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The Feathered Bone written by New York Times Best-Selling Author Julie Cantrell
On a field trip to the Big Easy, Ellie and her friend receive a feather bone from a fortune teller. Shortly after Ellie’s friend Sarah disappears without a trace after going into a restroom, Ellie lets the guilt sink her into a deep depression. Amanda’s family begins to fall apart. Does Amanda lose faith when Ellie does the unthinkable? What happens when hurricane Katrina hits? Do they ever find Sarah?
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 (inches)|
"Feathersno matter what size or shape or colorare all the same, if you think about them. Theyre soft. Delicate. But the secret thing about feathers is . . . they are very strong."
In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughters sixth-grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughters best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelrygone, without a trace.
Unable to cope with her guilt, Amandas daughter sinks into depression. And Amandas husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amandas whole world has collapsed.
Amanda knows she has to save herself before its 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 Cantrells master portrait of love in a fallen world.
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 Associations 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. Visit her online at juliecantrell.wordpress.com, Facebook: juliecantrellauthor, and Twitter: @JulieCantrell.
4 1/2 stars. 'Deeply emotional, moving and full of amazing imagery, Cantrells latest is a triumph. Although some of the pain on the pages is incredibly difficult to read, this novel is stunning in its ability to convey the different meanings of slavery and being trapped in untenable circumstances. The ending is healing; this is a book to be savored and pondered.'
Rebecca ManeyGastonia, North CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Tragedy and Hope Unite!May 26, 2017Rebecca ManeyGastonia, North CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"A feather may look weak. Vulnerable. But the truth is, it's a powerful little thing."
The unthinkable has happened, Sarah Broussard has disappeared in the blink of an eye; vanished in the middle of a busy caf, gone without even a whisper. A school field trip to New Orleans has left an entire small town stunned, as days, then weeks go by.
Amanda Salassi and her daughter, Ellie, are fighting their own nightmares; feeling responsible, having been the last ones to see Sarah before they rushed through torrential rain to get back on the bus. As a result, their home life begins to disintegrate beneath a marriage that was much too fragile to handle tragedy; neither can eat, sleep or function normally; and as a young teen, Ellie mourns the loss of her best friend.
In the midst of immeasurable darkness, light appears, for "We all have a feathered bone. It's called hope. If we don't let anybody break us or make us forget who we are, then we will always be free." Julie Cantrell has captured that hope in story form, reminding her readers that we have a God, who is "with us" in any and all circumstances.
j mcnutt5 Stars Out Of 5Moving Through the PainOctober 27, 2016j mcnuttQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"The Feathered Bone is written for every person who has ever felt alone, unloved, unsafe or unvalued.
It is written to remind us all are loved, we have worth, and we are never alone." (pg.369) A Note from the Author, Julie Cantrell
This story is raw and emotional, heartbreaking, gripping and one that needs to be read.
Julie Cantrell is a gifted writer that has captured the evil that some people are capable of and the destruction that follows in it's wake. Everyone can be touched by evil and sometimes it goes undetected until we become ensnared in it's grip.
I was deeply moved by how the characters in this story were able to move through the pain of their circumstances and while on this side of life find hope to go on, with the support of loving friends and faith in God.
I encourage you to read this engaging story, it may offer the hope you may be searching for.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest opinion.
vickimarie20025 Stars Out Of 5Incredible Story!!August 5, 2016vickimarie2002Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I cannot say enough good things about this book!! Such an incredible and powerful story! It's Christian Fiction but I recommend it for everyone! There are incredibly dark moments when you don't know how anything positive can come out of anything, but it's very satisfying in the end.
ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Did not expect dark turn in Ellie's story!May 18, 2016ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3In the months just prior to Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans, Louisiana, Amanda Salassi is working as a crisis intervention / grief counselor as well as periodically being called in by the local police department to do forensic interviewing. She agrees to serve as a parent-chaperone on her daughter Ellie's 6th grade class tour through the city. It is on this trip, which takes place the week of Halloween, that Ellie's best friend Sarah (and the daughter of Amanda's best friend, Beth) goes missing, leaving no clue of where she might have gone. A search is immediately put together, but as the days and weeks pass police are no closer to having an answer or lead to Sarah's whereabouts.
Months later, Amanda, along with the help of sheriff buddy Jay, is still doing her own searching and investigating. Meanwhile in her own home, her daughter Ellie has fallen into a deep depression. Amanda also feels an ever-growing distance developing between her and her husband. As the months turn into years of still no answer, Amanda (largely driven by her all-consuming grief and guilt) refuses to give up hope, even when the most unexpected tragedy befalls her own family.
