When an inquisitive teen returns to her birthplace to meet her fiance, she uncovers a bizarre mystery surrounding her mother’s grave, unleashing disturbing buried secrets.
Since her mother’s death, 17-year-old Verity Boone has lived happily with her aunt in Worcester, Mass. She returns to Catawissa, Penn., in 1867 to meet Nate McClure, the farmer who successfully wooed her with his letters. Verity’s initially disappointed and wonders if Nate’s really more interested in her father’s farm. Compared to the dashing local doctor who barely hides his attraction to Verity, Nate seems dull, even though locals openly resent her for winning the eligible bachelor. As she sorts through her true feelings for Nate, Verity’s shocked to discover her mother and aunt buried outside the town cemetery in graves enclosed in metal cages. Why were her mother and aunt ostracized in death? Was it to protect them from body snatchers or grave robbers? Were they suspected of witchcraft? Determined to find the truth, Verity investigates, exposing community prejudices and twisted family secrets that lead her to a perilous confrontation and stunning revelations. Salerni grounds her story in local Revolutionary War lore, creates a spirited heroine with enough self-reflection to feel convincing and crafts a suspenseful plot that skirts sensationalism.
This unusual romantic mystery stands out. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)