In Her Most Searching and most accomplished novel to date, the author of Owning Jolene and Hug Dancing explores friendship and loss -- and what binds two women together and what separates them. Sarah and Harriet, now in their mid-fifties, have been friends since boarding school. Their lives -- Sarah in the Blue Ridge mountains of South Carolina and Harriet in the piney woods of East Texas -- have run parallel courses: marriage, babies, even opting for separate bedrooms from their husbands at about the same time.Or are their paths really so similar? Now they find themselves, within the same year, widowed -- and deep-rooted differences surface. For Sarah, marriage was a destructive snare; she finds freedom in nature, reward in a wallpaper business she has created (so women can make rooms of their own), and sexual satisfaction with a man in his late sixties who understands her needs. Harriet is lost, no longer employed as a wife; to protect herself she gets a gun; to bolster herself, a young man's attention.A life-and-death crisis brings the two women together. In the course of their visit the disharmonies they have never before acknowledged are revealed and their friendship is profoundly changed.Telling Sarah and Harriet's story, Shelby Hearon has given us a witty, disturbing, and moving novel about the way we see -- and fail to see -- our friends and ourselves.From the Hardcover edition.