Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. The war ends without further word. Now penniless, in debt, and forced from her home, Carlyn seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, only to discover that they will not allow her to keep her beloved dog, an animal that has been her faithful companion since her husband went off to war. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie has pity on the lovely young woman and agrees to take the dog. Carlyn is just settling into life as a sister in the Shaker village when she receives a devastating letter confirming her worst fears. As she wrestles with whether to commit herself fully to the Shaker life, mysterious deaths begin to occur, and Carlyn comes under suspicion. Can Sheriff Mitchell help her expose the true culprit?
I think this is the first book I have read featuring the Shakers. All I really knew is that they were famous for their plain furniture. This is a Christian fiction book set right after the War between the states. Carlyn does not know if she is a widow since her husband did not come back from or send word. The government also has no clue. She has no money and owes on her house. Unfortunately her landlord is a horrible evil man and is trying to put her out. Back then unmarried/widow women did not have very many options. She lives by a Shaker settlement and knows they take in almost anybody because it is their way. She meets Sheriff Mitchell Brodie for the first time when the landlord has him come with him to give her warning to vacate her house. He ends having to take her dog because the Shakers allow no pets. He is taken with the lovely widow and wants to help in anyway he can. Mysterious deaths start happening at the Shaker village where she is having trouble fitting in. He comes to investigate and check on her. I know without a shadow of doubt I do not want to be a Shaker now. The author does a great job with descriptions and background without bogging the book down. I loved the relationship between Carlyn and Mitch. The book had a great mysterious/suspense feeling to it too. It was not a completely traditional historical fiction book which I liked. The book held my attention from beginning to end. Recommended.
Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. She's published over twenty-five books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Christian Fiction Book by Booklist magazine. Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life. See more about her books at www.annhgabhart.com.
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.