A Deadly Shaker Spring
By Deborah Woodworth

Avon, 1998, 298 pages

Reviewed by J. Ashley (12/98)

Odd things are happening in the North Homage Shaker Community in Languor, Kentucky. Preserves have been stolen, a fence broken, animals released, a dog drugged... And someone has crept up behind young Sister Sarah and struck her unconscious. Sister Rose Callahan, trustee and now eldress to the Shaker community, must confront the vandalism and hate literature against Shakers at the same time she must deal with her new position as eldress.

Rose discovers that these incidents are repetitions of things that happened 20 years before, and she begins to investigate a murder from the "year that faith died." As she delves into the past, she uncovers frightening secrets, and, this being a murder mystery, more murders occur.

This is the second book in the Sister Rose series, and what I would call a "gentle read," though there is murder, intrigue, and betrayal a-plenty. I liked that the author didn't hold up the Shaker community as a perfect society, nor did she portray it as something alien. The Shakers have problems with their faith that Sister Rose is sympathetic to, but she has pledged to uphold the Shaker covenant, and sometimes must choose between her obligations and her heart. I liked her practicality and common sense approach to life, and I look forward to reading more books about Sister Rose.

This is the second in the Sister Rose series; the first is Death of a Winter Shaker.

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