Yesterday on the Today Show, the incomparably chipper Kathie Lee Gifford chose the novel Sensible Shoes as her "favorite thing" du jour, pushing debut novelist Sharon Garlough Brown's Amazon ranking into the top 100. (If you are watching the video clip, the recommendation is about nine minutes into the segment.)
I'm thrilled that people are discovering Sharon's book, and I hope you'll give it a chance too. It's about four women who are looking for what Gifford calls "a new, fresh cup of mercy," and find what they're seeking through ancient spiritual practices like lectio divina.
Readers of this blog who are interested in deepening their own journey through spiritual disciplines (but might be afraid to try those disciplines for the first time without a teacher) can be introduced to the practices through a wonderful story with recognizable characters.
Here's the blurb I gave to the publisher:
"Sharon Brown's story provides a way for readers to vicariously dip into deep spiritual practices through the realistic struggles and joys of four women. Through emotionally resonant characters, Sensible Shoes encourages us to communicate with God in new ways, broadening our spiritual journey one step at a time." Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood
I've been crowing about this book for a long time, and not just because Sharon is an old friend and seminary classmate of mine. Back a few years ago, Sharon, like a lot of first-time novelists, couldn't find a publisher or agent for love or money.
But she did not give up. She took the plunge and self-published the book through Thomas Nelson's WestBow program, and then publicized the heck out of it in her gentle way, leading women's retreats and speaking at churches.
And then InterVarsity Press heard about the book and decided to acquire it . . . even though they hadn't published fiction before. They believed in it, and in Sharon, that much.
Sometimes, good things really do happen to good people. This is one of those times. I hope you'll give the book a chance and perhaps suggest it to your book club, prayer group, or women's circle.