Lead Us Not - The Synopsis
Mary Margaret is a middle-aged woman who stumbles upon Norbert Dodger, the man of her dreams, in a tiny, forgotten Mississippi town called Temptation. She always knew she was destined for big things but this was ridiculous. She lands in town completely by accident, but, to her, it is nothing less than divine intervention.
Norbert Dodger feels like he is making a difference. About 600 people live in Temptation now, but not so long ago, the town boasted over 2,000 residents. A big, fancy, four-lane highway was built in the late 1970’s for people to get from Memphis to the Mississippi casinos or the Gulf in half the time. Nobody had to be in Temptation much anymore and, one by one, businesses have closed up and people have moved away.
Over the past decade or so, it has become a quiet, close-knit, and very poor community. Norbert has dedicated himself to keeping the town from stagnating and suffocating completely. He runs The Absolution Mission, the only Catholic charity for hundreds of miles. He is proud of his 30-year stint there and has done well by the people, especially after the “bypass”, as the redirection of their traffic came to be called. He has definitely eaten more than his fair share of homemade pecan or peach or apple pies, all brought to him on an almost daily basis as tokens of appreciation and admiration.
At fifty, Norbert is satisfied with his life. He has a rewarding job, a leadership position in the Our Lady of the Assumption Church he founded years ago, good friends, a beautiful wife and five grown or almost-grown kids, each headed down the right path. Also, he has just hired a lovely young man named Stephen to learn the ropes at the Mission. Norbert’s wife thinks it’s about time for him to think about working a little less and maybe even retiring early.
But all that is about to change. Mary Margaret quickly realizes that Norbert has no idea what he has there in Temptation, and, most importantly, what he could have: her. But she is going to show him. She will introduce him to a new life – one with money and power and freedom – and she will make him love her for it.
In her relentless pursuit, she will affect hundreds of people. She changes the lives of the people in and around Temptation. She changes the man she loves and she changes her best friend, Harry, who unwittingly brought her to Temptation in the first place. Her nightly gratitude prayer to God always starts with a tribute to the divine blessing of Harry in her life. Poor Harry is the fool born to be used. He never realizes that, without him, things wouldn’t go so badly.
For everyone except Mary Margaret, that is.
Lead Us Not is a story of southern corruption, greed, religious irony, unrequited love, and, sadly, the devastating effects one devout woman can have on so many good people.