Walking Through Shadows: A Novel by Bev MarshallWalking Through Shadows: A Novel by Bev Marshall

Walking Through Shadows: A Novel

byBev Marshall

Paperback | August 30, 2005

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When Lloyd Cotton hears that Sheila Barnes is consistently beaten by her daddy, he offers her a room and a job cleaning up around his dairy farm. Despite physical deformity, poverty, and years of abuse, Sheila manages to see the silver lining in every cloud–and her bright spirit touches everyone in the Cotton family, including young Annette who finds an enchanting Best Friend. Stoney Barnes, the handsome boy who milks the cows, is especially taken with Sheila. And when they marry, it seems that God has finally given her the good graces she deserves.

But in a cruel twist of fate, Sheila’s body is found in the cornfields. Soon the little town of Zebulon, Mississippi, is awash in scandal. Who would want the innocent young woman dead? Her alcoholic father, her opinionated husband, or perhaps the faithfully married Lloyd Cotton, about whom unsavory rumors swirl?

Surprising secrets will crack open a rural community, and more than one family will suffer in the telling.
Bev Marshall grew up in McComb and Gulfport, Mississippi. She holds degrees from the University of Mississippi and Southeastern Louisiana University, where she taught in the English Department. Her short stories have appeared in Xavier Review; Potpourri; Maryland Review; Stories from the Blue Moon Café, Vol. 1; Acts of Discovery; and e...
Title:Walking Through Shadows: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:320 pages, 7.96 × 5.21 × 0.69 inShipping dimensions:7.96 × 5.21 × 0.69 inPublished:August 30, 2005Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345483383

ISBN - 13:9780345483386

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Bookclub Guide

1. What do you think the author is trying to accomplish by telling the story from five different perspectives? Do you think this goal is achieved? Why do you think these particular points of view were chosen? Is there another character you wish she had chosen, and if so, why?2. Sheila has a significant effect on the lives of nearly every character in the novel and their perceptions of her differ greatly. How would you assess her qualities? Was she strong, wise, simple, or merely pathetic?3. Sheila’s optimistic outlook influences nearly everyone around her. Do you know anyone like Sheila who seems to brighten the lives of everyone around them?4. Annette grew up without siblings until Lil’ Bit came along, and this is in part why Sheila becomes her best friend. Do you have any brothers or sisters? If so, how do you think your life would have been different if you had been raised as an only child? If you are an only child, how would your life have differed with siblings?5. Do you think Uncle Walter and Gloria should have taken Lil’ Bit away from the Cotton family? How could the situation have been handled differently?6. When Rowena is incapacitated after Lil’ Bit is taken away, it is Sheila who pulls her out of her depression. Have you ever experienced a similar loss? What, or who helped you recover?7. Why do you think Sheila chose not to tell anyone about Hugh raping her? What do you think would have happened had she told? How do you think the story is changed by the baby being conceived by rape as opposed to by Sheila having an affair with Hugh?8. Lloyd and Rowena have both suffered disappointments in their marriage and yet there seems to be a strong bond between them. How would you characterize their relationship? What roles do Lloyd’s affair, Sheila’s murder, and Rowena’s pregnancy play in their marriage?9. What do you think would have happened if Sheila had lived? Would she and Stoney have raised the baby on their own? Would Hugh have eventually learned that the baby was his?10. The identity of Sheila’s murderer isn’t revealed until very late in the novel. Were there other characters whom you suspected? If so, why did you suspect them?11. Earlene Barnes feels guilty for not coming forward about Hugh’s behavior earlier. Do you think that her information would have changed the situation? In what way? Has there ever been an instance in your life when you felt there would have been a different outcome if you had spoken up about an issue earlier?12. Sheila teaches Annette the trick of walking through her shadow to help overcome her sadness and her fears. Do you have any tricks that help you deal with your emotions when something upsets you?13. What are the “shadows” that each character faces? In what ways do they deal with these shadows differently? What shadows do you face in your own life? How do you handle them?14. To what extent is the story dependent upon the time in which it occurs? Could these events have taken place in today’s society? How might they have been different?

Editorial Reviews

“So mesmerizing, so intriguing, and so beautiful that I was happily out of breath by the time I finished it. Unforgettable.”–Silas House, author of The Coal Tattoo“This is a moving and beautifully written story that has the same authentic feel for a small southern town as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Olive Ann Burns’s Cold Sassy Tree.”–Library Journal“Marshall’s suspense-filled novel grabs you from the first paragraph. The voice is authentic and compelling, and the descriptive details are unusually vivid. You will have difficulty putting this one down.”–Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls“Magnificently crafted with powerful characters that tug at the heart and create a spiral of emotions.”–Booklist