This is a story about Dr. Norah Clarke, a woman both unexceptional and extraordinary. It is about how she’s affected by people and happenings around her and how, in turn, she effects the lives of others. It is a story of loss and forgiveness; a story of learning to love and be loved; a story of growing, of friendship and of simple pleasures. The novel spans the better part of six decades, weaving together the culture, politics, and landscapes of those times. Each contact and each experience brings its own particular influence into the picture of a life being lived in the best way possible, given both the endurances and alternatives. Dr. Clarke, the professor, is introduced to you at the beginning of the fall semester. You will be propelled back in time to watch her struggle in her journey to become the woman you believe her to be. You are likely to be annoyed with some of her decisions and oftentimes frustrated with the results. Like all of us on our journey, we are bound by our experiences, shaped by our choices, and molded by the vessel of life that surrounds us. The power to change course comes with the gaining of insights into the impacts of ties that bind.