Dreaming of Heroes

Dreaming of Heroes

A Novel

by Susan Richards Shreve


Even as a child, Jamie refuses to back away from trouble. Given her temperament and the events of her adolescence and young womanhood, Jamie’s decision to be a ordained a priest in defiance of the canons of the Episcopal Church is perhaps inevitable. But her two great romantic passions, first for Olympic runner Douglas McIntire and then for Father Nicholas Seymour, the Bishop of Washington’s National Cathedral, make her a woman of the earth as well as of the spirit. And the series of homes she establishes for redemption of child prostitutes provides further evidence of the worldly side of her character. But only after she understands the threat that she herself poses to others can Jamie achieve the fulfillment she seeks.


Elizabeth Waters, standing on the front porch of her father’s house, opened the Halloween issue of the Lakeview Daily Citizen to a picture that looked exactly like her husband, who according to a telegram from President Roosevelt, had died at the invasion of Normandy. Underneath the picture the caption read: “Congressional aide Michael Spenser of Waco, Texas, hospitalized with minor wounds blocking assasin’s attempt on President Truman’s life at the House of Representatives.”


It was the last day of bright autumn sun before winter, the color of mildew, settled on central Ohio. Elizabeth, still in her robe, walked off the front porch to look more carefully at the picture in direct light. She was sure it was a photo of James Kendall Waters — the same deep cleft in his chin that their daughter, Jamie, had, the same broad, high forehead and dark eyes without a center. She had an accurate memory for detail. Besides, since 1942 she had dreamed herself to sleep imagining remarkable lives for them to live together.

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