The Visionist

An enthralling first novel about a teenage girl who finds refuge–but perhaps not–in an 1840s Shaker community.

After 15-year-old Polly Kimball sets fire to the family farm, killing her abusive father, she and her young brother find shelter in a Massachusetts Shaker community called the City of Hope. It is the Era of Manifestations, when young girls in Shaker enclaves all across the Northeast are experiencing extraordinary mystical visions, earning them the honorific of “Visionist” and bringing renown to their settlements.

The City of Hope has not yet been blessed with a Visionist, but that changes when Polly arrives and is unexpectedly exalted. As she struggles to keep her dark secrets concealed in the face of increasing scrutiny, Polly finds herself in a life-changing friendship with a young Shaker sister named Charity, a girl who will stake everything–even her faith–on Polly’s honesty and purity.  

Meet the Author

Though she has spent much of her life living on a dairy farm in Massachusetts, RACHEL URQUHART was born and raised in Manhattan. She began her magazine career at Spy—a job so singular that it would ruin her desire to ever work full-time anywhere else. Lucky for her,Vogue–where she spent almost a decade writing and editing–stepped in and saved her rachel_urquhart-image-lgfrom herself. She has been a writer her entire adult life, contributing pieces and the occasional snippet of fiction to a variety of publications, including The New YorkerThe New York Times, Tin HouseElleHarper’s BazaarFood & WineTravel & LeisureVanity Fair, Women’s Times and The Reader. She has also written three “lifestyle” books for the ChicSimple series (Knopf). It took a long time for her to begin—and then complete—The Visionist, her first novel, and her heart goes out to anyone who finds him or herself in a similar predicament. She attended The Brearley School (Manhattan), The Middlesex School (Concord, Massachusetts), Tufts University, and Sarah Lawrence College, where she received her M.F.A. in Fiction. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

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