Feathers of Hope
"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." (2 Corinthians 4:18)
In a season of loss and change, Wren Crawford and her great-aunt, Katherine Rhodes, share the journey as companions in sorrow and hope. As Katherine prepares to retire as the director of the New Hope Retreat Center, she faces both personal and professional challenges—especially after the arrival of the board's candidate to replace her. Not only must she confront more unresolved grief from her past, but she's invited to embrace painful and unsettling insights about her own blind spots. How might disruption become a gift that opens the way to new growth?
Wren's world is shifting and expanding as she presses forward in recovery from a period of deep depression. Still processing open questions around the death of her best friend, Casey, Wren stewards her grief by offering compassionate care to the residents of the nursing home where she now works. But the shedding of her old life is exhausting—especially as she doesn't yet see what new life will emerge. How might art continue to provide a pathway for deepening her awareness of God's presence with her?
In this sequel to Shades of Light and Remember Me, fans of the Sensible Shoes series will not only be able to attend Katherine's final retreat sessions at New Hope but also encounter old and new friends along the way.
Also available: Feathers of Hope Study Guide
"When a book about grief and pain turns out to be a life-giving gift, you know you are listening to the voice of Sharon Garlough Brown. Feathers of Hope embodies what its characters call the grace-filled 'stewarding of affliction.' Whether we face racial conflict or mental health challenges, our instinct is to avoid pain—and also to avoid those bearing that pain. This book cuts against the cultural grain and stands with the suffering Christ, blessing and bringing light to those who dwell in darkness."
"As in her other wonderful novels, Sharon Garlough Brown draws us close to well-known and loved characters who communicate, once more, spiritual truths in their words and actions. This is a timely book for our times as we grapple with issues of diversity and race and justice, while at the same time being shepherded more deeply into the heart of God. Expect to broaden your understanding and feel a deeper longing when you read this wonderful book."
"In her novel Feathers of Hope, Sharon Garlough Brown sensitively portrays the struggles we're all familiar with—grief, loss, forgiveness, and trust in God during seasons of change. Subtly woven into her story and characters are valuable spiritual resources we can apply to our own journeys of recovery. As always in her beautiful novels, hope triumphs."
"Feathers of Hope is a return to characters we've already allowed space for in our hearts. It's a difficult story, one with plenty of loss and regret and resentment threaded throughout. But more than anything, it's a love story—love that perseveres, forgives, uplifts, and overcomes. It's a story of a more excellent way. In her signature gentle style, Brown invites us once again into the lives of Kit and Wren. This is a story I sorely needed, and I suspect I'm not the only one. What a timely, powerful, revealing novel!"
"We need good stories. They can serve as guides to a way of living more rooted in reality. In Feathers of Hope, Sharon Garlough Brown has given us a story that can serve as mirror in which we see ourselves and others with more kindness and insight. I'm confident you'll find words of grace and truth as you read."
"Feathers of Hope is a beautifully honest work. It is unflinching in its approach to the unspoken and uncomfortable. In Brown's fearless naming of these truths, we are reminded that we are not alone in our suffering. It's a portrait of how messy healing can be, but also a blueprint on how to keep God the guiding light throughout. Brown's work embodies the journey of how to heal gently, love generously, and be well. Returning to her characters and their healing journeys was such a gift—like spending a rainy afternoon by the fire with a warm mug of tea and that one friend who truly gets you."
"One of the things I love most about Sharon Garlough Brown's writing and her beautifully and transparently written cast of characters, is that I'm actually learning and changing as I read a gripping story. Feathers of Hope, like all her work, is edifying and entertaining. Brown has found the perfect balance of these elements in her spiritual fiction. I see how her characters—who now feel like old friends as they occasionally resurface from book to book—search, pray, yearn, breathe deeply to calm and center, reconcile, hurt, and heal each other. I always feel grateful to be a reader at the same time Brown is a writer. More, please."
"Sharon has done it again and has written another Holy Spirit–led book. Feathers of Hope addresses many hard realities through the eyes of a narrative. Sharon invites us to have real dialogue around the issues of racism, family dysfunction, socioeconomic disparity, work difficulties, and mental illness, all while deeply rooting it in Christ. She blesses us with a look at the underbelly of life as she reveals real hope through the healing and reconciliation that Christ can bring. The story shows how forgiveness and daily spiritual practices anchor souls, taking us into the emotional and spiritual life where both pain and beauty exist. If you are looking for a realistic view of how anxiety and depression are part of the human experience, this is the book you want to read."