I was definitely curious to try this story out, as I lived just outside of New Orleans years ago (pre-Katrina) and have since had a great soft spot for the city. This one ended up not being terrible but it did have something to it that struck me as a little flat and safe for much of the story. I will say I was utterly shocked at the dark turn Ellie's story took, but aside from that I feel like I've seen many of the elements used here a number of times before.
But even if it wasn't the most amazing drama-mystery out there, there were elements I definitely liked. I liked the bits of Sarah's journal entries, which seemed to serve as a nice break when the rest of the story started getting pretty heavy but were also done in a way that wasn't distracting or irritating. I liked that it kept the flow nicely.
I also thought the scenes following Hurricane Katrina's arrival -- the scenes of communities banding together -- I thought those were well done and had a realism to them without being too painful to read. I also found myself moved by the passages describing the post-suicide grief process.
Carl -- Amanda's husband -- man, he was a tough character to read! It was disturbing to experience his crazy mood fluxes, the way one minute he'd be deep in mad lust-love with Amanda, the next moment (usually when he didn't get his way about something) he'd fly into a crazy rage. The sort of "closure" conversation that happened between Carl and Amanda near the end of the book struck me as a tad ridiculous. I felt like Amanda gave Carl WAY too much credit and too easily dismissed his horrible behavior. In a way, it is realistic in that that's not uncommon behavior for an emotionally abusive relationship (I'm speaking from having been in one myself in the past) but it's still irritating to read that behavior on paper, and I did think Amanda was a little bit of a hyper-portrayal of reality. I also struggled with the way some of the characters were written -- their actual characterizations, I mean. One scene with Ellie especially stood out to me, when she tells her mother "Happiness is a myth." I don't know, that struck me as a bit deep and emo for someone only in 6th grade at the time.
While reading this one, I couldn't help thinking how much it reminded me of Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping story. As it turns out, author Julie Cantrell admits in her author afterword that that case was, in fact, a large inspiration for this novel! (Not the only one, but a big one).
POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: This novel addresses the topics of suicide, spousal abuse, and sex trafficking.
FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
Mrs ARS5 Stars Out Of 5Dark yet full of hopeMay 3, 2016Mrs ARSQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell was a very hard, disturbing read for me. It dealt with three major issues that in my reading do bother me, and this one had them all in one place. However, Julie Cantrells writing is amazing and beautiful. Even though this is not my usual read and it was very depressing at times, she wrote about such disturbing circumstances with sensitivity and sympathy. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but she is an author that even though I know the subject matter is not going to be pretty she has the capability of pulling me into the story and making me want to turn the pages. With that being said, this story is a story of hope and I appreciated her heartfelt author notes. I am giving this one five stars even though it is not a happy read, because it still is a good read. I look forward to more of Julie Cantrells writing and will not hesitate to read her stories in the future. I received a complimentary copy of this book by Thomas Nelsons Fiction Guild and the opinions are my own honest ones.
Author: Julie Cantrell
Submitted: May 02, 2017
Tell us a little about yourself. Hi, I'm Julie. Thanks for taking a look at The Feathered Bone, my third novel and one that brings you to my hometown region of Walker, Louisiana.
What was your motivation behind this project? I always knew I would write about Louisiana at some point. After publishing Into the Free (set in my current state of Mississippi) and When Mountains Move (set in my previous state of Colorado), it was time to bring readers into the beautiful and mystical world of my childhood home--Walker, Louisiana.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? I had no idea I would write about a topic as dark as human trafficking. In fact, I fought against it for nearly two years. But like my first two novels, I finally gave into the creative forces that were nudging me to explore this issue. I hope I've managed to tackle this tough topic in a way that is not voyeuristic and that helps all people develop a greater empathy for those being sold within the sex trade.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Researching this novel brought me into a world I had never really known existed, especially within my own communities. Having met with people ages 4 to 46 who have been involved in the underbelly of human trafficking has taught me a lot about the predatorial practices pimps employ to lure young, vulnerable victims. While researching, I learned a lot about the reasons people become prey for the predators of the world, and I learned the interesting (and dangerous) parallels between domestic violence and trafficking. It's all about power and control, and it's all about hurting someone who is innocent. The tool they use most frequently? "Love." We do anything for those we love and for those we believe love us. Sadly, these predators do not love their "girls" or their wives, but most victims only know to associate love with abuse.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I gravitate toward strong female voices who don't shy away from truth. Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Toni Morrison, Ellen Gilchrist, Jesmyn Ward, Louise Erdrich, etc.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: Thank you for giving my stories a chance. I do sometimes bring you to tough places, but I try to do so with the lens of faith and to bring you through it with a redemptive and healing ending that delivers hope to all. I do this to help those who know such trauma heal from reading the story, and to help those who don't know such suffering to develop more empathy and understanding for those who do.