The story is set in the early 1700s and centers around the intrepid Hester Prynne, who has had a baby, named Pearl, by a man other than her husband. She faces public humiliation and ostracization from her strict Puritan town, and is forced into exile into the forest at the edge of town. Her husband, Roger Chillingworth, is determined to seek revenge against the father of the child- who Hester stubbornly keeps a secret. As the entire town grows rife with rumors, it becomes clear that everyone in this story has something to hide.
I liked the book- Nathaniel Hawthorne described a very tantalizing story of love, guilt, and betrayal. Even though it was fairly easy to deduce just from the first few chapters who the father was, it was still an okay read. I would definitely recommend a simplified version to anyone younger than high school- the archaic English becomes very thick and complicated in many places throughout the story. Still, as a cornerstone of classic American literature, I would recommend that everyone read it at least once.