I loved Strout's Olive Kitteridge, so I had high hopes for one of her earlier novels--her second--Abide by Me. The characters are engaging and fall in live with the type we meet in Olive Kitteridge--New England folks trying to get by in life. In this book, the characters live in a small town and their new preacher--Tyler--becomes a part of the community only to have his relationship with them--and his family and God--strained with a tragedy. IN a few place, Strout surprises the reader with a twist that shocks, given the setting; however, one of the gems in the book is how we see that no matter where you live, you experience the same dramas. We have the high dramas--questioning our jobs, spirituality--but also the more mundane (at least from the outside looking in--one character's quest to secure a new organ for the church. The pacing is brisk, the language is wonderful, and the characters will keep you engaged from beginning to end.