by Marta Perry flawlessly intertwines a mystery with contemporary
themes, while giving a sprinkling of the Amish culture. She
illuminates the differences between the Amish community and
the larger urban society.
The author noted, “I wanted to write something that
would dramatize the modern life of the character against the
quiet secluded farm life. I have always lived in areas where
there are Amish. Readers enjoy it because they can react to
the complexity of their modern life. They enjoy reading about
those who live in the contemporary world but have a much simpler
life. I have spoken with some Amish who say, ‘if you
like our reliance on family, rely on yours or build one; if
you like the fact we are interconnected within our community,
do it in your community.’ I think many wish they had
the simpler existence, similar to when they were growing up.”
The plot begins with new divorcee Rachel Hartline attempting
to touch base with her ex-husband, Paul, to discuss putting
their home up for sale. After catching him trying to download
some sensitive company information things go very awry for
her. First, she must deal with Paul’s disappearance,
and then a private investigator, Clint Mordan, hired by the
CEO to locate the flash drive, suspects her of being a likely
participant in her husband’s scheme. After having her
house broken into, turned upside down, and having her life
threatened she decides to seek the haven of her grandparents.
They are Amish, and Rachel knows she will be safe with them.
As Clint follows Rachel from Philadelphia to the tiny Amish
community of Echo Falls, Pennsylvania, he figures out that
whatever loyalty Rachel might still feel, it doesn’t
include lying or covering up for her ex-husband. As he and
his partner hit dead ends, he wonders why their client is
keeping them in the dark and becomes more protective of Rachel.
As they begin to trust each other, both realize that there
are few people they can trust to ensure Rachel does not become
a murder victim.
Because of her past experiences, Rachel has trust issues.
Outwardly she tries to give an air of independence, but deep
down she is very vulnerable. She has been let down by the
ones who should love and care for her the most. Rachel is
a loyal, resilient, considerate, and generous person. These
traits she learned during her summers at the Amish farm with
her grandparents, where her former Amish mother would send
“I wrote Rachel’s profession as a Kindergarten
teacher, and I based her on some of the wonderful, kind ones
I knew. As a traditionalist, she is devastated by the fact
that she couldn’t make her marriage work, always thinking
she would marry for life Those people in her life that are
close to her let her down, a big element in the formation
of her personality. Although conscientious she has trust issues,
including trusting her instincts. I do not think she is as
independent as she assumes. For instance, when she realizes
she is in trouble and needs help, she doesn’t flee to
the nearest big city where she can disappear, but goes back
to what represents home to her, the Amish community, seeking
security and safety.”
Clint compliments Rachel. At first, he seemed like a cold,
calculated, and tough man, someone goal oriented with no sympathy.
Rachel’s Amish family recognizes that beneath that hard
exterior is a considerate, kind, gentle, and fiercely protective
Perry commented, “He is motivated by a sense of duty.
He is a very righteous person who believes in duty first and
honor above all. Unlike Rachel, he was raised in a very secure
and stable environment. Clint is haunted by the fact he felt
he let his police partner down and is determined that now
as a private investigator it will not happen again to Rachel.
He would not talk about this issue because he is uncomfortable
talking about his feelings, forcing Rachel to develop a short
hand to figure out what is going on with his emotions.”
Perry does a great job of balancing the family element within
a suspenseful plot, which has moments of fear, dread, and
tension. Once the first page is turned, readers will be hooked,
as they must navigate all the different twists thrown at them.