When Trish and Molly Mackintosh trade their usual vacation of “beach, book, and booze” for the desert of western China, at least one of the sisters is certain the trip will end in disaster. The Chinese desert is hot, it’s disturbingly remote, and the girls might not have packed enough hand-wipes. Plus they left a dying mother back in Ohio. Falling in love with a pair of traveling New York cops seems serendipitous at the outset, but the girls soon find their lives entwined around the parallel dramas of heartbreak and participation in a crime. Their trip to China is only the beginning of a period of soul-searching and crisis. Witty and breezy, at times dark and unsettling, A Lover Will Take You Closer to God examines two women who are utter opposites: journalist Trish, nervous and hearing-impaired, whose struggles drive her into prescription-pill abuse; and schoolteacher Molly, a carefree smart aleck who battles her own substance-abuse demon. Most of all, it is a tale of love: the irreducible love of two sisters, a bond not even the worst tragedy and sharpest pain could sever.