Shamed (Kate Burkholder #11) - Linda Castillo
An incredible amount of passion, expertise, and experience goes into the process of transforming a manuscript into a novel. With the publication of Shamed I have many talented and dedicated individuals to thank. First and foremost, I wish to thank my editor, Charles Spicer, who always sees the magic and never fails to help me bring it to big, bold life. I’d also like to thank my agent, Nancy Yost, whose insights and ideas are always right on. I hope both of you know how much I appreciate those phone calls—and the smiles. I’d also like to thank my publicist, Sarah Melnyk, whose keen instincts, ceaseless energy, and warmth are always a bright spot. Thank you for always being there and for always being willing to go above and beyond. And of course, I wish to thank the rest of the Minotaur Books team: Jennifer Enderlin. Sally Richardson. Andrew Martin. Kerry Nordling. Paul Hochman. Allison Ziegler. Kelley Ragland. Sarah Grill. David Rotstein. Marta Ficke. Martin Quinn. Joseph Brosnan. Lisa Davis. You guys are the crème de la crème of the publishing world and I’m endlessly delighted to be part of it.
No one went to the old Schattenbaum place anymore. No one had lived there since the flood back in 1969 washed away the crops and swept the outhouse and one of the barns into Painters Creek. Rumor had it Mr. Schattenbaum’s 1960 Chevy Corvair was still sitting in the gully where the water left it.
The place had never been grand. Even in its heyday, the house had been run-down. The roof shingles were rusty and curled. Mr. Schattenbaum had talked about painting the house, but he’d never gotten around to it. Sometimes, he didn’t even cut the grass. Despite its dilapidated state, once upon a time the Schattenbaum house had been the center of Mary Yoder’s world, filled with laughter, love, and life.
The Schattenbaums had six kids, and even though they weren’t Amish, Mary’s mamm had let her visit—and Mary did just that every chance she got. The Schattenbaums had four spotted ponies, after all; they had baby pigs, a slew of donkeys, a big tom turkey, and too many goats to count. Mary had been ten years old that last summer, and she’d had the time of her life.
It was hard for her to believe fifty years had passed; she was a grandmother now, a widow, and had seen her sixtieth birthday just last week. Every time she drove the buggy past the old farm, the years melted away and she always thought: If a place could speak, the stories it would tell.
Mary still lived in her childhood home, with her daughter and son-in-law now, half a mile down the road. She made it a point to walk this way when the opportunity presented itself. In spring, she cut the irises that still bloomed in the flower bed at the back of the house. In summer, she came for the peonies. In fall, it was all about the walnuts. According to Mr. Schattenbaum, his grandfather had planted a dozen or so black walnut trees. They were a hundred years old now and flourished where the backyard had once been. Every fall, the trees dropped thousands of nuts that kept Mary baking throughout the year—and her eight grandchildren well supplied with walnut layer cake.
The house looked much the same as it did all those years ago. The barn where Mary had spent so many afternoons cooing over those ponies had collapsed in a windstorm a few years back. The rafters and siding were slowly being reclaimed by a jungle of vines, overgrowth, and waist-high grass.
“Grossmammi! Do you want me to open the gate?”
Mary looked over at the girl on the seat beside her, and her heart soared. She’d brought her granddaughters with her to help pick up walnuts. Annie was five and the picture of her mamm at that age: Blond hair that easily tangled. Blue eyes that cried a little too readily. A thoughtful child already talking about teaching in the two-room schoolhouse down the road.
At seven, Elsie was a sweet, effervescent girl. She was one of the special ones, curious and affectionate, with a plump little body and round eyeglasses with lenses as thick as a pop bottle. She was a true gift from God, and Mary loved her all the more because of her differences.
“Might be a good idea for me to stop the buggy first, don’t you think?” Tugging the reins, Mary slowed the horse to a