About the BookBook Title: Shadow Sister
Author: Katherine Scott Jones
Genre: Woman’s Fiction
Release date: August 28, 2018
Working on her father’s vineyard allows Sarah Lanning to bury memories of a lost love and a career that might have been. But then her fractured family receives word that her estranged sister, Jenna, is dead, leaving behind an unexpected request: that Sarah travel to Bolivia to scatter her ashes.
Accompanied by pilot Chase Maddox, Sarah embarks on an Andean journey that tests her devotion to home and exposes Jenna’s secret life. Each staggering discovery creates new mysteries—until the last, which leaves Sarah questioning everything she understood about family loyalty. At a crossroads, she must decide whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness—and whether she can lay claim to a future of happiness without it.
Bittersweet and bold, Shadow Sister explores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.
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Shadow Sister is an engrossing read, a poignant story that plumbs the depth of the reader’s emotions, an absolute gem. This well-crafted story is exquisitely written, making new-to-me author Katherine Scott Jones a must read. It’s rare to find a relationship drama of this quality in the Christian fiction genre, and this is a difficult review to write because there’s no way any words of mine can do it justice.
This multi-faceted story spans from rural Bolivia to the vineyards of Washington State, from the present to past years leading up to a tragedy that challenged the close bond between two sisters. There’s a richness and complexity in the narrative that extends to father/daughter relationships, the Lanning family vineyard business, and a faith-based outreach in rural Bolivia. That the best wines are produced under stress makes a great analogy for our Christian walk…
“The right amount of drought, when the vine had to cast its
roots down … down … summoning all its strength and will
to survive – those vines were capable of creating a wine able
to hold its own among the finest in the world.”
- Sarah and Jenna’s mom
Social issues, such as the gender inequality that reigned supreme in Bolivia, is a major theme. I enjoyed learning about Jenna’s work at the mission and was inspired by her vision for helping the women, with a goal of “bringing them out of the shadows and into the light” by educating them so they could offer their families a better life. These words of wisdom from Sarah’s mom, shared by Sarah, especially spoke to me and are so relevant: “Don’t let not being able to solve the problem keep you from being part of the solution.”
Shadow Sister is a memorable story of the highest quality, one that captured my emotions from the very first page and never let go. 5 stars, “best of the best” for me.
Very highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
About the Author
After graduating Whitworth University with a degree in communications, she established herself as a freelance writer before turning her hand to fiction. She blogs about books that celebrate beauty at www.katherinescottjones.com.
Katherine and her husband have two teenage children. Shadow Sister is her second novel.
Guest Post from Katherine Scott JonesShadow Sister: Outtake Reel
By Katherine Scott Jones
Much as I love a good movie, my favorite part often comes at the end when the director includes outtakes—those false starts and bits from the making of the movie that wind up on the cutting room floor.
In a similar vein, I’m going to let you in on some of what went into the creation of my novel, Shadow Sister, but did not make the final cut.
Shadow Sister is a work of inspirational women’s fiction with a global accent—written for women with a heart for complex relational issues as well as a passion for biblical justice. It is the story of a vintner’s daughter who travels to Bolivia to scatter her estranged sister’s ashes. There, she unravels secrets that test her devotion to home and make her question whether truth is worth the cost of forgiveness. Shadow Sister explores the mysteries of the human heart and the bond of unquenchable love.
Now that you know a bit about what it is, come along as I pull back the curtain and share an exclusive peek at what Shadow Sister is not.
It took me a while to finally land on the right title. Early contenders:
– The Sweetness of Light
– Variations on Shadows and Light.
It also took a bit of experimenting before I found the right combination of people and places:
– Sarah, the main character, was originally a marine biologist. I first imagined the story set in Seattle before moving it to the fertile plains of Eastern Washington wine country.
– Sarah was originally engaged; and Chase and Rachael were involved.
– The gender of Matilde’s baby changed from what I first plotted. That simple switch got me unstuck from a perplexing snag of writer’s block.
o Nicole, Stasi, Rees, and Stephen were all main-character names I considered and rejected.
o Little sister Sarah and big sister Jenna began as little sister Jenna and big sister Kate. Then Jenna became Somer and finally Sarah, while Kate became Jenna.
o Sassy Britches is named after an actual racehorse by the same name.
Unused research Of course, story exploration turned up far more tidbits of interesting info than I could possibly fit into the pages of a novel! Some of what I wished I could have used…
– Bolivian fun facts
- Bolivians tend to eat outdoors when it is not raining. Many men do not feel comfortable eating in front of strangers, so they will often face a wall or sit hunched over their food when they are eating in public.
- Cha’lla is a ritual blessing drawn from Catholic tradition, indigenous religious ceremony, or—typically—a combination of both. Performed by a yatiri (spiritual leader) or Catholic priest, a cha’lla ceremony is performed whenever a new building is finished to ensure future peace in that building.
- Many Bolivians believe in karisirus, or night phantoms. These harmful spirits catch people out after dark or when they’re sleeping. Legend says that they split their victim’s stomach and extract some of the fat.
While the traditional Bolivian beverages api and mate de coca are featured in Shadow Sister, several others are not:
- refresco (fruit juice with a dried peach at the bottom of the glass)
- tostada (a mixture of barley, honey, cloves in water)
- chicha (homemade corn beer)
- singani (made from grapes, a cross between wine and whiskey)
Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua are Bolivia’s three national languages, and they differ from each other greatly. For example, the number one in Spanish = uno, Aymara = ma, Quechua = hoq.
o On wine:
“Wine is sunlight held together by water.” ~ Galileo
o On art:
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton
I hope this glimpse into what didn’t make it onto the pages of Shadow Sister piques your interest for discovering what finally did!
To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a grand prize that includes a personalized signed print copy of the book, a Shadow Sister bookmark, a Frame-able print, Book-lover’s tea, 6 Handcrafted notecards, and a set of vineyard-themed playing cards!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.
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