I enjoyed Sharon Garlough Brown’s clever approach to her novel, Sensible Shoes : a story about the spiritual journey. This is a fictional story of four women from different backgrounds who meet at a spiritual retreat centre to participate in a twice-monthly Saturday morning workshop. While this is a good story, I don’t think the book cover is a good depiction as it gives the impression that the women are all young and slim, which isn’t the case.

One of the interesting parts of the book is that the reader gets to ‘sit in’ on the spiritual retreat sessions as the book includes the workshop notes. This means the reader has the opportunity to go on their own spiritual journey alongside the fictional women.

The women strike up an unusual friendship, given their different ages and backgrounds, but their backstories are believable and relatable. Meg is a widow, whose only child has just left home. Hannah is single, in her late 30’s and works as a pastor. Mara is twice married and the mother of three teenage/young adult children. Charissa is a recently married graduate student.

Throughout the book, there are flashbacks to the women’s past which helps explain why they make the choices they do and the individual ways the spiritual retreat benefits them. This book concludes when the workshops finish but the women’s stories continue in Two Steps Forward.

The story is well-written and covers a variety of themes – relationships, career, parental influences and childhood trauma – in the context of Christian faith.

Overall an insightful read.

More reviews of this book can be found on Goodreads.