The morning of Oct. 2, 2006, was sunny and warm, Monville recalls, the trees in her rural neighborhood radiant with red and golden leaves.
Monville, then Marie Roberts, was living her deepest childhood dreams. At 28, she had a vibrant church community and spiritual life, a dutiful husband who doted on their three young children and a home next-door to her grandparents in idyllic Lancaster, Penn., where she was born and raised.
Charlie Roberts, her husband of nearly a decade, drove a truck that delivered milk to nearby dairies, just as Marie's family had done for generations. He sometimes brooded over the death of their first daughter, who was born three months premature and died after just 20 minutes, but he usually pulled out from these bouts of depression.
On the morning of the shooting, Marie led a prayer group at a local church, where they asked God to keep schoolchildren safe. Then, as usual, she and Charlie walked their two oldest children, then 7 and 5, to the bus stop, kissing them goodbye before Charlie left for work.
At 11 a.m., as Marie was pouring herself a cup of coffee, Charlie called.
"I had never heard Charlie's voice sound like that before," Monville writes, "not in almost 10 years of marriage. Something was horribly wrong."
Charlie told Marie he was not coming home. He left a note explaining everything, he said. Marie pleaded with him to come home, but he hung up.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, Charlie also told Marie he had molested young family members two decades before and had daydreamed of doing so again. Monville said she left that out of her new book because police found the claims to be false.
"Charlie said a lot of things on the phone or the letter that didn't make a lot of sense," Monville said in an interview. "His mind was filled with all of the things he was planning to do, so he wasn't in a place of being OK."
The three-page letter Charlie left for Marie said she was the perfect wife, but the death of their firstborn child made him enraged at God.
"I am sorry to put you and the kids in this position but I feel that this is the best and only way," Charlie wrote. "I love all of you and this is why am I doing this."
Marie called 911. Sirens wailed in the distance. Hanging up the phone, she stood in the living room, staring at her ceiling fan, and prayed.
Monville calls this her "walk on water" moment, recalling when Jesus challenged the disciples to show their faith by following his footsteps across the Sea of Galilee.
"I was faced with two choices, and only two," she said.
"I could choose to believe that everything written about God in the pages of the Word were true, and that he was going to rescue me and my family. Or I could choose to believe that we were going down like the fastest sinking ship."
The falling flower
Raised a churchgoer in deeply religious Lancaster County, where churches far outnumber bars, Monville said she always enjoyed a close relationship with God, hearing his voice call to her, feeling his embrace during prayer and worship.
Even after the death of her firstborn, whom they named Elise, and a later failed pregnancy, Monville said she kept hoping that God held better days in store. But Charlie's faith faltered, and he shrugged off her pleas to talk to a pastor, counselor or friend about his deepening depression.
"He was angry at God, which I didn't realize in those days," Monville said. "I just thought he wasn't connected to the Lord in the ways I was. The harder I pushed, the more he withdrew."
Counselors later said that Charlie Roberts likely suffered for years with untreated clinical depression over the death of Elise, which led to a psychotic break with reality, Monville said.
"I did not know the man who went into the schoolhouse and did the things he did there," she said. "I did not know that Charlie."
Counselors told Monville that depression is hard to diagnose, especially when a sufferer is trying hard to hide it. "There were a lot of things I asked myself," Monville said. "How did I not see this? What are the signs I missed?"
Those questions didn't yield easy answers, just more difficult questions, she said: How could God allow this to happen? What should she tell her children? Would people hold her responsible for Charlie's actions? Could she rebuild her life in Lancaster?
The community -- including the Amish -- showered her family with gifts, meals and love after the shooting, Monville recalls. They said hello on the way to the bus stop, dropped by to see if she needed groceries, encouraged her to stay in Lancaster.
Still, Monville had always been a middle child, shyly hoping she could somehow escape the world's gaze. Now she was the center of attention, with news vans parked in her neighborhood and reporters prowling around her yard.