate New York with the plight of the community’s poor, Sister Jude leaves the convent only to become ensnared in her best friend’s crumbling marriage. Intimidated by her talented but overbearing husband, Vincent, a pregnant Connie shows up at Jude’s door with her two children in tow.
Jude's mission to feed the hungry and free Connie from her weakness for Vincent is complicated by her own attraction to Matt, a passionate but burned-out activist, back from the inner city to work his family’s farm.
Tormented by Vincent’s treachery and Matt’s ultimatum, Jude learns how little she understands the vagaries of the heart. And that her fierce faith and determination may not be enough to save Connie from her husband, the children from danger or herself from a fall from grace.
Praise for Visible Signs
"Anyone who has stood on the cusp of change will relate to these characters, who comb through their pasts and examine the shards at their feet for clues to the true calling that will carry them forward. A historical novel that speaks to the daunting freedoms of our times." —Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End of Happy
"Reader, beware . . . you don’t just read Visible Signs; you inhabit it. In luminous prose, Marcus tells the story of two women in the turbulent 1970s—Jude, a Catholic nun, and her childhood friend Connie, now a wife and mother—both questioning their vows and chafing against the frustrations of their very different paths. In a small town in upstate New York they find themselves on parallel quests, rethinking cherished assumptions about family and friendship, love and faith . . . and making choices that will change their lives forever." —Judith Ryan Hendricks, best-selling author of Bread Alone
"For Sister Jude, a life of service to others takes on new meaning as she works to feed the hungry in her community and help a friend fleeing a dissolving marriage. Author Grace Marcus gives us these people with verve and compassion, from the nuns to the immigrants, from a traditional Italian family to the sensitive farmer who might just shift Sister Jude’s plans. This story of women re-examining their lives in the 1970s resonates strongly with our own times." —Valerie Nieman, author of In the Lonely Backwater
"I was gripped by Jude's character and dilemma and by the vivid depiction of life in the monastery. Visible Signs is a wonderful novel, one that will captivate its readers!" —Ursula DeYoung, Editor, Embark: A Literary Journal for Novelists
“In Visible Signs you'll meet and fall in love with Rita and Connie, old friends making new starts, both painful and promising. Like the Mary garden planted in the story, what is planted comes to fruition, feeding the deer as well as these two strong characters who know the price to be paid for claiming themselves. I loved it from start to finish.” —Jo-Ann Mapson, Author of Owen's Daughter and Solomon's Oak