I’ll start with Julie Cantrell’s The Feathered Bone because it’s one of the best examples I’ve read of fiction that celebrates beauty amidst brokenness. It first appeared on the blog February 12, 2016. I remember how it moved me then, and its powerful themes of hope, beauty, and redemption have lingered with me ever since.}
“Feathers—no matter what size or shape or color—are all the same, if you think about them. They’re soft. Delicate. But the secret thing about feathers is . . . they are very strong.”
About this book: (from the publisher) In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth-grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.
Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda’s daughter sinks into depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda’s whole world has collapsed.
Amanda knows she has to save herself before it’s too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.
Set amidst the murky parishes of rural Louisiana and told through the eyes of two women who confront the darkest corners of humanity with quiet and unbreakable faith, The Feathered Bone is Julie Cantrell’s master portrait of love in a fallen world.
About the author: Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, the 2013 Christy-Award-winning Book of the Year and recipient of the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. Her second novel, When Mountains Move, won the 2014 Carol Award for Historical Fiction and, like her debut, was selected for several Top Reads lists.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG-13 for thematic material
Reminds me of: For the way it handles real-life, contemporary issues with compassion and hope, Not a Sparrow Falls and other novels in the Second Chances Collection by Linda Nichols.Flashback fave: THE FEATHERED BONE @JulieCantrell Click To Tweet
Reflection: I’ll begin with the end, the part where I turned the last page, wiping away tears of joy, relief, and wonder at the stunning, beautiful truth captured in this extraordinary story…my awe mixed with gratitude for the God who blessed this author with the sanctified imagination that allowed her to transform an idea into a novel in which every word is a gift.
Powerful. Deeply true. Hauntingly beautiful. Stunning, in every sense. From its very first line, The Feathered Bone held me captive, hitting all my marks dead-on. I was dazzled by the unusual energy bound up in its prose, an almost-restlessness–so appropriate to the story–that reminded me of the jazz made famous by the city in which much of this novel takes place.
The story took me deep, deep into the depravity of man and the brokenness of this fallen world. But it didn’t leave me there, oh no. It brought me back again–not as I was before, but enriched, because I returned with a renewed hold on hope and the promise of goodness. The emotional payoff was huge because Julie Cantrell dared to dive so deep. I couldn’t have foreseen that she would go where she did. She shocked me–honestly shocked. Wait–I remember thinking as my eyes raced ahead–is she really going there? No way. Yet she did. And then she kept going.
The story was so gripping that I wanted to speed to the end, yet I was compelled to linger so that I might savor every elegantly scripted theme, each of them so lovely and so real. If someone had told me that a single novel could contain all the heavy issues in this one (sorry, I can’t name them else I would spoil it for you), while allowing readers to emerge on the other side completely uplifted, I would have declared it practically undoable. On the other hand, that’s precisely what this novel is all about.
Masterfully written, profoundly powerful, The Feathered Bone dared me to hope for what seems hopeless and believe in the impossible.
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.