The story is told through the eyes of the main character Shiloh P. Jacobs. She is living and working as a reporter in Japan. She spends her money on keeping up her image and on frivolous things. Her fiance, Carlos, is from Argentina and is quite the looker. She is estranged from her parents. When her dad left when she was seven her mom kind of lost it and now that she made a name for herself she was fine without them, even though her mom had been trying to reconnect.
And then Shiloh's world falls apart. She gets the phone call that her mom has died and left her a house. She ends up in Virginia with a bunch of rednecks. While there, she also loses her job and Carlos. But in the pit of her loss, God is calling her. Through her moms friend, Faye. Through Adam Carter and his friends Tim and Becky. And many others along the way.
I liked that Shiloh did not just automatically accept Christ. It was a process for her to believe and was written in a realistic way. Shiloh has to lower her expectations in life as well. She has to get jobs while in Virginia to pay off her huge debts and they are not jobs she normally would have worked, she has to deal with the fact that her mom had changed and that she had refused to talk to her. Through her moms death, Shiloh eventually finds life.
Southern Fried Sushi is an amusing read, full of funny mishaps and intriguing characters. The title alone would make me buy this book! I love the multi-cultural theme that Jennifer weaves all through this story.
The ongoing crisis in Shiloh's life kept me hooked and I kept reading to find out how she was going to pull through. I really enjoyed the easy style in which Jennifer wrote this book and also the setting; it's not everyday that you read about a southern girl living in Japan! The interjections of southern terms and phrases were the icing on the cake for me; it made Shiloh completely believable and authentic. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series and I highly recommend this author!
I don't normally read contemporary women's fiction, but Jenny Spinola's Southern Fried Sushi is a delightful exception. Because of Jenny's experiences in Japan, Brazil, and the American South, she has a unique and irresistible point of view. As a journalist who started writing Christian fiction while living in Brazil and continually seeks to perfect her craft, she knows and applies the ins and outs of excellent writing. And as a fine Christian young adult--younger than this man, anyhow--she has a heart for the readers' spiritual needs without being objectionably preachy.
Southern Fried Sushi is just the first book in the series, though. Unless you're incapable of being moved by exceptional writing that has you rolling on the floor in laughter one minute and reaching for the box of tissues in tears the next, I know you'll join me in looking forward to the next two books in this series.
And to many more novels after that. Jenny's a winner!
Shiloh P. Jacobs has everything Ã¢â¬â the perfect job, the perfect fiance, the perfect life in Japan Ã¢â¬â but when her estranged mother dies suddenly, Shiloh must travel to the South to confront her past. Shortly after burying her mother, Shiloh loses her job, her fiance, and is hopelessly penniless. Since her mother left the house and car, Shiloh must move into her mother's house and temporarily build a life for herself in a world that is so different and foreign to her. The small rural town of Churchville, Virginia is southern to its core and Shiloh must learn to navigate the language and ways of her new neighbors and friends. As much as Shiloh has lost, she still searches for a purpose and a new job to pay the bills Ã¢â¬â she searches for the mother she never knew or understood and the life that she wants to live.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story of a young woman's search for God. I loved how God's story of redemption was seamlessly woven into the plot and how Shiloh learns to accept the kindness and forgiveness of people she makes fun of. Her search for her Savior is so real and heartfelt Ã¢â¬â I cried as she cried out to God for answers and healing. My favorite part of this book was that the romance is between Shiloh and God. This story is her journey as she searches for the God that her mother found and the God who changed her mother's life so dramatically.
All of the author's characters have depth and force you to fall in love with them. They each struggle and triumph in their own lives the way people do in real life. This book made me want to visit the South in all its glory. As a reader, I enjoyed the southern hospitality and food descriptions since I am unfamiliar with the South. I did find it a little strange that Shiloh didn't know her U.S. history very well but the story was still a pleasant read. I look forward to the next book in the series, Like Sweet Potato Pie, when it comes out in March 2012.
I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who enjoys a story about a girl searching for God in an unlikely place.
I received this book for free from NetGalley.com and Barbour Publishing but I was not required to write a positive review.
The book is written in the first person, which may put some readers off. However, I would encourage those people to give it a try - they will be pleasantly surprised. Shiloh, the narrator, is an award-winning journalist who grew up in New York and who is now working for Associated Press in Tokyo and engaged to Carlos, an Argentinean expatriate also based in Tokyo. She is hardworking, ambitious, loves all things Japanese (particularly the food), and never wants to leave, particularly as she is estranged from her flaky mother and the father who abandoned them both.
The sudden death of her mother forces Shiloh to return to the States to attend the funeral and deal with the estate. Here, she meets a number of Christians in the very best sense. These are not just characters who say grace before meals and attend church on Sunday. These are the Christians we should all aspire to be - people who praise God, who trust in Him in all circumstances, who reach out and befriend others, and who actively talk about their faith in a natural way because God is such an important part of their lives. Shiloh discovers that her mother had changed dramatically from the flaky woman she remembered, and as she begins to understand what caused those changes, Shiloh, too, begins to change.
I really enjoyed Southern Fried Sushi. It is a well-written novel with a cast of likable characters, and some very funny scenes around Southern cuisine - as a New Zealander, I could certainly understand the culture shock Shiloh felt in moving from Tokyo to small-town Virginia. While it is not a traditional genre romance (with the boy-meets-girl, fall-in-love, live-happily-ever-after formula), it is a romance in the sense that it describes a series of relationships built on love - relationships between friends, between husband and wife, between us and God. It preaches a clear gospel message without falling into a trap of saccharine sermonising. This is what Christian fiction should be. Best of all, the sequel is due to be published in March 2012, so readers won't have to wait long to find out what happens next!
Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing a free ebook for review.