Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Sheep Walker's Daughter by Sydney Avey *Review

About the Book:
 A Korean War widow's difficult mother dies before revealing the identity of her daughter's father and his cultural heritage. As Dee sorts through what little her mother left, she unearths puzzling clues that raise more questions: Why did Leora send money every month to the Basque Relief Agency? Why is her own daughter so secretive about her soon-to-be published book? And what does an Anglican priest know that he isn't telling? All this head-spinning breaks a long, dry period in Dee's life. She might just as well lose her job and see where the counsel of her new spiritual adviser and the attentions of an enigmatic ex-coworker lead her. The Sheep Walker's Daughter pairs a colorful immigrant history of loss, survival, and tough choices with one woman's search for spiritual identity and personal fulfillment. Dee's journey will take her through the Northern and Central California valleys of the 1950s and reach across the world to the obscure Basque region of Spain. She will begin to discover who she is and why family history matters

My Thoughts:
This book had a huge family theme, which is interesting as the main character doesn't have a strong family back ground. Dee never knew her Father, or her family's history. Her mother Leora, would refuse to talk about it.  Dee was not close to her own husband, as he worked in the military and Dee wanted to keep a stable environment for her own daughter Valerie. Even with trying to maintain a sense of family for Valerie, the two weren't that close. Dee's husband passed 3 years ago and Dee moved in with her Mother. Leora had secrets that she just refused to share with her daughter. It was interesting finding these out slowly after Leora dies.
Valerie has secrets herself, knowing more than her own Mother does. When Valerie travels to Spain to promote her book, she discovers much more of her heritage. It seems that Valerie wants that connection, while her Mother is slowly coming to terms with her own loss.
The relationships Dee has grow and improve after she starts visiting with a priest, Father Mike. He is the ear she needs to work through so much abandonment and secrets in her family. I love how Father Mike is not pushy, he is a good listening ear, and an encourager.
I enjoyed seeing the relationship with Dee and Valerie improve, and to see Dee stick her self out there and try to make friends, and even a beau.
The history of the Basque region in Spain was very intriquing, ,many of the people having been shepherds.
I really enjoyed this book!

About the Author
Sydney Avey lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifetime of experience writing news for non-profits and corporations. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has studied at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
Sydney blogs at on topics related to relationships, legacy, faith, and the writing life. Her novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, will be released from Hope Springs Books,  Chalfont House in December 2013.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hope Springs Books in exchange for my honest review through Book Crash. 

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