"Because people of all ages have experienced suffering, loss, fear, and transition recently, I am grateful for Sharon Garlough Brown's newest novel Feathers of Hope. I found great beauty in this book's authenticity—the people, struggles, hard conversations, and faith—even identifying with Wren in my own small work to bring a flicker of light to isolated nursing home residents this past year. Brown's exquisite and tender writing may evoke tears, especially in realizing how much a faithful, quiet, and often hidden life of service can be used by God to change others forever. Perhaps you don't read many stories where the protagonists are this transparent, flawed, and humble enough to move forward in grace and mercy, where new red feathers grow back on seemingly bald and battered birds, offering hope. If so, start with this one."
"In Feathers of Hope, Sharon Garlough Brown brilliantly portrays mental illness in a gentle and heartbreaking way as young Wren continues on her path toward healing from deep depression. We also glimpse the bare humanity of Wren's great-aunt and housemate, Katherine Rhodes, as she navigates her impending retirement from directing the New Hope Retreat Center. Feathers of Hope tells a story of shedding the old to bring forth the new, giving hope to all of us who are confronted with our deep humanity and sinfulness after days or decades of our own sacred journey. A poignant, deeply personal, and relevant story for such a time as this."
"Through the power of story Sharon Garlough Brown gently ushers us into deeper conversations about faith, pain, grief, and hope. We see ourselves in these characters and in this story, and that allows us to find ourselves in the bigger story and draw near to the Writer himself. Both provocative and comforting, Feathers of Hope is another gift to all who seek an honest relationship with others and with God."
"What a wise and gentle guide into deep, troubled waters. Sharon Garlough Brown offers truth as invitation, not judgment, set within the stories of genuine, relatable characters. Entering into Feathers of Hope is, in the words of one character in the book, 'open-heart surgery.' May we allow the Spirit to cut through our false narratives so the true story of our all-along belovedness in community can come to the light."
"Change, transition, disappointment, and loss are unavoidable experiences of our human journey. Sharon Garlough Brown does an exceptional job, once again, by portraying a cast of familiar characters as they navigate their very human lives and learn how to walk with God through them. Treat yourself to a strong dose of real hope by reading Feathers of Hope!"
"In a way characteristically disarming, gentle, and wise, Sharon Garlough Brown has once again invited us, through a story, into a space of spiritual growth and reflection. As I walked with Kit and Wren in their own healing journeys, I was reminded to look for hope budding in its earliest and unlikeliest of forms, and I was invited to reflect on the power of forgiveness, the sacrificial nature of love, and God's relentless endeavor to redeem pain. These 'companions in sorrow' once again left me encouraged to be a better companion myself and to consider how I might more faithfully steward my affliction for the sake of God's people."
"Sharon Garlough Brown excels again at drawing readers more deeply into life with God. In Feathers of Hope, we follow Kit, Wren, and other characters both beloved and new as they steward their pain and discover that through pain, our giftedness can emerge anew. Presented with fresh challenges, these characters continue to grow, learning the brave vulnerability of forgiveness and receiving the grace of reconciliation and rest. As with all Brown's novels, Feathers of Hope carries much-needed encouragement: while redemption is a long road, it does not have to be a lonely one when we travel close to God and each other."
"What a gift and a journey to dive into the lives of Katherine, Wren, and others. Meeting them again feels like a sweet reunion with a soul-expanding conversation. Prepare to be encouraged, stretched, and held in the hand of our loving God."
"Few novels are able to hold as unflinching a gaze into human frailty (grief, self-deception, bitterness, and conflict) alongside a testimony to hope, wholeness, and healing. Feathers of Hope does this with stunning adeptness. As a newcomer to the series, I was drawn in by the longings and obstacles each character discovers. In the end, this is a book about becoming through radical grace and acceptance what we could never be without it."
"Tough spiritual and societal issues are addressed in this new installment making for a difficult, if necessary read. A strong addition for libraries with large spiritual collections and fans of Brown’s Sensible Shoes series."
Part One: Things Unseen
Part Two: Out of Darkness
Part Three: Into Light