The Hour I First Believed : When 47-year-old teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife Maureen, a nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Maureen finds herself in the school library, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk ancestors, from the time of the Civil War to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long buried fear, anger, guilt and grief rise to the surface. As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. The Hour I First Believed is a profound and compelling work of fiction.