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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Bestseller: The quest for the American Dream soars to new heights in this coming-of-age story of a young woman and her country.

Living with her aunt in poor, rural Preston, Pennsylvania, thirteen-year-old Ellen Watson loves books and music and is completely oblivious to her own beauty. But her extraordinary looks arouse envy and malice in the female townspeople - and lust in the males. Hired as a housemaid in the palatial home of the village mayor, Ellen soon catches the attention of his son, Jeremy Porter, who captures her heart in turn. He offers to send her to school, and four years later he proposes marriage.

As the years pass, Ellen's life parallels the hopes, dreams, and fears of a no-longer innocent nation. As America's enemies gather, Ellen must face her own demons. The wife of the scion of a powerful political family, she has everything she could ever desire: security, children, and a successful, adoring husband. But when tragedy rips her life apart, Ellen will be forced to confront some terrible truths about her marriage, her family, and herself.

Played out against the backdrop of early twentieth-century America, Ceremony of the Innocent intertwines Ellen's personal journey with America's emergence from the devastation of World War I. It raises vital questions, such as: Are we as good as we believe we are? And is faith enough to keep us moving forward even in the face of unimaginable loss?

©1976 Taylor Caldwell (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Ceremony of the Innocent

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Ceremony of the Innocent

I am a huge Taylor Caldwell fan . This story line however left me wanting to shake the main character and slap or slug the supporting. (Except maybe Cuthbert, Maude , Charles and Annie ). The history is so relevant to today it’s scary.. Spanish flu, WW1, Council of foreign issues , stock market crash ... Iraq, covid, planned meeting in Darvos ... Let us all hope in history not repeating its self

1 person found this helpful

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Main Character's voice

My only only issue was whenever Kate did Ellen's voice, she sounded like Forrest Gump.

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Caldwell is prescient

I adore the author and have read many of her books. This is the first I ever read decades ago and it is one of my favorites.

While the story is a love story and the main character's story tragic, the historical events and politics are relevant today and the writing satirical. Chillingly so.

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Slept through 8 hours of this book and was glad

I don’t think I would have liked Taylor Caldwell had I ever had the chance to meet her. She looks at people, even children, as cruel and self serving. The heroine,if you can call her that, is an portrayed as an innocent, blind to the evil nature of most people and thus is looked at as stupid by those around her. She spouts her philosophy and paranoid conspiracy theories through ridiculous contrived conversations between characters.