A Review: The Sheep Walker's Daughter by Sydney Avey

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 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 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.

The Review:

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.

The Author:

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.


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