Once again, evil invades the orderly world of the Ohio Amish as history professor Michael Braden (Clouds Without Rain, 2001, etc.) straddles the divide between the sacred and the profane.
Born Amish, Martha Lehman suffered an unspeakable trauma as a toddler that left her an elective mute for years. Now, with the help of minister Cal Troyer, her family has become Mennonite, and she’s enrolled at Millersburg College, where art professor Phillips Royce found her so talented he offered her a tutorial in photography. Despite the disapproval of her old friend John Schlabaugh, she even has an English (that is, non-Amish) boyfriend, Sonny Favor, whose socialite mother’s generous gifts to the college have president Arne Laughton dancing attendance, along with department heads like Royce, Braden, Dick Pomeroy, Carol Jenkins, Elizabeth Williams, and Rebecca Wilhite. But when Juliet Favor is killed, Martha stops talking, and her old therapist, Dr. Evelyn White Carson, tries teaming up with Braden’s wife Caroline to help restore her voice. Now Michael must balance many loyalties—to his wife, to his good friend, Sheriff Bruce Robertson, and to his employer—as he tries to unravel mysteries past and present.
Gaus’s eye for detail gives depth and power to a simple tale about complicated people.