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ISBN: 978-1-942428-98-5
316 pages


$14.97 in softcover
$4.97 in ebooks

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Surface and Shadow

by Sally Whitney



What are you willing to risk to break free?

Smothered by her husband's expectations and the rigid gender roles of the 1970s, Lydia Colton sees a chance to rediscover and unfetter herself—if only she can find out the truth about a wealthy man's suspicious death.
      According to history in the small town of Tanner, North Carolina, Howard Galloway died from accidentally drinking poison moonshine, leaving his twin brother, Henry, sole heir to the family's cotton mill and fortune. When Lydia hears that some people suspect Henry killed Howard, she impulsively starts asking questions and is soon tangled up in the Galloway secrets, which no one—least of all the Galloways—wants her to pursue.
      Lydia's husband, Jeff, warns her that enraging Henry, the richest and most prominent employer in town, could jeopardize Jeff's career in Tanner, and soon Lydia and Jeff's marriage is at risk. But attempts by Jeff and other townspeople to thwart Lydia only make her more determined to solve the riddles she's uncovered.

Will revealing the truth save or destroy her?

Praise for Surface and Shadow:

"A first-rate mystery in the hands of an accomplished storyteller."
~ Philip Cioffari, author of Dark Road, Dead End; Jesusville; and Catholic Boys

Whitney gracefully captures the rhythm of life in a small southern town, creates complex characters who live and breathe, and explores large themes that affect us all. The story, beautifully told in an elegant but approachable style, unfolds at an energetic pace that will keep you reading from start to finish.
~ Mark Willen, author of Hawke's Point

"While Surface and Shadow offers the compelling tensions of a mystery story, its deeper probing involves the unknowns of the central character, Lydia Colton. As she delves into the lives of others connected with the circumstances of a strange death from a half century before, Lydia comes to realize that she is also confronting the secrets of her own identity. The answer to one mystery is inseparable from an illumination of the second. What started as a concern about a long ago death becomes the source of lives renewed, for Lydia and for others. The resolution satisfies the reader as much as it does Lydia."
~ Walter Cummins, Editor Emeritus of The Literary Review

"Sally Whitney's literary style delivers a character driven novel set in Tanner, North Carolina, a small town with a southern sense of place where unspoken rules guard the family secrets of a prominent family. Lydia Colton, a young married woman, feels like an invisible outsider in Tanner until she initiates changes in her life and in the lives of others. She discovers ways to strengthen the fragile thread of humanity that runs through all of us when she searches to uncover details surrounding the death of a member of this prominent family. Vivid descriptions embrace the 1970s years with remarkable accuracy in this well-crafted narrative that crosses boundaries implanted in the old southern ways."
~ Judith Bader Jones, author of The Language of Small Rooms, Moon Flowers on the Fence, and Delta Pearls

"Surface and Shadow is an evocative portrayal of life in 1972 small-town North Carolina. Multiple challenges face newcomer Lydia Colton. How does she unravel the mysterious death of an heir to the town's major industry while safeguarding her husband's fledgling physician career? How does she navigate the bounds of sexism, racism, and classism tying her hands? How does she find a path to give her life meaning beyond her roles as wife and mother? This is fiction at its best—memorable and absorbing." ~ Jacqueline Guidry, author of The Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town

Click here to see all the reviews for Surface and Shadow!


A North Carolina native, Whitney graduated from Duke University with a B.A. degree in English. She later studied creative writing at Kansas University and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with G.S. Sharat Chandra. She earned a master’s degree in English with Writing Concentration at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She’s a veteran of numerous writing conferences, including Poynter Institute workshops featuring Frank McCourt and Anita Shreve.
      Since graduating from Duke, Whitney has lived in six states. In Kansas, she taught creative writing courses in the continuing education program at Johnson County Community College and served as a coordinator for the college’s writing conference. She was also a member of the Kansas City Writing Group and a fiction editor for Potpourri literary magazine. In New Jersey, she was a member of the New York-New Jersey Two Bridges Writing Group and worked as editor of Best’s Review magazine.
      Currently, she belongs to the Maryland Writers’ Association and served as treasurer of the association from 2008 until 2010. She is also a member of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and The Association of Writers and Writing Programs. She has read from her short stories at the Baltimore Book Festival and the Lit & Art at the Watermark series at the Watermark Art Gallery across from the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
      Whitney has worked as a freelance journalist and published articles in magazines and newspapers, including St. Anthony Messenger, The Kansas City Star, Kansas City Live!, Ingram’s Magazine, AntiqueWeek, and Our State: Down Home in North Carolina.
      Surface and Shadow is her first novel.

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