Amy Miller returns to the blog with a new story that features choices and change, full of hope and possibilities in
They Call Me the Cat Lady
Nancy Jones has a quiet and reserved life, she loves her work, adores her rescue cats and prefers to keep her secrets and woes quietly tucked away. She’s gentle and caring, none more so than for the downtrodden at the school where she teaches, or with the gentle way she manages her five rescue cats – all named for those she had loved and lost in the past. She’s not particularly loquacious or outwardly friendly, but that is because she is both scared and ashamed: ashamed about the mistakes she made in the past, and afraid that any who learn her tightly held secrets will scorn her, increasing her pain. There’s a certain shyness that surrounds her: it’s simple fear of what could happen if she opens up that she denies herself because of all of the hurts of the past. But there’s a certain hopefulness buried deep, a hope that things could be different if she can only ignore her fear.
The opportunity to ‘try again’ presents itself with a simple chance encounter that involves a ‘cat sitting’ favor for a neighbor, and a quiet search through their house in the hopes of meeting her charge – she truly LOVES cats and they seem to love her – her quiet voice, the chatter as she talks to them, and she’s wanting to put this cat who’s owners have left on vacation at ease. Coming up short in front of a photograph that brings all sorts of memories from her past forward, Nancy is shaken to the core, and really needs to find a way to finally move forward. It’s scary and full of pitfalls, it will require she learn to open up and forgive her own mistakes, and even let go of the shames from accepting situations that others wouldn’t. Is this even possible for her after all this time? Not quite a ‘perfect’ read with some situations certainly of Nancy’s own making and her willingness to allow others freedom to treat her as they choose may frustrate some, but there is a core of strength here that comes to the forefront as the story continues.
Here is where Miller’s skill with characterization come to the forefront. Everyone who has ever owned a cat or a dog knows that conversations, while terrifically one-sided are common and often helpful: allowing you to work out a problem. But, advice is sorely lacking even if sympathetic ears are around. Nancy’s choice to name her cats after those she lost, and often conversations that she ‘wishes’ were held, or should have been, are her way of trying to work through these issues – just not necessarily to any great effect. Gently painted as a rather delicate and removed woman, Nancy is sincerely dedicated to alleviating the woes of others, from a boy at the school to her rescued cats. She’s managed for quite a while to ignore her own more pressing conflicts to fall to the side as she helps others navigate their way through difficult moments. But, Miller then pushes Nancy into situations and places where her own issues and problems come to the forefront – and forces her to make choices and decisions that finally help to lay her grief and fears to rest, leaving us with a lovely and hopeful ending, full of possibilities and cat hairs.
Title: They Call Me the Cat Lady
Author: Amy Miller
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 26 April, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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You’ve seen me on the street. You’ve walked past my house, and pointed, and wondered. The cat lady. All on my own, with only my five cats to keep me company. Did no-one ever tell you that you can’t judge a book by its cover?
Everyone in town knows Nancy Jones. She loves her cats. She loves her tumbledown house by the sea. She loves her job in the local school where she tries to help the children who need help the most. Nancy tries hard not to think about her past loves and where those led her…
Nancy never shares her secrets – because some doors are better kept locked. But one day she accepts a cat-sitting request from a local woman, and at the woman’s house, Nancy sees a photograph, in a bright-red frame. A photograph that opens the door to her painful past…
Soon Nancy doesn’t know what frightens her the most: letting her story out, or letting the rest of the world in. It’s impossible to find companionship without the risk of losing it. But can Nancy take that risk again?
A heart-wrenching and heart-warming story of love lost and found, and of second chances, They Call Me The Cat Lady is perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.