Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count: 130-135,000 words
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store
Carrie Maloney began her career at a PBS station in St. Paul, Minnesota, producing for the Emmy Award-winning national science show, Newton’s Apple. She currently works as a freelance writer and video producer while volunteering at dog-centric non-profits. Carrie lives in Star Prairie, Wisconsin, with her husband and two shelter dogs who make her laugh every day.
Veterinarian Anna Dunlop is struggling to find meaning in her life since the tragic and unexpected death of her husband. When a local woman calls on her to save a litter of puppies that has been abandoned in a very cruel manner, she responds, but the challenge seems to be just one step too far for her psyche, and Anna begins to unravel.
First off, Ms. Maloney is one heck of a good writer. Tight prose that conveyed deep emotion and gave unique voices to a cast of characters kept me engaged throughout the story. Although this is primarily about Anna, the story is set in a small rural area, and the rescued puppies affect the lives of a number of other townsfolk who add color to the tale as they each have their moment in the spotlight.
Anna provides call-in advice for people’s pet questions at a local radio station, and that becomes the device that connects the vet, the other characters, the puppies, and the community. The scenes in the radio studio were my favorite part of the novel—both funny and heartwarming.
I think you’d have to be an animal lover to truly appreciate the story because the moral dilemma of how we humans regard animals is a central theme, and I could see how it might feel a little “preachy“ to someone who was just a casual animal “liker.”
All in all, once again I have been lucky enough to select a most unusual, entertaining, feel-good story from Big Al’s list.
Rating: ***** Five stars