Catherine Brekus introduces us to a disturbing, heartbreaking and improbably inspiring life. Sarah Osborn’s early years were an unending series of afflictions made worse by the austere Calvinism of her family and church. Born in England in 1714, Sarah emigrated to America with her parents, who settled in Rhode Island. Her parents emphasized her sinfulness to such an extent that she interpreted any misfortune as God’s just punishment. When, at the age of eight, she stumbled into the fire and burned her right hand, she believed that God had chastised her for playing on the Sabbath.