cover image Shades of Light

Shades of Light

Sharon Garlough Brown. IVP, $18 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4658-0

Brown (Sensible Shoes) pulls back the curtain on mental illness in this moving story. In small-town Michigan, Wren Crawford is a social worker who works with women and children overcoming traumatic events. After years of struggling to maintain happiness, Wren’s depression and anxiety begin spiraling dangerously out of control, and she decides to check herself in to Glenwood Psychiatric Hospital. While her depression has never really affected her sense of self—she accepts it after seeing it all the time in her work and feels numb to it—it has started affecting her mother, causing her to wonder what she could have done to help or better understand her daughter. While at Glenwood, Wren admits that she dislikes change and becomes more receptive to therapy. After learning new coping strategies, she returns home and starts working again, but when a childhood friend with bipolar disorder comes back into her life, Wren feels her progress toward stability and health coming undone. To find a way out of her depression, Wren grabs hold of her faith—something she had almost given up. Brown’s evocative prose and often claustrophobic exploration of Wren’s psyche is both heartbreaking and enthralling. This emotionally harrowing story will appeal to fans of Karen Kingsbury. (Aug.)