Ms. Harper's tale is full of twists and turns, though some might find the plot somewhat convoluted. She does, however, masterfully show readers a piece of our American past that few are even aware of.
When Kate Marburn's embezzling husband unexpectedly kills himself, she and her stepdaughter, Erin, are left to pick up the pieces. So Kate and Erin have moved to Sarah Denbigh's guesthouse. Kate is keeping the home and acting as the old woman's companion. But when Sarah is been murdered, Kate is once again at the center of controversy.
To stay afloat, Kate accepts a position as a the rose tender at Shaker Run, a historic settlement designed for tourists. There she meets Jack Kilcourse, who seems to share similar values and her love of the past.
But Kate discovers she might have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire at Shaker Run.
Workers are asked to live as the Shakers did to take on the personality of original members of the village. Although mysterious, Jack is her only ally in town and the two are thrown together to uncover some strange truths.
(May, 408 pp., $6.50)