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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I love action/mystery stories that feature strong women. Generally I don't read historical fiction because, well, I miss the fingerprints and cell phones. But the description of "Cover" sounded so interesting that I decided to give it a try and I am very glad that I did. This novel works on every level: the reader learns about a period of history that most are probably unfamiliar with; the whodunnit portion is as well done as any I have read; and the main character demonstrates a way of getting things done when, perhaps, you are not the one - in this case even the class - with any real power. Since our power relationships always put us below someone or some group, we can all learn from Adelaide. "Cover" is one of the very few works of fiction which I am likely to read again, perhaps more than once, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Having just visited Zoar, Ohio this summer and also being a descendant I was eager to read Cover Her Body in hopes of getting a historical peek into the lives of my ancestors. This was such an enjoyable read and a great little mystery that I had to remind myself that I was reading fiction. Eleanor stirred the village of Zoar and her characters (both factual and imagined) to life in an exciting tale of murder, redemption and forgiveness. Will be looking forward to more Eleanor Sullivan stories in the future. Recommend!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Eleanor Sullivan's Cover Her Body is a historical Murder Mystery set in 1830's Zoar, Ohio. A Separatist community follows strict rules, as many religious sects stemming from Old World countries. However, history is filled with instances where such strict adherence is not only an obstacle to law and order, but the actually the cause of life-threatening actions. In Sullivan's tale of religious rules, young love, murder, women's struggle for equality, and self-awareness, there is nothing lacking.

Adelaide, the main character and hero, is a young married woman struggling with an awakening of the world around her, and an opening and expanding mind; when she comes upon the reality that her dear friend's daughter has been murdered. Determined to find the killer, she is relentless in her search for the truth of what happened, and at the same time, discovers that the flickers of self-doubt that plague her are unwarranted.

The characters are a rich tapestry of vivid and vibrant workmanship. Each may be woven of Fiction, but form a reality that is impenetrable by the reader's mind and eyes. Head to foot creative artistry is abound as the tale unfolds, and readers attempt to follow the clues Adelaide is putting together to solve the crime that only she is willing to accept as a reality.

The plot is interesting and tantalizing to the senses. Erected in the simplistic countryside of Ohio, the tale is anything but basic. It holds a multitude of layers and stories within the main tale. A reader will never be bored with this novel, although it bears careful reading, if for no other reason than the reader's attempt to solve the crime before Adelaide.

I do not make a habit out of reading Mystery, and have been known, at times, to avoid the genre do to the monotonous repetition of story line and plot devices. That said, I was not only pleasantly surprised by the familiar yet fresh feel of this novel, that I found myself enveloped by the author work and eager to continue the read until end. I would definitely recommend this work to any reader eager for a worthy and engrossing experience.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
During its history, the United States has periodically seen the rise of religious movements of various kinds. Sweeping westward, religion followed the colonization of the land by emigrants from Europe. In the early nineteenth century, one such revival brought colonies of survivalists from Central Europe seeking relief from the persecution of powerful main-stream religions. One such small group came from Wurttemberg, Germany in 1817, with help from Quakers in England. They called themselves the Society of Separatists. Under the leadership of a single charismatic leader named Joseph Belmer, they became a strict religious group, tightly bound, with many rules of conduct that people today would find oppressive and questionable. That is the background for this excellent historical crime novel.

The author is a descendent of the founder of Zoar, where the members of the Society of Separatists established their village on five thousand acres of owned land on Northeastern Ohio. When the novel opens it is 1830 and the village has completed the digging of a portion of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Redemption and self-denial are fundamental beliefs of the society, such that no one travels alone, children are housed in dormitories and life is strictly regulated. A free-thinking woman like Adelaide, principal character in the well-written novel, is seen as a disturbing influence. When she finds a young village woman dead in the nearby river, an apparent suicide, the village is thrown into turmoil and the specter of outsiders is immediately raised. Adelaide, trying to adhere to the society's principles but still determined to do the right thing by her dead friend, represents a danger to the leaders of the community.

Subsequent events and the persistence of Adelaide lead to greater disruption and a series of decisions that are able to calm the villagers yet create moral dilemmas. The sense of place is strong and the characters always meet the test of believability. Readers will come away from this novel with new understanding of the role of some women in a very specific society, but with lessons for our broader, modern society in which we all live. Strongly recommended, I look forward to more life lessons of tolerance and thoughtful beliefs from this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Cover Her Body

Eleanor Sullivan
Leaving her home Adelaide to go to her favorite spot by the river she never expect to come upon the scene that would change not only her life but many others. A vision, a body in the water that was all tangled up come into view and she, although fearful of the water Adelaide went in to bring the body to safety hoping the person would be alive. What she did find and uncover was a young girl, Johanna Applegate, who was dead and the reaction of the people and those in charge was anything but compassionate. Belonging to the Separatists she knew she had broken the rules by going out by herself. The head demanded she prepare the body and the burial happen right away. Telling her parents would be the job of this one man and the way they would be told his doing too. But, the reason for her death has yet to be revealed as there is much more that remains to be seen. Adelaide is a young midwife who works in a small village called Zoar. The year is 1833. The Separatists run this village and the death of young Johanna has been deemed an accident but Adelaide thinks otherwise. She thinks it is murder. Found dead in the river she relates what she saw but the Zoarists, a group of Germans who came to America to escape religious persecution formed a communal society and worked for the state of Ohio digging canals.

