Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Shannon Parker

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty-four authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Shannon Parker

S.M. Parker lives on the coast of Maine with her husband and sons. As a young adult, restlessness drove her to backpack throughout dozens of countries, adventures she found far less intimidating than high school. She has since devoted her life to education and holds degrees from three New England universities. She can usually be found rescuing dogs, chickens, old houses and wooden boats. Shannon has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and ridiculous laughter, ideally, at the same time. The Girl Who Fell is her first novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads


Growing up in an Irish Catholic family, I was raised on potatoes, guilt and secrets. If siblings, cousins and aunts were the honeyed apples adorning our family tree, secrets were the roots that dug deep below the soil, binding our stories together.

Why was my mother forbidden to speak to her own father? Why were some aunts raised by nuns in boarding schools when others remained home? When my father’s father left his seven children, why didn’t anyone knock on the door to his new home — the one a block away, the one he shared with his illegitimate second family because the church didn’t allow divorce? These were questions one did not ask. These were family secrets.

I was an adult by the time I met fourteen-year-old Lily Owens within the pages of The Secret Life Of Bees. I had traveled to more than three dozen countries, my family’s secrets tucked around me even when I carried all my belongings on my back. Secrets had shaped me and I bore their weight. And then I met Lily and felt an instant kinship to this literary sister. But Lily never ran from her family’s secrets. She ran toward them. Head on. Each step sure with grace and dignity.

Lily’s early life was formed around the blurred memory of her mother’s death when Lily was a toddler. And in 1964 when Rosaleen, the only mother Lily has ever known, walks to town to add her name to the voter registration list, she spits on the shoes of the town’s fierce racists. Rosaleen is black. A criminal. Lily is white. A runaway. The unlikely mother and daughter pair escape into a world charged with hate and change.

What they find is a haven. With three beekeeping sisters. In a home painted Pepto pink.

It is in this place of resting and renewal that Lily learns the secrets of her mother’s final days, and Lily’s own role in her mother’s tragic final moments. She is broken open and made whole in unexpected ways. And every time I read Lily’s story — which is at least once a year — I admire Lily’s bravery anew. I respect her courage to unlock her family’s secrets. And I admire the adults in Bees for giving her the keys. It likely comes as no surprise that my writing often explores the many iterations of family secrets. But these days, secrets are reserved for my fiction. Characters like Lily Owens — and the people who embody similar fortitude — have taught me to share openly in my friendships and marriage. And as I raise my adopted sons who endured darkness beyond measure in their early lives, I know that secrets can only rule the narrative if they remain buried.

The Secret Life Of Bees is a story of feminine power. And the deep reaches of divine feminine power. It is a story precious to my heart and mind and I am always grateful when I see this novel on school reading lists. I buy up copies at garage sales and pass them out to friends and students, anyone in need of a good read. And I carry Lily in my heart as I raise my boys and remember that while families may be flawed, they are also beautiful and ours to cherish.

Title The Girl Who Fell
Author Shannon Parker
Pages N/A
Genre Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
To Be Published March 1st, 2016
Find It On Goodreads

His obsession.
Her fall.

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goal­tender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and — most importantly — Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities — he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…

Terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty, or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.


4 responses to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Shannon Parker”

  1. What a beautiful post! Shannon, you have a way with words that always draws me in. This wonderful tribute to this important novel was no exception. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself.
    Marisa Reichardt recently posted…Officially Official Book Cover for UNDERWATERMy Profile

  2. Jenny says:

    Wow, Shannon, you really touched me with your very poetic words! I loved reading about you and the way you found your heroine. Lily sounds amazing and I’ll have to check out this novel for myself. Thank you for sharing something so deep and special within you.

  3. Shannon, your writing is just gorgeous! What an amazing post and an inspiring heroine — I cannot believe I have yet to read Lily’s story.
    And of course all of this just makes the wait even harder for THE GIRL WHO FELL!

  4. Alexa S. says:

    What a beautiful post, Shannon! I read The Secret Life of Bees ages ago, but your thoughts have given me a fresh perspective (and a desire to revisit). Well done!
    Alexa S. recently posted…The Lexie Project: On BFFsMy Profile

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