The Art of Preserving Love
Ballarat, 1905The gossips call 19–year–old Edie Cottingham the ‘Too Girl' – too stubborn, too outspoken, and too modern to get a husband. But Edie does not care. She is determined to defy them all and find love with Theo Hooley, the gentle church organist and veteran of the African Boer war.But just as Theo prepares to ask Edie's father for her hand, their world is turned upside down. Edie's mother is gone and she must care for her new baby sister. Gracie is a sickly baby with a special smile that enchants everyone who sees it. How can Edie marry and leave the family home now?But Theo Hooley is a man who knows how to wait. Every Sunday, Theo walks from his home to woo Edie. Each week Edie refuses him, knowing that he is asking for more than a walk around the lake on a Sunday afternoon. Each week Theo resolves anew to wait for her.Slowly the town begins to fall under the spell of the romance. Women sigh and men mutter at the challenge Theo presents to their relationships. As the children create a growing procession that follows Theo each week, the whole community becomes caught up in his display of devotion, until an unexpected event changes all their lives.