Cover Her Body
By Eleanor Sullivan
Yesteryear Press, A Wyatt-MacKenzie Imprint
October 1, 2011, $14.99
Paperback, 312 pages
I love it when the very first page of a novel takes me to a different time and place so successfully that it’s disconcerting to look up and find myself back in the present again. “A fleeting sensation of guilt washed over her. No good Separatist would sneak out for an unsanctioned outing.” There, on the bottom of the first page, we already sense the beginning of trouble.
I was first introduced to Eleanor’s work in Assumed Dead, a Monica Everhardt medical mystery. Having long since been a fan of Cherry Ames, from Student Nurse and beyond, I enjoyed the nursing elements of the series. Here, Eleanor has reached into her own past to the stories she grew up with about her grandfather and the separatist movement. He had his own little clan in the Zoar, Ohio area. She did her due diligence in research and created a fictionalized version of that village and soon a storyline sprang to life.
In Cover Her Body, Adelaide is a young midwife and herbalist, following the footsteps of Emma, her teacher. But Adelaide is young, and somewhat willful. She’s not inclined to follow blindly the instructions of her elders, and often questions things she probably shouldn’t. When she discovers the dead body of one of the young village women, she’s horrified to find that the girl was pregnant, and even more shocked when it seems the village elders don’t want to believe there might have been foul play.
Inevitably, the more questions Adelaide asks, the more questions she raises and while that part of the plot is somewhat predictable,
the novel is so atmospheric and the characters so genuine it’s a pleasure to accompany them on this journey.
Eleanor Sullivan is a talented writer, and I believe this new series shows a great deal of promise. I’m looking forward to seeing where it will go.