From the beginning the bright and articulate English teacher and the tall, strong, and equally bright minister sense they are different, but they assume they can still enjoy a friendship. And they do; Mary Kerrigan and Walter Macdonald play and probe and spar. Then the unanticipated happens: friendship deepens into love, and differences that were intriguing when they were just friends become ominous. She's irreverent; he's traditional. She's unfettered; he's committed. She's a disbeliever; he's a believer. She won't believe; he won't not believe. They are an even match. It's more than a lover's quarrel--Mary and Walter are worlds apart in ways that matter. They want desperately to find a bridge between their worlds. Their struggle pits passion against convictions. Longing for the impossible becomes finally unbearable; they have to choose.