A School of Daughters by Kate René MacKenzie


A School of Daughters by Kate René MacKenzie
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

It’s funny how things sneak up on you…

Kate Willoughby is a champion for throwaways—discarded dogs and cats, abandoned horses bound for slaughter, and all creatures great and small. But now it’s Kate who’s alone in a hostile world like a dog dumped by the side of a road. Is there a champion for Kate?

After 22 years of marriage, Kate loves her husband, Brian, with an even greater passion than when she spoke her vows. “My world spins on his axis,” she often says. But when Kate finds a love letter to Brian from Micky, she’s torn between proving Brian’s innocence and nailing him to the wall with his guilt.

Throughout her marriage, Kate has been trusting and trustworthy —to a fault, friends have said. Now, she steals into Brian’s emails and accesses his credit card accounts, phone records, bank statements, friends and activities, discovering the metaphoric iceberg beneath Brian’s affair.

Turning to the one constant in her life, Kate is guided by her family of animals: shelter dog Molly; Premarin horse Quinn; packrat Winston; owls Albert & Victoria; Stubby, the chipmunk; rattlesnake Cassandra; and Phineas, the determined grosbeak. These wise and wonderful teachers, along with a wild menagerie on her Arizona ranch, deliver lessons on life, love, and letting go. But it’s Molly, in a heartbreaking act of courage, who leads Kate back to her true self, before she became lost in love with Brian.

Shining a light on the childhood events and adult choices that, like steppingstones, brought her to this moment, Kate illuminates a familiar and well-worn path. Narrating her story with equal doses of heartache and humor, Kate comes to understand that nothing sneaks up on you that isn’t already here. Learning from Phineas, the determined grosbeak, Kate realizes that even after a devastating injury, you can soar again.

A School of Daughters is a beautifully written, lyrical book that delves into the heart of the main character, highlighting how her current life is rooted in her past, from childhood abuse to the desperate desire for stability at nearly any cost. There is truth here that shines through, and I admire the author for taking her life and sharing it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This story hit me hard, in a good way. I was completely engrossed in the story and could see myself and friends in similar situations. Even after finishing the book, I could not stop thinking about Kate, what she was going through, and how her friends and, especially, the animals in her life not only helped her through the pain, but also taught her important life lessons.

The book skips back and forth from present day to situations in her past with not only her husband, but her childhood, other romantic relationships, and with different animals in her life. It is a revealing look on how a person can be strong and yet still give up parts of herself without even realizing it.

Her journey was heartrending, yet the reader is, in the end, left with a sense of hope that Kate will make it through to the other side. Kudos, Ms. MacKenzie. I will definitely be on the lookout for other books by this author.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Maggie McConnell says

    Wow! I’m speechless from your thoughtful and thought-provoking review. Thank you for reading Daughters. If you like romance, I have a book out under Maggie McConnell, “Spooning Daisy,” and another romance coming out early 2023, “Eclipsing Maddie.” I’m currently working on a somewhat sequel to Daughters which continues Kate’s story. Again, thank you!

  3. Excellent review!

  4. Bea LaRocca says

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful review of A School of Daughters, I love the cover and synopsis and I am looking forward to reading this story myself

  5. Really nice cover and excerpt, looking forward to reading this!

  6. Maggie McConnell says

    Thank you to all who commented. And thank you LASR for hosting Daughters.

  7. Really nice cover and excerpt, looking forward to reading this.

  8. A School of Daughters sounds like a fascinating read and I like the cover, thanks for sharing it with me!

    Thanks for sharing your great review, Rose!

    Have a terrific day!

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