Realizing from the onset that Johanna did not drown, Adelaide will stop at nothing to learn the truth and why she was killed. The Separatists are not too thrilled with her and Adelaide is on a quest to find her killer. But, first she would have to convince her mother that something was wrong with her death and keep Gerda, her sister from asking too many questions. Gerda, cold hearted, unfeeling and not wanting Johanna to be buried in fine clothes or prepared properly, seemed to not care that her niece was gone. The burial scene bone chilling and upsetting if not cold. The Separatists never believed in killing and refused to accept that her death was anything but an accident. As Adelaide was preparing the body for burial, Gerda, the sister of the teen's mother appeared ambivalent, coldhearted and annoyed that any special care was being taken to bury the girl with dignity and love. During the cleansing of the body Adelaide makes a startling discovery and feels that she might have caused the death of this young teen with an herbal remedy she gave her. In order to follow their procedure she informs their leader of her findings and her thoughts about the teen's death. But, before she speaks with a close friend who instructs her to do exactly that, report what she thinks. However, the end result is a community meeting that goes in a direction that she predicted would happen but not the one anyone would really want. Openly accused by one of the members of causing her death and his wife's grief losing her sister, Adelaide is in danger of being an outcast and many more.

The incident remains an accident according the leader and no more is to be said or done about it. But, Adelaide will not quit until she finds answers for the dead teen. As the author allows the reader to get to know Johanna you hear from many characters including her sister, Brigit that she was carefree, fun loving and rarely did a day's work. She broke the rule and lived life her way. Added into the story is a doctor who might cause more damage to his patients than her simple herbal remedies, one woman named Gerda who was in charge of the girl's infirmary and whose actions were bordered on abusive and got away with it.
Rumors were flying, more accusations made and Adelaide was more determined to learn the truth about Johanna's death and about her own people. Martin wanted to outlaw marriage and Simon wanted to take the seat on the trustees away from Nathan. Their heritage questioned, a preacher who called them all sinners and some who thought his ideals right and others who realized he was creating dissension. Who would win out? Who really killed Johanna and why? Why did Gerda threaten Adelaide and claim she would wind up like Johanna?

But, thinks start to heat up for not just Adelaide but for her community too as a Constable is sent for to investigate the death of the teen and her workroom is destroyed by an intruder and Adelaide is even more determined to find out why. Jakob was in love with Johanna. Martin, Gerda, Simon, August and many others are on her list of suspects. I cannot tell you why. Some men not allowing her to tend to their wives and children others ignoring what the doctor states about her. Many realizing his ways are wrong and will only hurt the patient. Some members of the community thinking changes are necessary in more ways than just medical care.

An inquest into the death would change things for Adelaide and bring to light what she thinks happened of she might wind up in deeper trouble for starting the investigation on her own. The ending is powerful and what happens is not going to be divulged since the Separatists : that is Josef and Adelaide made me promise not to divulge what they learned and the person who might have committed the crime. Will Benjamin support her or will she be shunned? The author brings to light the various herbal remedies used during this time and of course the controversy of some of the ways of a traditional doctor that many would question even today. Added to the plot is whether they election results in abolishing marriage, insisting on celibacy and which males will rule and prevail at the end as trustees. Will Adelaide's past mistake hinder her in the present and will the answers help her move on? This is one thought provoking book where women are told to keep their thoughts to themselves, have a vote but some men disagree and want to take it away and the end result: Let's hope the author brings Adelaide back for more. Replete in history and characters that are very well defined and a plot that will keep the reader riveted to the printed page from start to finish.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I really enjoyed the book! I also have Zoar ancestors and it was wonderful to read a story about how they might have lived. It was well-written and I enjoyed the storyline. I look forward to the next book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Cover Her Body transports us to the settlement of Zoar, OH in 1833, where a young woman has been found dead. The reader is provided a glimpse into the subtle and complex issues of the era,issues that are amplified by the small size of the Separatist settlement. The reader walks side by side with a flesh and blood young midwife who fiercely cares about her community and challenges rules and practices that restrict the rights of women,harm the family unit, and hide the truth. One feels the numbing cold, smells the fresh beauty spring, and feels the frustration and fear of Adelaide as she becomes a target. It is a fun, educational, well-researched,and meaningful read written by a very versatile author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Well written, informative and a story that keeps you guessing until the end. Eleanors research was detailed and I was swept up in the story. I could imagine myself being part of the Separatist community and the difficult choices this young girl had to make. I really enjoyed reading this story and had a hard time putting it down. I can hardly wait for the next one. Highly recommend for a fun read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is by far Eleanor's best book. I was hooked quickly. It was so interesting that the women had so little say about their lives, however they could vote. With this book I had to wait until the end to find out what really happened. I tried to put it down and then rushed back. A masterful piece of writing. Cover Her Body
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
I live 25-30 minutes from Zoar, where this story takes place. I've visited the village many times and have learned quite alot about how they lived & worked during this period. Eleanor brings the characters to life and I love how the fictional parts of the story are interwoven with the actual ways of how things were done back then. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series...and I highly recommend it to everyone!!
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