In this third volume of his Women of Genesis series, Orson Scott Card paints a vivid picture of the intertwined lives of four celebrated women. We meet Leah, the oldest daughter of Laban, whose "tender eyes" prevent her from fully participating in the daily work of her nomadic family, and Rachel, the spoiled younger daughter, the petted and privileged beauty of the family -- or so it seems to Leah.
There is also Bilhah, an orphan who is not quite a slave but not really a family member, a young woman desperately searching to fit in, and Zilpah, who knows only how to use her beauty to manipulate men as she strives to secure for herself something better than the life of drudgery and servitude into which she has been born.
Into the desert camp comes Jacob, a handsome and charismatic kinsman who is clearly destined to be Rachel's husband. But that doesn't prevent the other women from vying for his attention.
Tracing their lives from childhood to maturity, Card shows how these women change each other -- and are changed again by the holy books that Jacob brings with him. Ambition, jealousy, fear, and love motivate them as they vie for the attention of Jacob, heir to the spiritual birthright of Abraham and Isaac.