I am thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Catherine Ryan Hyde's new book which releases from Lake Union Publishing next week. This book was a joy to read and I'm hoping lots of people will grab a copy. Also, if you live in the United States and leave a comment below telling me the name (or names) of your pets, along with a way to contact you, I will enter you into a giveaway the publisher has partnered with me to do. Giveaway ends on release day, December 13th.
AUTHOR: Catherine Ryan Hyde
PUBLISHER: Lake Union Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: December 13, 2016
On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.
When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.
With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.
MY THOUGHTS: I picked this book up after reading one which led to a huge reading slump and little did I know this book would be all I needed to cure it. I have previously read another book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, "Worthy," and although I adored it as well, I had no idea this one would be so much better.
One early summer day Pete and his friend are headed out fishing. Along the way, they run into a large dog alongside the road who has been hit. Pete immediately wants to help the dog, because that's just the type of kid he is, while his friend decides to go ahead fishing. It takes Pete all day to rescue this dog. The town vet refuses to treat him since he is part wolf so he has to trek 4 miles out of town, wheeling the pup on a makeshift wagon, to seek out a recluse of a woman doctor who lives alone and rescues strays, both human and animal, from time to time.
Pete's excursion changes his life. He meets Dr. Lucy and soon makes a new friend, Justin, whom he immediately likes after he quizzes him on whether he would help an injured animal or go fishing and Justin chooses the animal. The only problem if that Justin is black and it's Texas, 1959. While this is not an issue for Pete or Dr. Lucy, it is for the rest of the town and Dr. Lucy, who soon becomes attached not only to Pete and Justin, but to Justin's father, Calvin, soon learns what lengths people will go to make sure people "stick to their own kind."
This is a beautiful book about friendship and family. The dog actually mirrors Dr. Lucy in that he apparently has lived alone most of his life and is afraid to let people in. Even once he heals and Pete releases him back into the wild, he knows Pete loves him dearly and he takes it upon himself to continue to keep an eye on the boy from the fringes and make sure Pete is safe. This book covers a long time period and we get to see both the people and the rescued dog grow old both together and apart. Hyde does a wonderful job of showing how even in 1959, some didn't see the world as strictly black and white and also how people can make chose to make their own families despite what society dictates.
I think this is a perfect book for this time of year. It's touching yet it sparks thought. It's also pretty ugly at times and it reaffirms my belief that sometimes the scariest monsters in the world are actually human beings. If you love great storytelling and the bond between people and their pets, please consider reading this book. I doubt you'll regret it!
RATING: 5 PAWS