It’s Wednesday, and it’s BAAAAACCCKKK! Yes – it’s What I’m Reading Wednesday, and BOY do I have a doozy for you to kick off the year. (Never mind that January is almost over. There’s been too much reading and not enough writing, y’all).
This week I want to tell you about Julie Cantrell’s latest book (just released yesterday), titled The Feathered Bone. This one had me glued to my comfy chair until the wee hours of the morning, and she done near ripped my heart out with this tale. Read in one marathon sitting, my first response was: damn, y’all. This was hard. HARD. And beautiful. Cantrell manages to wind the themes of spousal abuse, teen depression, suicide and child trafficking along with hope, faith and forgiveness all into one book. Did I mention it was hard? It was. You’re going to want the tissues as you are on one roller coaster of a ride…
Opening in Louisiana pre-Hurricane Katrina, The Feathered Bone tells the tale of two people – that of Amanda Salassi and her 12-year-old daughter Ellie’s best friend, Sarah. Amanda is chaperoning her daughter’s class on a field trip to the Big Easy. Before they head back home, the group stops for beignets and a bathroom break, during which Ellie’s best friend Sarah disappears. What follows after that is a layered and complicated tale that spans post-Katrina as they search endlessly for Sarah.
Beautifully written, we walk Amanda’s walk of the unthinkable – not only that of losing a child, but losing the child of a friend, under our charge. As she struggles to pull together her family, support her daughter (who is suffering from her own feelings of guilt from Sarah’s disappearance), hold her marriage together and run her counseling practice, we also follow Sarah’s story, which is told without gratuitous detail – and what is more dangerous to this parent than being left to her own imagination? It works. Sarah’s story is a picture of grace and faith in the face of an unthinkable situation.
The book starts out quietly, slowly, but the devil is in the details and Cantrell is setting the stage, so just hold on as once the story picks up momentum, you’ll be gripping tightly to the book and your emotions. This isn’t a “ripped from the headlines tale”, but it IS one that needs to be told. You may be asking yourself “if it’s so hard, why would I want to read it?” Not only is this a tale that needs to be told, but it is a tale beautifully and masterfully told. The author pulls no punches in this one.
In the process of writing the review, news came through my feed about the rising rate of child trafficking here in my home state of Texas. If nothing else, this book is the poster child for “it could never happen to me” as much as it offers a lesson in hope and forgiveness.
And it had me squeezing my 9-year-old a little tighter at night.
Julie Cantrell can be found online at http://www.juliecantrell.com, on Twitter, Facebook and on Pinterest! The Feathered Bone is available in bookstores and online (just click on the link right there to take you straight to Amazon. You won’t regret it!)
Many thanks to the publisher Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins for the eARC of this book provided via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.