Julie Cantrell’s The Feathered Bone is a story about hope – a hope that grows thin; a hope that is dashed; but a hope that is resurrected in the lives of people deeply and personally affected by the sudden disappearance of twelve year-old Sarah in pre-Katrina New Orleans during a school field trip.
Cantrell’s storyline is one that is altogether too common and painful in today’s society – a child is abducted and is either murdered or is trafficked for sexual purposes. But the story goes further as Cantrell goes beyond the tragedy, after the glaring press lights are gone and the thousands of missing person posters have faded in the outdoor elements, and into the afterlife of unbearable loss by all affected.
And in the center of this terrible tragedy is the mother of Sarah’s classmate Ellie, Amanda Salassi, who was responsible for Sarah and Ellie during the trip. Amanda’s world is ripped apart and spirals out of control as the days, months, and years pass. The result is more tragedy and loss for Amanda and her family. But through the painful journey, which plays out through the terrible events of Hurricane Katrina and over a four year period of time, a new hope arises out of the ashes of Amanda’s pain and past and she again finds love and hope.
I resonated with this multi-layered story not just as a reader but also as a minister who has walked with people in and through difficult situations that rend relationships and lives in two and leave little room for hope. The characterization in this novel is very credible and Cantrell does a wonderful job of weaving the bad and the good of life together in a way which is not trite or cliched and makes faith to be a positive part of life.
The Feathered Bone (Thomas Nelson, 2016) is a rich and compelling read and I am glad that I read it. I gave it a five star rating on Goodreads.
Note: I received a galley copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and the folks at Smith Publicity in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.