Susan Furber’s debut novel The Essence of an Hour begins in 1941, “the last summer of American innocence”, when eighteen-year-old Lillie Carrigan is desperate to love and be loved, to lose her virginity, to experience her life’s great, epic romance. A decade later, searching for patterns and meaning in the events of that year, and anxious to understand the person she has become, Lillie reflects on the darkness of her tarnished youth and confesses her sins.

Read on to discover the first chapter of this honest, moving novel, “reminiscent of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar” (Christine Dwyer Hickey), “told with…

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