As the Crow Reads: Chasing My Sister’s Shadow

From local author Lena Lingemann comes a story of the bonds of family and sisterhood, and how we come to understand others through gaining an understanding of ourselves. Chasing My Sister’s Shadow follows the lives of Katja Varsten, her older sister Ingrid, and their extended family as they navigate immigration to America, the Great Depression, and World War II.   

A timeless and well written novel, the plot twists and turns, all the while creating characters who fly off the page and into the heart. Carefully crafted and deeply compassionate, the story highlights how the love we show to others can ultimately change lives.   

What I Liked:  

I loved this story. I haven’t read a good “simply can’t put it down” book in a while, and this one definitely commanded my attention. It’s the type of book that you read late into the night, and feel happy when you finish. I was captivated by the journeys of the characters and what might lead them to make the choices they were making  

I also loved the writing style of this book. It made me forget that I was reading, rather it seemed that I was listening to the story being told by a captivating storyteller around a warm fireplace at night. The characters felt distinctly human, offering a level of vulnerability and tangibility that is uncommon in fictional pieces. It’s an enduring tale that I’ll think of often.  

What Was Missing: 

For me, this book lacked very little. I’m enamored by stories of the human experience, as well as those that explore familial relationships and the delicate intricacies of conversation. However, I could see that this book may lack action for those who enjoy more ‘exciting’ scenes. There are no battles fought within these pages, save those fought between family members, and there is very little descriptive romance, though there is endless love.  

I think that I should also include that this book could be triggering to those healing from trauma such as abusive parents or severe mental health disorders. I am beyond joyful that these are themes discussed at length in the book, however I do see the potential for these types of topics to be less than beneficial to someone who is actively working to recover from them.   


I would highly recommend this book to those seeking a compassionate and engaging story of family. This book had everything I like in a story – history, romance, complex characters and an engaging storyline. I honestly cannot find much to fault. The author’s talent for creating a masterpiece of a story and intricate characters is to be celebrated.   

About the Author: 

Lena Lingemann lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has several other publications which can be found online or on her Facebook page  

Chasing My Sister’s Shadow was published in 2014 by WordWings, and is currently in stock at Grass Roots Books.  

By Kyra Young