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Year of the Dog
     

Year of the Dog

by Shelby Hearon
 

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When her husband dumps her for an old girlfriend and sets all of Peachland, South Carolina, gossiping, Janey Daniels has to get away—far away—for a "sabbatical" year. She flees to Burlington, Vermont, home of Aunt May, her mother's only living relative. There she adopts Beulah, a Labrador puppy in training to become a companion dog for the blind. Not

Overview

When her husband dumps her for an old girlfriend and sets all of Peachland, South Carolina, gossiping, Janey Daniels has to get away—far away—for a "sabbatical" year. She flees to Burlington, Vermont, home of Aunt May, her mother's only living relative. There she adopts Beulah, a Labrador puppy in training to become a companion dog for the blind. Not for a moment does Janey suspect that this "year of the dog" will change her life forever.

Shelby Hearon is an acknowledged master at illuminating the nuances of relationships. In Year of the Dog, she explores the surprising ways that the heart heals after a betrayal. While Janey is training Beulah, Beulah leads Janey to a new love, James Maarten, a smart, "fidgety" teacher they meet at the dog park. As Janey soon discovers, James has suffered a betrayal of his own that makes it hard for him to open up and trust her with even the smallest details of his past. While Janey tries to help James, she also reaches out to her enigmatic Aunt May, a retired librarian reputed to be the friend, perhaps even the lover, of popular mystery writer Bert Greenwood. When Janey attempts to solve the twin mysteries of why her great aunt has distanced herself from the family—and what her true relationship is with Bert Greenwood—Beulah provides the clues that lead Janey to uncover the secrets of her aunt's life. By the time Beulah's stay with Janey comes to an end, the people whose lives she's linked will discover that healing and reconciliation can come in the most unexpected ways.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hearon's 17th book, the first since Ella in Bloom(2001), is a solid story of second chances and renewing family ties. Janey Daniels, 25, is taking a "sabbatical" in Vermont from her job as a pharmacist in Peachland, S.C., after her high school sweetheart and husband of five years dumps her for an ex-girlfriend. In Vermont, with its brilliantly colored Octobers and frigid winters, Janey bonds with Beulah, a Labrador puppy she's raising to become a companion for a blind person. It's while walking Beulah that she meets James Maarten, a potential boyfriend who is secretive about his past. At Janey's insistence, James eventually comes around to opening up and reconnecting with his family. Janey's attempts at intimacy, though, are sometimes rebuffed, leaving her with Beulah to love, socialize and wonder if she will ever be able to part with. In these moments, Janey's neediness is deeply felt, but she often appears far wiser and more even-keeled than her background and youth would allow, especially regarding her budding romance. Hearon's in good, but not top, form. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292714694
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
02/28/2007
Series:
James A Michener Fiction Series
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Michael J. Rosen
Shelby Hearon's Year of the Dog reveals with utter clarity how both a dog and a novel are beloved companions that share—for an all-too-brief interval—our fraught and always unfamiliar world. We're all the more fortunate to know such sure-hearted, trusty guides.

Meet the Author

SHELBY HEARON is the author of fifteen highly acclaimed novels, including Ella in Bloom (Knopf, 2001); Footprints (Knopf, 1996); Life Estates (Knopf, 1994); Hug Dancing (Knopf, 1991); and Owning Jolene (Knopf, 1989). In a distinguished, four-decade career, she has received many awards and honors, including an American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, the PEN Syndication Short Story Fiction Prize, and the Texas Book Festival Lifetime Achievement Bookend Award, as well as fellowships for fiction from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A native of Kentucky who lived in Texas and New York for many years, Shelby Hearon now makes her home in Burlington, Vermont, the home ground of Year of the Dog.

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