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Chloe and Grant move in to their dream home with their two teenaged boys and Grant’s aging mother, Betty. Unable to part with her antique possessions, Betty brings along many of her treasured pieces, including a hand made Shaker rocking chair from the 1800’s. Because it is somewhat crooked and has a bullet hole through the back, Chloe places it into her closet to get it out of the way.
Within a week, Chloe is awakened by a strange noise and discovers that the chair is rocking alone in her closet. Chloe and her mother-in-law begin an adventure to unveil the story behind this mysterious rocker. They uncover a chilling story of sacrifice, love, and tragedy from a Shaker village in the mid 1800’s where celibacy was the rule and rules were broken.
Victoria sat on the steps that lead up to the porch of their weather-beaten farmhouse in the hills of New Hampshire. Her eyes were swollen shut due to sobbing that she didn’t seem to have any control over. She wiped her tears on the apron of her dress, and looked over at the rocking chair that now seemed so empty sitting there on the porch. The breeze was gently rocking it as if it was trying to comfort her. The only sound she heard was the sound of the creak in the chair as it barely moved with the wind. She was sobbing again as she brought herself to sit in the rocker for the first time since that horrifying day. As she rocked, it took her back to where she was before the whole ordeal. The year 1853 had turned out to be the best and worst year of her life.
Victoria was torn. Torn between two worlds; one of comfort, security and simplicity. The other was a world of the unknown. A world she had not experienced since she was four. She only had one recollection of that world and it was not a pleasant one. She had tried through the years to blot that horrible memory from her mind.
The night her parents had died in the fire had become a blurred, but still painful memory. Painful partly because she could not really remember what their faces looked like anymore. For the longest time their faces were so vivid. As the years passed, their features began to fade and they disappeared into what was now a haze for her.
A woman from a Shaker village walked in the orphanage shortly after Victoria’s arrival. She was looking for several children to adopt. Since the Shakers believed in celibacy, this was their way of expanding. She had heard the woman say that Victoria was a little young, but because she had suffered such tragedy, she took pity on her, and brought her along with the others. There were four others. James who was seven, Henry was eight, Elizabeth was nine and Mary was ten. Victoria quickly adjusted to the ways of the Shaker community. Their life was simple but very peaceful. Victoria’s job was helping Elizabeth with the sheep. They were considered the outdoor workers of the family. James also worked outdoors, as a woodcutter. Mary and Henry worked indoors, learning how to make furniture and other odds and ends. The women and girls stayed in one house, and the boys and men in another. They were all considered to be sisters and brothers and that was how they were to address each other. Victoria’s caretaker, Sister Anna, was twenty-two and Victoria loved her greatly. She had quickly become her surrogate mother. She knew she was finally where she was supposed to be because it just seemed right. She felt safe and secure.
As Victoria grew older the ways of the Shakers came naturally to her. It was really all she had known. It would get painful when one of the sisters or brothers became of age and would decide not to stay on the farm. She could never understand why anyone would not stay there. Life was good. That is, until she was fifteen. Something seemed to happen in her that she could not seem to control. She would find herself crying for no apparent reason. She had tried to talk to Sister Anna about it, but she was told it was just something all young girls went through and that it would pass. But Victoria knew there was more and she was full of anxiety that was growing daily as if she was fertilizing something deep within her. Then it bloomed when she saw brother James looking at her one day as she watched the sheep. He was cutting some wood and the muscles on his arms were bulging through his shirt and the sweat was pouring off of his brows like a leaky roof. Something stirred in her from deep within and she quickly looked away and pretended not to notice him. He had looked at her many times, but today it seemed different. Maybe this was the reason Sister Anna taught her that the Shaker family keeps their distance from the opposite sex.
Lynn Hinds is a native of Florida and lives in Ft. Lauderdale. She teaches music at a private school in Miami and is a published composer of children’s songs. She has been married for 23 years and has two grown daughters, with a grandchild on the way. “The Rocking Chair” is her debut novel and she is currently working on her next work.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 220
Paper Weight (lb): 9.4
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