by Marta Perry, has both the hero and heroine as each other’s
defenders. The story skillfully explores how children feel
they are to blame for the sins of their parents, and what
happens when secrets are revealed that have the birth parents
possibly coming back into a child’s life All this comes
into play, intertwined within the Amish culture
The author noted, “This will be a three-book series.
Each of the characters created will have contrasting personalities.
I enjoy writing and informing readers about the Amish culture.
I put in this quote, “To be Amish means knowing who
you were and what your place was in the world. It meant a
life bounded by the church, home, and family.” Faith
is first, then family, and finally, community. The strong
extended family stays in close proximity.”
The main character, Joanna Kohler, the Bishop’s daughter,
discovers a mysterious unconscious woman lying on the stairs
to her apartment. This opens the door to the story’s
mystery: who is she, how was she hurt, and what long-kept
secrets will be revealed about Joanna’s life. Her neighbor,
Noah Troyer, comes to help out and points out the resemblance
between Joanna and the woman.
“I wrote her as more independent and assertive than
most Amish women. She has a strong sense of responsibility
and handles problems head-on. Her maturity allows her to balance
her culture with the contemporary American culture. Her bravery
and protectiveness come through strongly. Contrast her with
the injured woman; Joanna feels some connection with her.
On the service, the injured woman appears more sophisticated.
She is younger than Joanna, so not as mature and excepts people
at face value. Unlike, Joanna, she has no family support,
so she is much more vulnerable.”
He also has his own problems, trying to overcome the shame
his father brought on the family, as a drunken abuser of his
wife and children. Noah had struggled with feelings of inadequacy
for most of his life. He felt that the community judged him
for his father’s sins and interpreted everything based
on that viewpoint. He is afraid to have any relationship,
fearing that he inherited his father’s violent nature.
As he and Joanna unearth answers about her past, Noah will
have to confront his own, as he tries to protect her from
“I wanted to show how Noah is afraid he is like his
father. Because father abused his mother and family, Noah
lives with his father’s bad reputation. Overall, Noah
is protective, responsible, self-contained, an introvert,
reserved, determined, and caring. He fears the closeness of
marriage because of who his father was. Yet, there is a strong
attraction between him and Joanna. The relationship starts
out as acquaintances, moves to a strong friendship, and then
gradually turns into love.”
As with all her stories, Perry is able to combine Amish culture
within a small-town setting. These Amish amateur sleuths allow
for a riveting mystery with likable characters.