I can’t imagine Jeffrey Lent’s protagonist, Hewitt Pearce, being anything but a blacksmith — solitary, stoked with the fire of buried pain, unbending as iron. Until the day he treks out to investigate the source of a thin curl of woodsmoke rising from the ridge beyond his home and finds Jessica, a defiant young runaway, the gas tank of her VW Beetle’s gas tank empty as her belly.

Lent weaves back and forth between past and present, between Pearce’s downfall and that of Jessica’s wayward flight, feeding readers the kindling of their secrets until each disparate and molten detail comes together precisely wrought as one of Hewitt Pearce’s iron gates.

After reading A Peculiar Grace, I’m reaching my tongs for novels one and two: In the Fall and Lost Nation.