Annie England Noblin returns to the blog with a story of self-discovery for a 30-something young woman who has always felt “other’ in
St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets
I wasn’t sure that I was actually up to stuffing in another new read in the midst of the backlog – but I am SO VERY glad that I took a chance on this story. Maeve is thirty-six, adopted, newly broken from an adulterous boyfriend and suddenly unemployed when the paper she worked for went bankrupt. Never quite feeling as if she ‘fit’, particularly after a series of letters to her birth mother went unanswered when she was a teen, she’s always felt a bit less than. But when notice comes that her birth mother has died, and that her lawyer wants to speak with her, Maeve is faced with a dilemma. Should she go and satisfy a bit of curiosity, or should she just do as she had been – in her childhood bedroom at her parents’ house. While her father is truly a sounding board for her, the tension with her mother (who really is trying in her own way to support her) and her adopted brother all weighing in – she decides to attend the service with her best friend, and then return home the following day.
The small town in which Maeve’s only relative lived is ‘typical’ with gossip and secrets – and everyone knowing one another. But more striking to Maeve is the fact that everyone remarks on how similar she is to her birth mother – despite her anger at being given up, no answers, and her general malaise as the emotions overwhelm. From being the only one to inherit her mother Annabelle’s worldly goods, to seemingly inheriting her friends, a cranky cat and the constant reminders of ‘what her mother did’ just like her – there’s plenty to take in and more questions than answers.
Throughout it all, Noblin depicts and shares the emotions that Maeve would feel – and contrasts those with a few chapters of perspective from her birth mother, Annabelle, as well as an undercurrent of ‘something strange’ from the knitting ‘club’ that makes sweaters for pets, a special ‘starter kit’ for knitting projects that are given free of charge, and the fact that a reclusive yet famous writer is her new neighbor. Maeve first makes a decision to stay without making any decision, and soon finds herself provided with answers, more questions, a new direction and a sort of peace that she never before felt. With plenty of heart, enough emotion to pack a serious punch, a dangerous climax and a sharp recognition of ‘perfect’ people versus people, the story is lovely and engaging. I read this in one sweep – and was disappointed to see the story come to an end, even as all of the biggest questions were answered beautifully. A favorite for the depiction of Maeve’s emotions and questions, and the answers that she came to learn.
Title: St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets
Author: Annie England Noblin
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 14 January, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 29 minutes
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Laid off, cheated on, mugged: what else can go wrong in Maeve Stephens' life?
So, when she learns her birth mother has left her a house, a vintage VW Beetle, and a marauding cat, in the small town of Timber Creek, Washington, she packs up to discover the truth about her past.
She arrives to the sight of a cheerful bulldog abandoned on her front porch, a reclusive but tempting author living next door, and a set of ready-made friends at the St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets, where women knit colorful sweaters for the dogs and cats in their care.
But there's also an undercurrent of something that doesn't sit right with Maeve. What's the secret (besides her!) that her mother had hidden?
If Maeve is going to make Timber Creek her home, she must figure out where she fits in and unravel the truth about her past. But is she ready to be adopted again - this time, by and entire town. . .?
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.