Raised by an oppressively evangelical mother, Jeanette grows up a good little Christian soldier, even going so far as to stitch samplers whose apocalyptic themes terrify her classmates. As she dryly notes, without self-pity or smugness, ``This tendency towards the exotic has brought me many problems, just as it did for William Blake.'' Jeanette would have remained in the fold but for her unconventional desires; though she can reconcile her love of women with her love of God, the church cannot. It could have been a grim tale, but this first novelwinner of England's Whitbread Prizeis in fact a wry and tender telling of a young girl's triumphantly coming into her own. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''