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Shadows, Shells, and Spain

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Lost and listless on the island of Mallorca, Jamie Draper searches for his estranged wife, Pam, who has left him without any explanation or warning. Exploring her last known location, Jamie stumbles upon an urgent letter from his missing wife promising full disclosure as to her sudden departure and her current whereabouts. There’s just one catch: her mysterious adventure is disclosed in a series of letters she’s left hidden along the ancient Camino trail across northern Spain. Now armed with a list of clues to track the letters down, Jamie retraces Pam’s footsteps, while being both entertained and challenged by the many colorful Camino characters he meets along the way—including the enchanting Brie, who harbors her own secrets that just might compromise Jamie’s intended reunion with his wife.

Literary Titan Book Award - Silver Award Winner

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

"...Shadows, Shells, and Spain stood out from the nonfictional travel memoirs I’ve read about the Camino by virtue of it being a novel, rather than nonfiction... Meyer’s own experiences on the Camino and his love of history combine to make this one of the more authentic Camino reads yet. I loved reading about the history of the Camino and each of the little towns Jamie walks through, and found myself sitting with a map of the Camino on my laptop, tracing his journey as I learned more about Spanish history than I thought possible. Jamie’s search for his wife, who’s always, tantalizingly, one step ahead is stunning in its simplicity and single-minded focus, and his Camino may indeed prove to be everything Pam had hoped it would be for him... Shadows, Shells, and Spain is most highly recommended."

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

"... Meyer’s writing style is fluid and inviting. Describing villages, regional scenery and famous landmarks, Meyer’s knowledge of the setting allows him to guide the reader through the story. The Camino has a character of its own; the sacred trek shapes the characters of those who endure it. As the diverse cast of characters walk, their personal histories meld with the history surrounding them. As a result, it changes the course of their future. Shadows, Shells, and Spain reminds us to let go of past mistakes. “You have to let go of those shadows” and move on. "

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

"...Shadows, Shells, and Spain by John Meyer is an entertaining read. I liked the central character of Jamie and found him to be relatable. His search for answers and how and why he reaches his final destination in the novel also provide food for thought... The writing is casual and engaging and a book like this might encourage people to travel and explore themselves and the world more at every chance they get, because one never knows what’s around the corner."

327 pages, Paperback

Published November 17, 2017

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About the author

John Meyer

3 books17 followers
Author John Meyer writes fictional travel memoirs—unique adventure stories that combine fun facts of history with present-day drama and humor. Always revolving around a fictitious love story and always based on his own thrilling journeys.

After he was robbed in Rome and then found his faith in humanity restored at the Palio festival in Siena, he was inspired to write "Bullets, Butterflies, and Italy." After he ran with the bulls in Pamplona and then came to the rescue of an injured fan at the Blur reunion concert in Hyde Park, he was encouraged to write "Bulls, Bands, and London."

And after walking across Spain with hundreds of pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago, he is proud to announce the fall release of his third exciting adventure, "Shadows, Shells, and Spain!"

However, these books are more than travel memoirs. These are distinctive entries into the travel literary genre because they not only promise entertaining fictional drama, but they also provide accurate and amusing descriptions of the local people and places you will encounter in his adventures—which will hopefully enrich and inspire you all to embark on your own remarkable dream vacations!

• • • •

John Meyer is also the studio writer for Entertainment Tonight Canada—and has been ever since the popular daily show launched back in 2005. That’s almost three thousand episodes now...and counting!

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Pamela King.
Author 3 books7 followers
November 12, 2017
If you love travel and history with plenty of drama told with a twist of humour then this book is for you.
John Meyer takes the reader on a long, but never boring, walk with characters that you will love, be irritated by and laugh at.
Jamie Draper has travelled to Mallorca to try to find his estranged wife, Pam. He receives a letter from her telling him if he wants to understand her and her reasons for leaving he needs to walk the Camino. As he walks the trail he follows her clues to find further letters.
The Camino de Santiago in Spain is a walking trail followed by pilgrims for over a thousand years. It is a spiritual journey for those seeking inner strength and wisdom.
I loved both of the main characters, Jamie and Brie, who he meets on the trail and has her own issues and reasons for walking the Camino. Early in the book I thought Pam’s reasons for leaving Jamie were selfish ones. My attitude to her as the story progresses becomes softer and I become more in sympathy with her.
Meyer’s descriptive writing gives the reader clear images of the Camino scenery as well as the historic buildings and monuments. You will also feel the pain, the joy and the camaraderie of the Peregrinos (those who walk the Camino) along the route.
The journey by Jamie, Brie and the other Peregrinos is interspersed with history, legends and travel snippets - a kind of early history meets modern tourism. If you are not into history don’t worry, it is told with humour and, at times, healthy scepticism.
Brie has to get Jamie’s story in slices, along with finding accommodation, food and sightseeing, and so does the reader. The last 100 pages or so, as Jamie starts to find out what happened with Pam really push the reader on to finish. The story alternates between Jamie’s revelations, descriptions of the trail and the history snippets. It was a book I just had to get to the end. My apologies to family and friends I was rude to telling them to go away so I could finish the book.
Shadows, Shells, and Spain is the second of Meyer’s fictional travel memoirs I have read. The other one was Bulls, Bands and London that I gave 4*. I think this is better and that is why it gets 5* from me.
Profile Image for Lilly.
373 reviews18 followers
April 8, 2018
”Shadows, Shells and Spain” – this title made my day. Even before I started reading the book this title made me curious and I spent some time guessing what this book would be about. Little did I know I was about to discover yet another interesting book. Around 6o% of the book I got to understand what the title was all about. And this completed my experience in such a beautiful way. Even the title is built in an interesting manner.

