Shadow Sister by Katherine Scott Jones
Released August 28th, 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.
Something niggled at the back of my mind after reading this book. The story, despite my struggles with the present tense author voice, did prove to stay interesting enough to keep my attention. The clues to Jenna’s secret did feel a bit put off and contrived, but only a very little. I rather liked Sarah, and the variety of nationalities and personalities among the characters themselves showed through quite well most of the time. While the descriptions felt a little too descriptive for my taste, I consider that preference, and I really was able to picture the vineyards, the slopes, and the Bolivian village with great clarity, thanks to the colorful manner used by the author.
After consideration though, I finally hit upon what bothered me the most about Shadow Sister. For claiming to have a Christian undercurrent – for the majority of the main characters having claimed Christ and mentioning Jesus on multiple occasions, – this book did not have an undercurrent of Christian worldview. One of the characters is touted as almost a saint by the words of several characters, but almost none of her actions are ones that stem directly from a Biblical framework. The book claimed to be centered in an area where women are regarded as property and are presumably ill-used by their husbands, but with one single exception, the “mistreatment” is never shown. Instead, the life of a wife and mother is downplayed, and the need for an education, the ability to hold down a job, and be able to “stand up to” one’s husband are the main things that are pushed for this Bolivian community. While, I won’t ever say one shouldn’t be able to read – it’s a grand thing and reading the Bible should be one of the chief pleasures for an able Christian – none of these things are pushed in the Bible. It’s not a requisite, while honoring one’s husband is, and the tone of the book pushed education above that Biblical mandate.
The ghost of Sarah’s sister passing around in two houses after death also threw me off. No where, do I see a Biblical framework for such a thing, though the book tried to make it link in with the story of Lazarus.
Perhaps my greatest issue with the book though is how the author dealt with the sin of marital infidelity. The Bible places strong emphasis on the importance of staying true to your own husband or wife. Jesus, Paul, the book of Proverbs… While one person mentions in, almost in passing, that “it was wrong” there was very little weight given to the sin. Sure, consequences are shown to an extent, but not really. It was almost excused. One of the people in question, treated with a pity that he in no way deserved. If this had been a secular book, I wouldn’t have been surprised and would have rated the book higher – I wouldn’t have expected a stronger moral compass. However, the claims of Christianity, led me to disappointment and sorrow at the way in which adultery and even fornication were handled. Why the characters fell into this sin doesn’t matter, they did it, and it should be shown as the sin that it is, if it is to be included in the story.
Also, the lying behavior of another character in another topic altogether was excused on account of fear. While I can agree that fear will lead to sin, it does not excuse it. Lying, even by omission, is bearing a false witness and is, therefore, a sin. Exodus 20:16. It should not be justified. Forgiven? Yes. Grace extended? Yes. Absolutely. I agree with the forgiveness shown, but the reasons behind a sin do not mitigate the sin. The lies allowed by this character caused deep wounds in those nearest them, which were shown very well. The writer handled betrayal and rejection well, I thought, up until the moment the reason for the sin seemed to wipe away everything else.
In conclusion, while an interesting story and even a good mystery, I could not recommend Shadow Sister.
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
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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.
To the KING be all glory!