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?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sally Whitney’s novel Surface and Shadow does a fine job of exploring what life was like for a southern woman in a small town in the early ‘70s. Lydia, the main character, has married a doctor in what appears to be an ideal relationship. He has a promising future if he returns to the small town where he grew up and takes over a retiring physician’s practice. But Lydia soon discovers that the town’s scion, Henry Galloway, owner of the mill, has a secret he doesn’t want uncovered, and she becomes the person who reveals the truth. In the process, she also unveils her own hidden desires, not appropriate for a woman of her social status at that time and is still true for many women in similar circumstances today. And the ideal marriage begins to loosen its hold on her. Surface and Shadow is a contemporary story in many other ways in its exploration of prejudice against gays, blacks, and the mentally or physically challenged among us. But it also reads like a mystery. I couldn’t put it down until I learned how all of the narrative’s entanglements would conclude.