- Walking Through Shadows (Hardcover, 2002)
- Right As Rain (Paperback, 2004)
Hot Fudge Sundae Blues (2005)
Bev Marshall, born in 1945 in McComb, Mississippi, also lived as a child in Gulfport, Mississippi. She lived in numerous places as a military wife for many years, but she returned to her Southern roots and is currently the Writer-In-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University. She lives with her husband Butch, a retired Air Force officer and Delta Air Lines Captain, in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.
Marshall holds degrees from the University of Mississippi and Southeastern Louisiana University (1993). She then taught in the English Department at Southeastern Louisiana University until she retired in 2012. Her short stories have appeared in Xavier Review; Potpourri; Maryland Review; an anthology, Stories from the Blue Moon Café, Vol. 1; a college textbook, Acts of Discovery; and elsewhere. Her first novel, Walking Through Shadows, was a July/August 2002 Booksense choice, a Featured Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild, a finalist for the Florida Parishes Regional Arts Award for Literature, and it was also selected by the Times Picayune as one of the best debut novels of 2002.
Her novel Right As Rain won the Mississippi Library Association Fiction of the Year Award, and Hot Fudge Sundae Blues won the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. She has written another novel, Dear Reda Rose, about a homely girl who writes postcards to soldiers during World War II and suddenly becomes popular when a training camp is set up near her home town, but she has not submitted it yet for publication.
Marshall has just completed her first non-fiction book–a memoir about her life as a military wife. To refresh her memory, she re-read letters her husband Butch and she wrote to each other from 1963 to the early 1970’s. Publication date has not been determined. Currently, she is working on a sequel to Right As Rain.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and is the co-founder of the St. Tammany Parish Writers Group, as well as the Southeastern Louisiana University Writers. Group
A Review of Walking Through Shadows: A Novel
This well-written novel begins with a prologue by Leland Graves, now a reporter in Jackson for the Clarion-Ledger, who explains that his career and life changed five years earlier with the murder of a young, seventeen-year-old girl named Sheila Carruth Barnes.The story tells of the life and tragic death of a young, cheerful, humpbacked girl named Sheila. Sheila at the beginning of the novel has left her abusive father and gone to work cleaning up after cows on Lloyd Cotten’s dairy farm in Zebulon, Mississippi, in 1941.
Annette, the Cottons’ eleven-year-old daughter, narrates part one. To Annette, Sheila is plain and uneducated but loving and full of common sense as well as her best friend. Annette realizes that the handsome Stoney Barnes is “going to fall in love with plain Sheila, hump and all.”
Sheila and Stoney do fall in love and marry. but eventually Stoney starts beating Sheila. Worse yet, Stoney’s abusive father and brother begin paying the couple threatening visits. Eventually Sheila is then found strangled to death in Cotton’s cornfield.
The novel has several other narrators. Lloyd Cotton narrates chapters ten through thirteen, and his wife Rowena narrates the next four chapters. Stoney Barnes then narrates his version of the events. The reporter Leland also intervenes with his view of the events. The first person narrators alternate telling the story (somewhat reminiscent of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury).
Tension is high, and the novel ends somewhat surprisingly. Jealousy, rage, and violence end Sheila’s life, but who is her murderer?
Annette ends the novel optimistically when she says, “I know what I have to do. I’ll stand here and watch the sun exactly like Sheila did that day…I will walk through this shadow of me. If I can get it right, do it perfectly, then I will forgive myself and Stoney too, and maybe someday I will believe in magic again.”
- Reading Group discussion guide for Right as Rain available on this site.
- Interview by Southern Literary Review with Marshall.
- Marshall is 2012 Distinguished Alumnus at Southeastern Louisiana University
- Marshall, Bev. Walking Through Shadows.