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Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: January 26th, 2016

Synopsis: 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 in to 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.

Feathers–no matter what size or shape or color–are all the same, if you think about it. They’re soft. Delicate. But the secret thing about feathers is…they are very strong.

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The Feathered Bone is not an easy book to read, yet it’s a hauntingly memorable one that you won’t soon forget. Julie Cantrell has done an incredible job weaving a mesmerizing tale about people who are faced with unimaginable loss, and how they react. It invokes feelings of shock, outrage, sadness and anger, yet in the end, I am so glad I read it.

The story follows both Amanda and her family, and friends as they try to cope with the devastating loss of Sarah as well as Sarah herself as she desperately tries to survive the hell she’s put into. Although the plight of Amanda, and her daughter Ellie, each of whom struggles with feelings of guilt, are difficult to read, it’s the innocent and ever hopeful journal entries of Sarah that are the most gut-wrenching. One of her captors gives her some notebooks and pens. She’s at her lowest when she thinks Ellie is also being held captive. It’s her writing and a little sparrow outside her window that keeps her going. Just to give you an idea, here is an example:

Hello, Sparrow, I asked The Man if I could see Ellie. He hit me. He said I wasn’t being good enough, and that Ellie was going to be put in the box because of me. I didn’t cry, even though blood was all around my eye. He said The Boss is mad at me. I have to do everything they all tell me, even when the other men come to visit. I have to stop fighting. I will try.

Things I Am Thankful For:

1. My sparrow (that’s you)

2. My notebooks

3. My pen

4. Turkey and mashed potatoes (even though they were cold)

5. The Man didn’t come see me today

6. The Lady is nice sometimes

7. I don’t have to stay in the box anymore

8. I am still alive

9. God is with me (I think) I know

Heartbreaking right? But despite the horrific topics explored in this book including: human trafficking, teenage depression, suicide, and domestic abuse, the story’s true message is that we are all deserving of love, and to always hold on to hope.

So many novels tackle big, weighty issues with varying degrees of success. Julie Cantrell’s book though, is in a class of it’s own. This isn’t a book that gratuitously feeds off the news. Rather, it’s an intimate look at its characters who are representative of far too many in our society. The issues explored are not rare, but they’re ones we prefer not to talk about. I personally feel these are subjects we all should be discussing which is why I think this is a perfect book to share with friends, co-workers, and in book groups.  The Feathered Bone may not be for everyone, but it’s one I highly, highly recommend.

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