Item description for Walking Through Shadows by Bev Marshall...
When the body of seventeen-year-old Sheila Barnes is found on Lloyd Cotton's dairy farm in 1941, nearly all the citizens of the quiet town of Zebulon, Mississippi, feel the effects of her murder. But those most deeply affected by the tragedy include her young husband, Stoney, and the Cotton family, who took Sheila in and grew to love and respect her.
Though badly abused by her father, labeled "slow-witted," and burdened with a physical deformity, Sheila approaches life with a natural, cheerful optimism and an unwavering belief in the healing powers of magic. She quickly becomes the Best Friend of eleven--year--old Annette Cotton, and subtly charms and changes those around her, proving to many that true wisdom often comes from unlikely places.
Marshall has created a page--turner of stunning lyrical beauty that is impossible to forget. At the heart of this literary murder mystery is the powerful truth that love conquers all---even death.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.27" Width: 6.27" Height: 1.07" Weight: 1.29 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2002
ISBN 1931561052 ISBN13 9781931561051
Availability 0 units.
More About Bev Marshall
Bev Marshall is the critically acclaimed author of "Walking Through Shadows," A native of McComb, Mississippi, she lived as a nomadic military wife for many years. Marshall returned to her Southern roots and taught English at Southeastern Louisiana University. She now lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with her husband.
I was very surprised by this novel as I do not care for murder mysteries; and am usually not interested in Southern fiction. This is both of those things, yet also in a separate category too - just plain, good fiction. These characters were so well realized, the story sad and hopeful at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although it definitely left me sad at Sheila's cruel, short life ... and through it all, she was so positive and kind. It's not always an easy book to read emotionally, but it's very hard to put down. I finished it in 2 days and it lingered well after that. Highly recommended.
A Treasure! Jan 24, 2007
You cannot put this book down!What a wonderful story that stays with you!
Walking Through Shadows Dec 15, 2006
This is a most unusual murder story that is well written, with "real-life" characters. You get to know them all intimately and feel their pain at what happened. I had two suspects in my mind throughout the book, but ended up being wrong. Now THAT's a good mystery!
I'll Never Forget This Book! Mar 28, 2005
WOW! I absolutely loved this book. What beautiful writing! I still can't get Shelia out of my mind or her poor misused body. Read this book if you don't read anything else this year. Such a wonderful coming of age story & a plethora of other subjects. Please more Ms. Marshall. I am looking forward to all of your novels.
STUNNING WRITING Dec 17, 2002
Bev Marshall's first novel, WALKING THROUGH SHADOWS, is a breathtaking creation. Set in a small town in rural Mississippi just before World War II, the story's obvious center is the murder of a young woman, Sheila Barnes. Sheila is one of the most unforgettable characters I've run across in recent years - just seventeen at the time of her death, married for around a year, Sheila is uneducated but full of unconventional wisdom, which she bestows gently on those around her as their needs dictate. She is a gift in their varied lives - and they all come to realize it in their own time.
Sheila comes to work at the dairy farm run by the Cotton family, and soon becomes the Best Friend of ten-year-old Annette (her caps) - the two girls grow as close as family, and at one point Annette's mother, Rowena, comments that `Annette loves Sheila like a blood sister'. Sheila is seemingly completely without a formal education - she comes from a family of numberless children, loomed over by her brutal father. The beatings - and other abuse - she receives from him on a regular basis are the central reason in her leaving home, to seek work and shelter at the Cottons'. She is also possessed of a physical anomaly - a hump on her back - although she never lets it interfere with her image of herself or the way in which she attempts to live her life. It is at the Cottons' dairy, where she works, that she meets Stoney Barnes - despite her `deformity', he falls in love with her (and she with him), and after a short courtship, they marry. The abuse she suffered at the hands of her father continues sporadically - and Stoney is guilty of inflicting physical pain on her as well. When he reports Sheila missing early one morning, and her body is found in the Cottons' cornfield, the investigation that ensues reveals things about almost everyone involved that each one would have most certainly preferred to be left in the dark. The revelations strain friends and family and community - the outcome is both expected and surprising, and soul shaking.
The story unfolds gracefully through various viewpoints - a technique that Marshall employs extremely well. The author endows each of the characters with a distinctive personality and - even more importantly, I think - a unique, completely believable voice. Rather than simply describe each character to the reader, the author skillfully allows them to illuminate not only themselves but also each other. Their narratives - which vary in length, but grow shorter and switch back and forth more in the second half of the book - overlap in both subjects and time frames, much as if the reader were privy to individual tellings of the same story, walking from room to room, eavesdropping. There is a subtlety in Marshall's method here that is a wonder to behold - things are revealed to the reader as they are revealed to those in the story, allowing the mysterious aspects of Sheila's brutal murder to be opened like a flower. The suspense is palpable and deftly controlled.
There are lessons to be learned here - as well as a story that entertains - about a plethora of subjects: love, honor, family, pain, abuse, friendship, faith, race, healing, and more...including magic. I'm not speaking of the type of magic that is performed on the stage - I'm speaking of the more indefinable magic that lives and breathes in the touch of a friend's hand, in the stories they share that delight and instruct, in the pain that we cause each other and in the healing we can inspire. If this leads you to believe that this is a soporific tale, don't be deceived - this is fine writing of the highest order, and a story that reveals not only the innermost workings of its characters, but of all of us.