“Don’t worry about the smell in the water. It’s normal when it hasn’t been run for a while.” With those words of wisdom, the home inspector assured us there was nothing wrong with the well and the water treatment system of the house we were buying. And we naively believed him. . .
We ended up spending a long time and a lot of money trying to get the water to be usable. Unfortunately, the issues we were having were not a result of misuse, they were due to an ineffective treatment system.
Water is essential to life, and having clean water is vitally important. Waterborne diseases can be deadly. So much research has gone into how to improve the water systems and we are very fortunate in this country to have access to good water.
Scripture equates water with God’s word (Ephesians 4:26), the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-38) and even simply the presence of God (Psalm 42:1, Psalm 63:1). As essential to life as clean water is, it is even more imperative that we remain close to Jesus and spend time in His word and fellowship with the Holy Spirit that our soul might live.
Published by Redemption Press
Publication Date May 23, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Washington, Bolivia Contemporary
Written for: Adults
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.
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Jenna was part of a Christian organization that was involved in helping the people in third-world countries access clean, pure water. As strange as this may sound, they had to overcome centuries of superstition and tradition to help the people change their way of life and be willing to have wells installed. In my naivety, I have always assumed that when offered better access to clean water, people jumped at the opportunity!
Secret Sister showed many aspects of life in Bolivia. It is a harsh, yet beautiful place to be. Just reading about the bugs and creatures that came through the walls into the houses creeped me out! Eww!
I loved the way that Jenna and her sister Sarah saw Jesus and His love for women. I had never noticed what the author pointed out, that in His interactions, Jesus never rebuked or reprimanded women the way he did the men. As I read through the Gospels, I will be watching for this, though my memory is already confirming this fact.
Jenna realized that the secrets she had been keeping were holding her captive and after all these years was finally ready to return home and confess. Sadly, she was too late! Dear friends, don’t hold on to secrets. Jesus told us that the truth would set us free.
The description of the book fascinated me and had me wanting to read it. I wasn’t sure what to expect. . .
The ending of the prologue had me a little concerned that the “shadow sister” was going to end up being a spirit speaking to her sister but I was quickly reassured that was not the case. Whew! That wasn’t what I had signed up for!
There were a few things that I did not like in the story. It was told in a third-person, present tense style, except for the flashbacks. I am not a fan of present-tense writing and have not read many stories where it “worked”. The only ones I can think of that didn’t feel awkward were told in the first person.
There is a place near the beginning where the author speaks of abominable treatment of young girls and goes into far more detail than I think was necessary. I was completely unprepared to encounter this in the book and felt blindsided and my stomach was turned. I do think I understand why this was there – to set the stage and soften my heart for the plight of women and girls in other countries. I believe it could have been presented in a way that wasn’t as detailed and yet still impactful. Because of this inclusion, I would hesitate recommending this for anyone other than adults.
Katherine's Shadow Sister Pinterest Board(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest)
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.
- Nicole, Stasi, Rees, and Stephen were all main-character names I considered and rejected.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On wine: “Wine is sunlight held together by water.” ~ Galile
- 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!
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Carpe Diem, September 4
Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 5
The Power of Words, September 5
Among the Reads, September 5
Fiction Aficionado, September 6
The Becca Files, September 6
RebekahsQuill, September 7
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7
Bigreadersite, September 7
Just the Write Escape, September 8
Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, September 8
Bibliophile Reviews, September 9
Living Life Free in Christ, September 9
Inspirationally Ever After, September 10
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 10
Texas Book-aholic, September 11
Livin Lit, September 11
Janices book reviews, September 12
Remembrancy, September 12
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 13
Inklings and notions, September 13
The Midnight Bookaholic, September 14
Pause for Tales, September 14
The Mimosa Blossom, September 14
Kelly Harrel, September 15
Two Points of Interest, September 15
A Baker’s Perspective, September 16
proud to be an autism mom, September 16
Godly Book Reviews, September 17
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 17
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
- 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.
Giveaway ends September 19, 2018