The first thing I want to say about The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle, is that it is such a wonderful read. There is so much depth to the story and it is so well written that I found myself not being able to put it down. Not in a desperate need to finish it, but more like a delicious meal that fills your senses and that you want to savor every bite.
In the opening pages, we are introduced to Cami Anderson, who announces to us that her husband has left her, and on that morning...
"hours before I knew he would, I looked at the bruised March sky and recognized tornado green."
That tornado foreshadows what Cami is about to go through and how she got there. As a child she was fascinated by the violence of the storms so common in Ohio, and the hot headed stallion her father road in his olympic competitions. The need for thrills filled her life with "rock climbing, flying lessons, hitchhiking and drugs", but all this was nothing compared to the intoxicating sensation she got when she starved herself. All this came to a head when Bobby Binardi walked into her life. He was a bit of a bad boy, with problems of his own, but he saved her- literally by filling her life and feeding her starving body. Bobby was her best friend & roommates brother and a chef.
It's been 18 years since Bobby & Cami had gotten married. He runs his own restaurant, Tanti Baci, and Cami is a veterinarian. They have a teenage daughter, Gabby, and a whole family of misfit animals. They all live happily on the family farm... until Bobby decides he's "not happy". The day he walks out, is the day Cami must find herself again. But just as life seems to be falling apart for her, happiness seems to be filling the lives of everyone around her. Her best friend, Olive, who just happens to be her soon-to-be ex-husband's sister just got engaged and is planning her wedding, her parents are going to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and her gay brother and his partner are celebrating the adoption of their little girl. Cami tries desperately to not be jaded when it comes to the happiness of everyone around her, and slowly she begins to heal. Part of this healing is through the love of the animals that fill her life, one of which is an abused horse she rescued who has to learn to trust again just like Cami. Divorce, relationships, falling in love, the healing power of animals, Katrina Kittle touches on all these things and more in her wonderful novel, The Blessings of the Animals. There are twists and a few turns as Katrina weaves the story, just like life itself. She paints such a true picture of the sadness when a relationship ends, and the complications it creates with the family & friends left behind. The characters are so well rounded, and the situations so realistic. And the relationships Cami has with the animals is beautiful, it's especially wonderful to read about how lovingly she nurses Moonshot, the abused horse in her care, back to health, mentally and physically. As if the storytelling isn't enough, Katrina paints wonderful images with her writing as well, with "bruised March skies" and "pear tree petals sprinkling down".
Animal lovers will enjoy this book! But it's also a story of personal healing, and will resonate with readers who can relate to a woman's struggle to become whole again.
A Little About Katrina... Katrina Kittle was born in Illinois but has lived in the Dayton area since first grade. She attended Ohio University and was Outstanding Graduating Senior for both the English and Education departments. She taught high school English and theatre at Centerville High School for five years, and she taught middle school English and theatre at the Miami Valley School for six. She has also worked as a house cleaner, a veterinary assistant, a children’s theatre director, a costumer, and as case management support for the AIDS Resource
Center (formerly AIDS Foundation Miami Valley). Katrina is the author of Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, and The Kindness of Strangers. The Kindness of Strangers was a BookSense pick and the winner of the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction. When not writing, Katrina enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, acting, and time spent in the presence of animals (especially horses). She is the proud aunt of Amy and Nathan, and lives in the Dayton area with her cat and a kickass garden. You can learn more about Katrina at her website, KatrinaKittle.com .
Katrina Kittle is making a stop here at Chick with Books as part of her Virtual Book Tour for The Blessings of the Animals! You can find her tour schedule at TLC Book Tours . AND, The Blessings of the Animals was officially released this past tuesday and is available from your local bookstore! I want to thank Trish of TLC Tours for inviting me to review Katrina's book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! And I'll be checking out the Katrina's other books now!