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Free to a Good Home – Book Review

It may not be earth-shattering, but it’s something. And I think to myself, if dogs can be rehabilitated, can learn to love and trust again, maybe we can, too. – from Free to a Good Home, page 288 –

Noelle Ryan finds herself mourning the loss of her husband who leaves her for another man, and aching for the child she is unable to conceive. She lavishes love on her huge, Great Dane Zeke, and throws herself into her work as a veterinary technician at a Rhode Island animal shelter – raising funds for the shelter’s expansion and finding homes for abandoned animals. When her ex-husband, Jay, manipulates her into caring for his mother Margaret who has been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Noelle wonders how she will manage this new responsibility – especially since Margaret has never tried to contain her dislike of Noelle. But what begins as a year of sadness, evolves into a year of healing…and the discovery that love is still possible if you just keep moving forward.

Eve Marie Mont’s debut novel explores infertility, homosexuality, animal rescue, disability, women’s friendships, and the ambivalent nature of familial love. Structured to take the reader through the twelve months of one year, the story revolves around Noelle’s conflicted feelings toward her ex-husband, and her torturous journey from heartbreak to recovery. Noelle is a character who typifies many women: the nurturer who is unable to say “no” when someone needs her, the dreamer who longs for children and the perfect home, the betrayed who is afraid to become vulnerable again. There were moments when I found myself wanting to reach into the pages of the book and shake her. Luckily, Mont has a wry sense of humor which she puts to good use in the novel, and she rescues Noelle from becoming the stereotypical female.

Free to a Good Home is an enjoyable read. Many of the issues central to the book are serious, yet Mont keeps things fairly light. My favorite character was Margaret, Noelle’s ex-mother-in-law, whose sharp tongue and sharper wit made me like her despite her difficult personality. I found the sections dealing with Margaret’s physical decline believable and heart-felt. I also liked the push-and-pull relationship which develops between Noelle and Margaret.

Despite the minor progress we’ve made in the past few months, I have to keep reminding myself that our relationship is like that of two former rival nations that have entered a truce for the purposes of their mutual benefit: we don’t really trust each other; we try to meet somewhere in the middle but usually end up miles apart. – from Free to a Good Home, page 104 –

Free to a Good Home will appeal to readers who enjoy women’s fiction and light, fun books; as well as for those readers who love animals (specifically dogs).

Other blog reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave me a link to your review in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.

Clicking on the link below will take you to Indiebound where you can find a link to purchase Free to a Good Home from an Indie Bookstore. If you chose to purchase the book in this manner, I will earn a small commission based on the sale.


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7 Comments

  1. October 10, 2010    

    This sounds really good and reminds me a little of The Hidden Life of Humans by Erika Ritter (which is the book that brought my husband and I together many moons ago!) Not sure if you’ve read that one?

    My one hesitation with Free to a Good Home is that I am always wary of books with animals in them because generally the animal dies and I cry for weeks. (Yes, I am that much of a sap.) However I shall put this on my wishlist so the next time I’m in a store I’ll remember to seek it out and check it out. 😉

  2. October 10, 2010    

    Cat: I have not read The Hidden Life of Humans – but, I’ll have to check it out now! Just to put your mind at ease – NO dogs die in this book! Like you, I get nervous about that and I hate when bad things happen to animals in books. This book is a feel good book … I think you’d probably enjoy it!

  3. October 10, 2010    

    Thanks for that. 😉 Now I really WILL check it out and not be terrified of the possibilities. 😉

  4. October 10, 2010    

    Cat: No problem 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy the book when you get a chance to read it!

  5. October 10, 2010    

    I love it when a book tackles serious issues in a light way, and I have been hearing really great things about this book. I am going to have to check it out. Thanks for the excellent review!

  6. October 13, 2010    

    I have this one to review, so I’m glad you enjoyed it. It sounds like a light but thought provoking read.

  7. January 6, 2011    

    WAY behind in comments!

    Heather: I agree – books that take on serious topics, but keep it light are enjoyable.

    Swapna: Hope you liked this one!

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