The Blessings of the Animals, by Katrina Kittle.
Once I had examined the fillies, I drove home. I passed the decapitated St. Francis still lying face down in the mud, the shingles scattered in the yard, the branches down everywhere. I walked straight to the barn, where Muriel wandered in the aisle and the biter wouldn't let me touch him.
What if you thought something was worth saving but you didn't know where to begin? - from The Blessings of the Animals, page 83 -
Cami Anderson is a busy veterinarian who also volunteers for her local Humane Society on animal rescues. She has no idea her husband Bobby is unhappy until he walks out of their eighteen year marriage one day, leaving her with a barn full of animals in need and a teenage daughter devastated by her parent's separation. Cami, the animal rescuer, has no idea that the animals who seem so needy will actually save her in the end. A horse named Moonshot, an unruly goat named Muriel, and a three legged cat named Gerald stole my heart in this beautiful novel about moving forward through life's challenges.
Katrina Kittle introduces the reader to a warm, quirky, and lovable cast of characters in The Blessings of the Animals. I loved Cami -- a self-assured, middle-aged woman who must re-think her life in the wake of divorce; a woman who turns to the animals in her care for comfort when she discovers that she can not do it all on her own. Her personal journey was one to which I related having traveled through divorce and found my happiness again at the age of forty.
The novel takes on the issues of divorce and its impact on children, the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of loss, friendship, gay marriage and adoption, and animal abuse and neglect. For those of you, like me, who have a hard time reading about abused animals ... don't worry -- Kittle handles this subject deftly and with sensitivity and shows the positive side of animal rescue. I loved the spunky goat Muriel, whose dog-like qualities and lively spirit made me want to run out immediately and get a goat!
Kittle's prose is seamless. The pages of this novel almost turn themselves. I was carried away into Cami's world effortlessly. At times, I forgot I was reading a book and felt like the characters were real people. Any writer who can do that gets high praise from me. Kittle is the author of three previous novels which I will absolutely be picking up in the future.
Readers who love animals and great characters will be captivated by The Blessings of the Animals.
Four and a half stars out of five.
Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".