I feel that I probably missed a lot of the significance and symbolism in this book due to my lack of knowledge and understanding about modern Irish culture. Especially as it concerns the conflicts between North and South, and between Catholics and Protestants. I was still able to enjoy the book, and appreciate it on many levels, but some of it I found just plain confusing because of that lack of knowledge. So I suppose that's sort of a disclaimer for anyone who wants to read this book.
The story is that of Ellen, a Northerner and Episcopalian, who is a Healer. At first she does not know that she can heal, she just knows that she sees things, sometimes things that cause such problems in her mind and heart, she ends up hospitalized until she is sane again. After she is released, she meets Liam, a Catholic from the south, an artist who she feels drawn to. She leaves her home and destructive marriage, and follows him south. Ellen is such a solitary person, and her differences from those she now lives among do not help her to connect to anyone. As her healing power gets stronger, she must learn how to live with it. It is only when she is called back home, where she has not been for over ten years, that she begins to learn about being comfortable with herself.