The Shores of Our Souls

Fiction - Cultural
249 Pages
Reviewed on 09/24/2017
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Author Biography

Kathryn Ramsperger began her career writing for The Roanoke Times and The Gazette newspapers and later managed publications for the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland. She has contributed articles to National Geographic and Kiplinger publications.

Writing from a global perspective, her themes are universal yet intensely personal and authentic.

A graduate of Hollins University (Roanoke, Va.), Kathryn also holds a graduate degree from George Washington University.
Winner of the Hollins University Fiction Award, Kathryn was also a finalist in novel, novel-in-progress, short story, and poetry categories in the Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition. The Shores of Our Souls won a 2017 Foreword Indies award for multicultural fiction and also won an America’s Best Book Award.

Kathryn is a mezzo-soprano, has dined with artists ranging from author Marita Golden to musician and writer Kinky Friedman, and has traveled to every continent except Antarctica and Australia. She’s worked in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She currently lives in Maryland; she and her husband have two adult children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

The Shores of Our Souls by Kathryn Brown Ramsperger follows a romantic affair between a forty-year-old Muslim diplomat in New York City and a young, fresh-out-of-college stunning beauty from the South, a story that explores the dynamics of family, war, and religion. The young beauty, Dianna, finds work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she barely has enough to survive on. It is New York in the 1980s. But when she meets Qasim, a Lebanese UN official in a bar, the attraction between the two becomes clear and they find themselves in each other’s arms pretty fast. Despite the strong bond that exists between them, Dianna is unsure of her place in the life of this politician who might have a wife in his home country, a man who seems distant at times and broken. Can their love survive the taboos of religion, the constraints of society, and the challenging political times?

Kathryn Brown Ramsperger creates characters that are psychologically and emotionally rich, characters that will win the sympathy of readers instantly. The social commentaries are relevant and the historical references complement the well-developed setting. Her writing is fluid, seductive, and engaging, scattered with excellent dialogues and vivid descriptions. The Shores of Our Souls is a well-plotted story with great pacing and readers will find it hard to stop reading at any point. The conflict is strong and it makes for a great reading experience as the reader’s curiosity is piqued. This is a story with a strong premise, a well-developed conflict that escalates quickly, and that features a satisfying denouement. It was an exciting read for me and I grew to love the characters so much.

Nikki Leigh Willcome

The Shores of Our Souls by Kathryn Brown Ramsperger chronicles the love story between Qasim, a Lebanese U.N. diplomat, and Dianna, a young researcher at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1980’s Manhattan. Both worlds collide in a chance encounter at a bar, though nothing seems to keep them together save for their mutual attraction for each other. Not only do they struggle with their individual pasts, but now they face present challenges with social prejudices that seem to be staring around every corner. The cultural gaps between them threaten to divide the passionate couple’s already tenuous future. With Qasim running from war in the Middle East and Dianna running to a life of greater purpose in the world, the question becomes if the two can connect their journeys and stay together.

The Shores of Our Souls grabbed my attention from the beginning and I was curious to see what kind of relationship these characters could build when everything about their lives seemed to be against them. I appreciated getting viewpoints from both characters, and found I was most drawn to Qasim’s character. His backstory was both surprising and reflective. He keeps the true extent of his affection for Dianna hidden, even from himself. Kathryn Brown Ramsperger does a nice job highlighting the challenges these two characters faced, both individually and together. The writing was well crafted; there was a good balance between the narrative and dialogue, and I enjoyed the excerpts previewing each chapter that gave me a sense of the historical events taking place, as if Ramsperger was challenging me to make the connections between the events and the characters’ actions and mindsets, and how it affected them. Not a typical romance, but The Shores of Our Souls is a thought-provoking read on both social and historical levels.