When young Tom Sparrow falls in love with Susan Ridley his dad insists that no good will come of it. Her family belongs to a strict religious sect and they disapprove of all outsiders. Against the odds their friendship develops until the time when Tom is all set to go to university and Susan is free at last to escape from her family’s religion and move to Manchester with Tom. What stopped her? Why was she no longer around?
Thirty years later when he is contemplating a change of career, the Ridley’s old house, tucked away in the forest, comes up for sale. It is just what he wants – though he isn’t sure about Melanie, a young woman who also has an interest in the house. Otherwise it is perfect for his plans for a new life back where he has his roots. As he prepares to move in he discovers something hidden away in an outbuilding and at last he begins to learn the truth of what happened all those years before.
Leaving Gilead is the story of two women’s struggles to build new lives after growing up in a religion that promotes irrational belief and conformity with arbitrary rules above above personal development.