A Review: The Sheep Walker's Daughter by Sydney Avey
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
advisor 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
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.
Culture, history, and drama sprinkled
with a touch of romance. Sydney Avey spins a tale of secrets and mystery, transporting
the reader from California to Spain. Two women search for answers about their
past and discover their future.
Reluctantly drawn into her mother’s
past, Dee finds a family she never knew she had. With each piece of the puzzle,
a slice of the Basque life is lay bare. A life of exile and return; people who’ve
struggled to live in this world, sometimes welcome, sometimes not.
The Sheep Walker’s Daughter isn’t an elegant story. Lives ripped apart, a family
destroyed, and culture devastated? No, it’s not easy to read about. But life
usually isn’t, and Avey inserted life into her story. Real life.
Although the actual writing is a
little hard to follow at times (it’s written in first-person and swings back
and forth from character to character), the plot surpasses any weaknesses in
this regard. I give this historical novel four stars. Good job.
Sydney Avey earned her bachelor’s
degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and did
postgraduate work in mass communications at San Jose State University.
She lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the
Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and has a lifetime of experience writing news
for non-profits and corporations. She speaks on spiritual maturity at
Christian Women’s Conferences and on the writer’s life at seminars in the Gold
Country in California. Sydney has work featured or forthcoming in Foliate
Oak Literary Magazine and American Athenauem. She blogs at sydneyavey.com about the
themes she explores in her writing–relationships, legacy, faith and wanderlust.