EXCERPT: She didn’t sleep. Hadn’t slept through the night in a long time. There was too much darkness, not the kind that was restful. At dawn, when her mamm peeked into her bedroom and told her it was time to feed the animals and get ready for worship, she was already awake, waiting. Ready.
Ever the obedient daughter, she pulled on her dress, tugged her hair into a bun, and covered her head with her kapp. Stepping into her winter tights and sneakers, she left her room and took the steps down to the living room. She avoided the kitchen where she could hear her mamm clanging breakfast dishes and frying sausage, and went out through the side door and into the cold. The morning was wet and gray, drizzle floating down from a sky the colour of iron. Once in the barn, she tossed hay to the horses, filled their water buckets, dumped scratch into the chicken feeder, and gathered six brown eggs.
She’d never lied to her parents. Not once in all of her seventeen years. But when Mamm told her to get cleaned up for worship, she complained that she’d been sick and throwing up half the night. Mamm wasn’t pleased that she would miss such an important day. But what could she say?
Morning chores complete, she went back to her room and lay down on her bed. She stared at the ceiling and listened to the sounds of the house. The voices of her younger siblings. The scrape of silverware against plates. The silence while the gebet nach dem essen or prayer after meal was recited. The slamming of the door when her datt went out to harness the buggy horse. The pound of feet on the wood floor when the little ones went out to help.
Oh, how she would miss them.
ABOUT ‘A GATHERING OF SECRETS’: When a historic barn burns to the ground in the middle of the night, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate. At first, it looks like an accident, but when the body of eighteen-year-old Daniel Gingerich is found inside—burned alive—Kate suspects murder. Who would want a well-liked, hardworking young Amish man dead?
Kate delves into the investigation only to find herself stonewalled by the community to which she once belonged. Is their silence a result of the Amish tenet of separation? Or is this peaceful and deeply religious community conspiring to hide a truth no one wants to talk about? Kate doubles down only to discover a plethora of secrets and a chilling series of crimes that shatters everything she thought she knew about her Amish roots—and herself.
As Kate wades through a sea of suspects, she’s confronted by her own violent past and an unthinkable possibility.
MY THOUGHTS: I enjoy this series based around an ex-Amish Chief of Police, Kate Burkholder. This is the tenth of the series, and although they all basically follow the same formula – a crime is committed, usually against an Amish person/family, and Kate has her work cut out for her investigating it as no one wants to talk to her. She endangers her own life in the process, but by combining forces with John Tomasetti, her not so secret lover and agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, she solves the case. As I said, although they basically all follow the same formula, Castillo manages to keep the writing fresh and interesting, with no two cases alike. I have yet to guess the identity of the killer/s before Kate.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this very unusual and heartwrenching case that gets very personal for Kate. While the resolution left me stunned, part of me was also cheering on the perpetrator. It’s one of those moral dilemmas – which was the greater wrong?
Kathleen McInerney does, as always, a wonderful job of narrating A Gathering of Secrets.
I am always eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series, and I certainly hope that #11 is not too far away.
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THE AUTHOR: In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses, particularly her appaloosa George. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.
DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of A Gathering of Secrets written by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, and published by Macmillan Audio via Overdrive and Libby. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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