Title: Shadow Sister
Author: Katherine Scott Jones
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publishing Date: August 28, 2018
About the Book:
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.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author:
Katherine Scott Jones grew up in cities on every U.S. coast and overseas as her family moved with her father’s Navy career. Seattle became home when she married her husband twenty-eight years ago. 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 Jones
Shadow 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 litter 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.
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.
o Drinks. 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)
o Language. 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!
WOW! I will be honest when I say there were a few moments in the beginning where I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one, but the deeper I got into it the more I felt emotionally entangled in Sarah’s journey for answers to her sister’s life and death far from home in Bolivia. Their relationship had been strained to say the least when Jenna hopped on a plane to Bolivia, but the more I discovered about their story, the more I felt like an actual part of it.
I won’t give a recap of the relationship because I will allow you to read it for yourself, but allow me to sum it up in one simple word: complicated. Which is life isn’t it? I think the more I learned of the girl’s fractured relationship, the more I felt a part of it. Have you ever sat down with a friend or relative (maybe even a sister), who shares with you their deepest longings for a restored relationship with another? Or have you been the person yourself with that longing? The conversation skips right over the surface and goes right to the heart. That level of desperation is the driving force of this story, and it will captivate you until the very end. Here is my full warning that you may want to have some tissues nearby the further you read in. A story fueled by emotions like this is sure to ignite your eyes’ water production.
So the one part of the story that had me wondering how I was going to feel about this book was actually about right after Jenna’s death. (Don’t worry, not spoiling anything here). I know that when a family member dies, it’s common for people to talk about (and be comforted by) hearing that their loved ones are “looking down on them,” or “still beside them even if they can’t see them.” I don’t think that’s all bad, but I think when it gets to the point of talking about a “spirit lingering” or “stopping to say goodbye,” it creeps me out, and feels more like making the person a “temporary ghost.” The book tries to make the statement that it’s her “spirit” and not like a ghost, but I still felt uneasy about it. Honestly, it was such a small part in the book that it’s not that big of a deal, but I think because it was so close to the beginning it had me worried about her presence remaining like a ghost through the whole story. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.
One of the things I loved about this story, was actually Sarah being able to catch glimpses of what Jenna had seen in Bolivia that made her fall in love with it. It wasn’t only about running away from home, but also coming alongside a people that could benefit from caring and supportive hands. Things that we take for granted like clean drinking water, was life-altering for the people-especially the women and young girls. By having easier access to fresh water, they didn’t have to spend their days travelling to bring fresh water home anymore. This opened opportunities for them to spend their time getting educated and trying to better themselves. Life wasn’t easy for them, and Jenna and those she worked with her working alongside them to help make their lives easier and more fulfilling. She also taught them about the love of Jesus. In Bolivia, women are often thought of as merely the property of their husbands. They aren’t taught to expect much out of life. Jenna and her peers were seeking to help them and change their futures for the better. I felt as if I was getting to know them right alongside Sarah. It made my heart want to help them as well.
One quote (not found in the story), that I had going through my mind, is the one that says to always be kind, because people are facing battles you know nothing about. Jenna and Sarah both had their own battles that they were dealing with, but instead of going to each other and sharing in them, they grew farther and farther apart. I think it’s something that happens so often in life that we don’t even realize it when it happens. Have you ever had an argument with a best friend, and 10 years later you wonder what you were even fighting about? Or have you ever needed someone, but you pushed them away instead because you couldn’t handle the emotions it would bring up to talk about it? Have you ever walked into a room and felt you didn’t belong, so you don’t even bother sticking around? Have you ever felt like the “odd man out” and it makes you question your own identity? Have you ever told a lie that you’re afraid to reveal the truth? I ask all these questions not saying they are all in the book, but rather stating the fact that we all have battles we deal with, and we can allow those battles to divide us, or help us to grow closer. If we wait too long, we may not have the chance anymore.
Something of small mention, is that there is a bit of Spanish sprinkled into some of the conversations, or a bit of “Spanglish” if you know what I mean. In most cases you see the translation right after, but I noticed it wasn’t always present or made obvious. I know enough that I knew what they were saying anyways, but I caught myself wondering in a few spots if someone who didn’t know would be able to figure it out as well. I don’t consider it a huge deal, but thought it might be worth the mention.
This was definitely one of those stories that made me feel something. It was an emotional journey, but one I’m glad I went on. This is certainly a story that I know is going to stay with me for a very long time. I highly, highly recommend it!
*I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit Tours. I was not required to share a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story.
As Sarah starts to learn more about the people in Bolivia, she learns more of how difficult life is for women. Nothing actually happens to her, but at one point she receives some unwanted attention from a few men until one of the guys from the group she’s with finds her. This book deals with some tough emotions surrounding grief over loss of loved ones. There is also a moment where a character shares about infidelity in their marriage. Other than that the language and romance is clean. I still don’t think this is one of the books I’d recommend to younger readers though. I would probably recommend for ages 15 and up.
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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 link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d25f/shadow-sister-celebration-tour-giveaway