THE FEATHERED BONE

Julie Cantrell

“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.”

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 depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief.

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“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.”

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 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.

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  • Thomas Nelson
  • Paperback
  • January 2016
  • 384 Pages
  • 9780718037628

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$15.99

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About Julie Cantrell

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.

Praise

Julie Cantrell does not hesitate to dive in to the deepest places of the heart. She knows it’s all there in our fallen world – the good and bad, love and evil, the brokenness and the healing. […] A stunning story that takes us through tragedy, heartbreak, and ultimately to both courage and redemption.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Idea of Love and The Stories We Tell

“The Feathered Bone is a rare find, a beautifully written page-turner that left me stunned and breathless.”

—Cassandra King, bestselling author of The Sunday Wife

Deeply emotional, moving and full of amazing imagery, Cantrell's latest is a triumph…. this is a book to be savored and pondered.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ starred review and Top Pick!

“Julie Cantrell is not only a bestselling author, she is also a groundbreaking one… Through lyrical writing, Cantrell creates a page-turning story of suspense that weighs the strength of faith, forgiveness, and the resilience of the human spirit. The Feathered Bone is not to be missed.” —Michael Morris, author of A Place Called Wiregrass and Man in the Blue Moon

Discussion Questions

We begin the story with Amanda examining the movement of the river and the boats around her while describing herself as “landbound.” How does this represent her life?

In an early scene, Sarah and Ellie pull on costumes for photos, displaying childhood innocence. Consider the deeper meaning of “disguising” or “masking” our true selves. How does this play out when Sarah is kidnapped, in costume, and called by a different name? How does she manage to stay in tune with her authentic self and not forget her own truth?

Issues of faith are presented early in the book. We learn about the religious traditions of Mardi Gras and then see the cathedral spires rise above the fog as we ferry across the river. What do these initial images tell about the role faith plays in Louisiana culture? Examine the contrast of light vs. dark that is explored throughout the story.

While in New Orleans, Amanda notices a prostitute. She feels compassion for the young woman but believes things like kidnapping and trafficking don’t happen to “people like us.” Discuss the factors that result in human trafficking and take time to learn about the impact on your local community. What does it say about us as a people if we ignore the exploitation of human beings, especially children?