Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown (BK 1 of The Sensible Shoes series)
My review: 5 of 5 stars
Sensible Shoes is not just a novel; it is an immersive experience. If it were merely a novel, I would have given it 4 stars rather than 5. But, because it goes further, taking the reader along on a spiritual journey with the characters, I felt it deserved another star.
In the book, four women are drawn into a spiritual formation journey at a retreat center:
Hannah – a pastor who doesn’t realize how exhausted she is
Meg – a widow and recent empty-nester haunted by her past
Mara – a woman who has bounced from one relationship to another and is now trying to navigate a difficult marriage
Charissa – a hard-working grad student trying to get things right
The characters are realistic, believable, and sympathetic. Any woman reading Sensible Shoes should be able to relate in some way to one or more of the characters. The reader is taught key spiritual practices and taken on the journey along with the characters. The book is often emotional as the women fight their personal demons to grow closer to God. In reading this book, most women will be compelled to begin their own spiritual journey. I wasn’t prepared for that at first, but God definitely spoke to me through this book and began to move in my life. The novel also has romance and friendships with emotional honesty and depth. I highly recommend it, but if you pick it up, be open to a spiritual journey of your own. This book would also make an excellent group study.
Please note: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“We don’t have the power to make the sun rise, but we can choose to be awake when it happens” (p. 34).
“Sacred journeys need sensible shoes” (p. 56).
“Humility is always the starting place for those who want to draw near to God” (p. 63).
“It’s the Spirit who opens the eyes of the blind. Always at the right time” (p. 206).
“Our work is simply to cooperate with the Spirit by saying yes to God’s movement in our lives” (p. 290).
Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown
My review (courtesy of my mother-in-law): 4 of 5 stars
I passed the first book on to my mother-in-law once I had completed its review, and she liked it so much that she wanted to continue reading the series. Rather than make her wait, I passed the next two on to her. This review stems from her feedback.
She can’t wait to read book three to see what happens next. The women featured in these books continue to face personal struggles and set-backs. They gain spiritual insights along the way to help them overcome internal and external obstacles. They found a community because they were all searching for how to involve God more deeply in their lives. Each was lonely and hurt in a different way. The women learned to appreciate each other in their differences but were all respectful of each other’s journey. Each character had their own set of strengths and weaknesses – one step forward, two steps back moments – but continued to grow in Christ.
The pace of the book was steady, slowed a bit by the alternating stories behind each character. My mother-in-law compared it to braiding hair. She also took 5 pages of notes as she read. There is much to digest in these books, but the stories of the women make for a compelling read. She agreed that this series would make for an excellent women’s study: a combination book club and shared spiritual journey. Highly recommended.
Please note: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My review: (coming soon)
Please note: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Be sure to follow the series to its conclusion with the last in the series.
You can also pick up the new study guides so you and others can dig deeper into the spiritual journeys depicted in these novels.