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The Evolution of Annabel Craig

A novel by

A young Southern woman sets out on a journey of self-discovery as the infamous 1925 Scopes Trial tests her faith and her marriage in this moving novel from the author of Time After Time and The Irresistible Henry House.

“Lisa Grunwald is a national treasure. . . . An essential American story from a master craftsman.”—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Left Undone

I had never questioned a miracle, witnessed a gunfight, or seen a dead body. . . . I had thought I knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn't. Before the summer was over, all that and much more would change.
Annabel Hayes—born, baptized, and orphaned in the sleepy conservative town of Dayton, Tennessee—is thrilled to find herself falling quickly and deeply in love with George Craig, a sophisticated attorney newly arrived from Knoxville. But before the end of their first year of marriage, their lives are beset by losses. The strain on their relationship is only intensified when John T. Scopes is arrested for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution at the local high school.

Foreshadowing today’s culture wars, the trial against Scopes is a spectacle unlike any the country has seen. William Jennings Bryan—a revered Southern politician—joins the prosecution, pitting himself and his faith against the renowned defense attorney Clarence Darrow. Journalists descend in a frenzy, thrusting the town and its citizens into the national spotlight. And when George joins the team defending Scopes, Annabel begins to question both her beliefs and her vows.

As the ongoing trial divides neighbor against neighbor, it also divides the Craigs in unexpected ways. But in the midst of these conflicts—one waged in an open courtroom, the other behind closed doors—Annabel will discover that the path to her own evolution begins with the courage to think for herself.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Lisa Grunwald has created a luminous heroine in Annabel Craig, a woman finding her way in a fast-changing world, forced to question everything she loves and stands for, from her choice of a husband to her spiritual beliefs. Eerily resonant in today's troubled times, this is a magnificent, page-turning story full of heart and bursting with empathy." - Fiona Davis

"Beloved author Lisa Grunwald puts readers in the center of the real-life trial that divided a town and captivated a nation. Sensitive, poignant, and full of heart, this is a tale that feels both important and inevitable. We all studied the Scopes Trial in school, but Grunwald's retelling is stunningly timely and relevant for today." - Allison Pataki

"Lisa Grunwald is a national treasure and The Evolution of Annabel Craig is proof. Annabel, the voice of this splendid novel, is feisty, curious, and a survivor. When the historic Scopes Trial unfolds in her hometown, Dayton, Tennessee, her citizens, or Annabel will never be the same. When Annabel's beliefs are challenged and her faith in love is tested, she finds her truth. This is an essential American story from a master craftsman." - Adriana Trigiani

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