You get the main idea from the blurb, so let me get directly into my thoughts. Jamie Draper starts his journey in search of his wife on El Camino de Santiago. Everybody speaks of these incredible experiences they had during this trip. Everybody says it is a life changing excursion. Well, he doesn’t buy it. And he doesn’t care that much. All he is interested in is finding his wife and understanding what motivated her decision. He will find out truths that hurt and things his wife was afraid to mention. However, at some point, this trip becomes more to him than he is willing to admit. I don’t want to reveal more of the story, as this is something you will have to discover on your own.

The author has created an interesting character and has shown us his evolution in the most beautiful manner. We see him depressed, running from people, avoiding too crowded places. But later in his camino experience, he becomes social, he learns to appreciate people and their stories. We will understand that different characters, or different backgrounds and life stories can bind over the same trip to self-discovery. With all that, John Meyer has added a good amount of history about the places and cities on El Camino de Santiago. Most were very interesting facts! The back and forth between Jamie’s marriage and his current plans, his relationship with Brie (his partner for most of the walk) and historical facts kept my interest.

And the title? I found out it starts with the end. And that’s all I’m telling you.

A magnificent experience of Spain, of El Camino de Santiago, an excellent story that will take you through a bit of Spanish history. Enjoy 🙂
Profile Image for Traci.
7 reviews
November 23, 2017
Do you like books? Do you like travelling? Do you like fun fiction? Do you like fun semi-fictional books about travelling? "Shadows, Shells and Spain" is all of these things. It's about walking the Camino and the history behind it and the places you pass along the way, but it's also about love and pain and finding your way out the other side and humour and all of that good stuff.

When his wife suddenly and unexpectedly leaves him, Jamie Draper is lost. He quits his job and goes to Mallorca in search of his missing wife. While working a few uninspiring jobs to make ends meet, he receives a package from his wife urging him to walk the Camino to discover more about what happened to her, and to them.
While Jamie traverses the Camino, he meets some interesting characters who help him along on his journey. He also learns a lot about Spain, his wife, and himself.

John Meyer has once again created a funny and touching story, while at the same time bringing the beauty and history of the Spanish Camino to life. Not only do you get humour and a beautiful love story, but you also get a lot of useful tips/ do's and don'ts should you choose to one day take a Camino journey of your own (which I have been thinking about ever since I finished reading this!).
I couldn't put this book down.

Profile Image for Ravneet Kaur.
61 reviews47 followers
December 16, 2017
Shadows, Shells, And Spain by John Meyer is a perfect cocktail of travel, adventure, and mystery. Jamie Draper is completely lost when his wife suddenly leaves him. He quits his job and goes to Mallorca to find her. After a few months, he receives a letter from his wife asking him to walk along ancient Camino trail across northern Spain. Now, Jamie is all set to follow the trail of letters left by his wife along the walk to know why she did what she did. 

The journey to the Camino de Santiago is described beautifully. He evokes visual imagery of the places through his language. Relevant historical details are added to provide context. The pace of the book is just right. It keeps you on the edge of your seat thinking what would happen next. Different characters are introduced at various points of times which makes the reading all the more interesting. All of the characters are developed astoundingly. The plot of the book is its biggest advantage and the author has done full justice to it. He maintained an element of mystery throughout the narrative. 

This is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017. 

In a nutshell, pick up this book if you want to read fiction, drama, romance, mystery all cooped up in 300 pages.
9 reviews
January 4, 2018
A great read! The Camino has always been an interest of mine and I know several friends that have hiked it. It's on my bucket list!
While I enjoyed the travel information interspersed throughout the book, I found myself progressively more engaged by the plot of Jamie dealing with each new discovery about his ex-wife, and his new-found relationship with Brie. John Meyer had me hooked from the first couple of pages and welling-up by the last page!
Profile Image for Fran Cormack.
231 reviews8 followers
October 2, 2018
I really enjoyed this book. I did. So why only 3 stars?

The story about walking the Camino was great. Makes me want to walk it even more.

Where the book falls down is the introduction of Ronald. A 1 dimensional character, poorly written who takes the story off track. To places that made me immediately lose interest.

That said, this is a well written book and I would recommend to anybody considering walking the Camino.
Profile Image for Ann.
1,087 reviews39 followers
May 29, 2018
Like P.S. I Love You but less emo.
I was inspired to go on a Camino walk myself or write a book of this kind.
9 reviews
May 7, 2023
A nice book to read while touring the Iberian peninsula and following the route of the Camino
Profile Image for Rachel W.
16 reviews2 followers
February 14, 2018
The perfect blend of travelogue and mystery, after reading John Meyer's "Shadows, Shells and Spain" you'll be dreaming of a trip to Northern Spain - I know I am!
The story expertly weaves a central mystery and a cast of characters (who are each walking the famed path for their own varied reasons) through the real history behind the Camino that's never boring or contrived. I found myself looking up images of the actual towns and sights along the Camino to see the very things Meyer described so well.
Great read for any armchair traveller or for those looking for their next destination.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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