Pen-L Publishing announceed the release of “Surface and Shadow,” a debut novel that explores how a woman desperately longing to rediscover herself and escape the rigid gender rules of the era risks her marriage and her husband’s career in the 1970s southern U.S. to solve a suspicious death from years past.
Written by Sally Whitney, an Elkin native and graduate of Duke University, “Surface and Shadow” captures the turmoil and tranquility of the southern mill town as it stood on the brink of extinction. The novel will be released Sept. 1.
In the story, Lydia Colton, a newcomer to Tanner, North Carolina, believes that if only she can defy convention and her husband’s will, she will find out the buried truth about the death of the local cotton baron. Town history says the man died from drinking poisoned moonshine, leaving a twin brother sole heir to the family’s cotton mill and fortune. When Lydia hears that some people suspect fratricide, she impulsively starts asking questions and is soon tangled in a nest of secrets, which no one — least of all the family of the dead man — wants her to pursue.
Lydia’s husband, Jeff, warns her that enraging the brother Henry — the richest and most prominent employer in town — could jeopardize Jeff’s career, and soon their 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?
Although author Whitney has spent most of her adult life in the North, her imagination has always lived in the South, homeland of her childhood. She spent the first 22 years of her life in Elkin and graduated from Elkin High School in 1965.
Whitney said Julia Holthouser was one of her favorite teachers and contributed to her aspirations to be a writer through her journalism class.
Her short stories have been published in many literary magazines and anthologies, including “Grow Old Along With Me — The Best Is Yet To Be,” the audio version of which was a Grammy Award finalist in the Spoken Word category. Her work has also been recognized by the Syndicated Fiction Project and the Salem College National Literary Awards competition. As a freelance journalist, she’s published articles in magazines and newspapers, including St. Anthony Messenger, The Kansas City Star, and AntiqueWeek. Her website is www.SallyWhitney.com.