Monday, September 27, 2010

The Blessings of a Story

Sometimes you search for a book. Other times a book finds you.

I was in literary limbo last week. Having just finished Andre Agassi’s great memoir, Open, nothing on my to-be-read stack beckoned to me. Then I got a text from my sister Amy. She’d just read a great book by “that author from Dayton” she had told me about. Amy had emailed the author, telling her how much her story had meant to her and “she wrote me back!” (Since Amy also lives in Dayton and chose the book for her book club next month, the author is popping into book club!)

I admitted in a return text that I had no idea what she was talking about, so she forwarded me the email. Amy said the book was wonderful and I needed to read it. But then I got lost in an assignment before I had a chance to look up the title. The next thing I knew, Amy had forwarded me another email, this one with a confirmation from Amazon. She’d bought me the book. (Yes, she’s that kind of sister.)

A few days later, The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle showed up in my mailbox. Amy was right—I couldn’t put it down. And fortunately for me, Katrina has a bit of a backlist, so now I can plow through a few more of her books.

Here's more about the book from the publisher:

Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries—and its disconnects.

Not only has The Blessings of the Animals propelled me back into my women’s fiction reading mode, I’m also reinvigorated about the story I’m writing. I’d stepped away from it for a few months (or more) as “paying assignments” had taken priority. But now I feel I need to make time for this project. I sensed Katrina’s story played very close to her heart while she wrote it, as does the one I’m writing.

So, thank you, Amy, for sending me the book. And thank you, Katrina, for getting me motivated to write women’s fiction again. I dream of a day when someone’s sister mails her my book after a passionate recommendation.


  1. Pamela, I read this book not long ago and really enjoyed it! I was seeing her books all over the place on our summer trip to Michigan. It's interesting how sometimes reading can get the writing flowing.

  2. Andrea, it is interesting how books tend to cross our paths when we most need them. Katrina's main character, Cami, helped me see how you can take a woman, put her in an unfortunate circumstance and create empathy for her without making her a victim. It was really well done.

  3. You are SO welcome. One of the things I love about books is sharing the good ones with friends so you can talk about them. The icing on the cake is going to be having the author actually BE at our book club next month!

  4. I can't wait to read this book (I've had it on the Amazon order cart for a while ... just haven't hit "check out" yet!). I LOVED Kittle's The Kindness of Strangers when I read it a few years ago, in the way that you love a book while at the same time it's very disturbing. I have it marked up and post-it notes are placed here and there within its pages from the other times I've gone through it just making notes about how she handled certain craft issues.

  5. I have this book, so I'll have to bump it up to the top of my tbr list. I read and loved The Kindness of Strangers a couple of years ago (in the way Julie Kibler described)

  6. Julie/Julie ☺, I just ordered The Kindness of Strangers and Traveling Light. So, I'm excited to see further enthusiasm for her backlist. Now, if I can only make it up to Ohio in time for my sister's book club meeting...

  7. Thank you ALL so so much for your kind words about my novel. I'll be floating on this blog post for quite some time. Was like opening a present! Many thanks and take good care!

  8. Katrina! Welcome, welcome. So glad you stopped by. We hope you pop in from time to time, and please do let us know when you have news about new titles or other exciting a book signing in Dallas! ☺


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