The Blessings of the Animals: A Novel

The Blessings of the Animals: A Novel

by Katrina Kittle

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From Katrina Kittle, critically acclaimed author of The Kindness of Strangers, comes a wry and moving story of forgiveness, flexibility, happiness, and the art of moving on.

Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries—and its disconnects.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062006790
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/03/2010
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 2,762
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Katrina Kittle is the author of Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, and The Kindness of Strangers, which received the Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction. She lives in Dayton, Ohio.

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The Blessings of the Animals 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Veterinarian Cami Anderson returns from a horse rescue to find her husband of eighteen years packing. To her shock, he tells her he is moving out. Even more shocking, within a week she discovers that he is living with a girl not much older than their daughter, a young woman that Cami had employed at her practice. The Blessings Of The Animals follows Cami's life after this door slams shut on a big piece of her life. Readers get a viseral sense of what this kind of betrayal feels like. The book explores the depths of her shock, anger and despair, and how she begins to move beyond the nightmare to carve out a new life that expands her horizons and brings her contentment, love and even joy. Kittle fills the book with vibrant characters. There is Gabrielle, the couple's smart, vivacious teenage daughter who reacts by breaking up with her longtime boyfriend and refusing to let anyone get close. Cami's birth family is introduced. Her patrician mother and father, who raised her in the horse-racing and training business, show up in stark contrast to her ex-inlaws, who are a extroverted, noisy and nosy bunch. Her brother is gay and in a relationship that seems very stable. Friends surround Cami, from her best female friend to a male doctor friend who has been in her life since childhood, and who now wants to make the friendship something more serious. Then there are the animals. There is Moonshot, the horribly abused stallion she rescued that day, who comes back to life and health under Cami's care, all the while restoring her own sense of well-being. There is a comic goat, a rescued three-legged ginger tom, and various other dogs and horses and donkeys. The animals unfreeze her heart and help her remember what she loved about her career. What a joy it is to find a book that you can't wait to pick back up! Kittle's deft portrayal of this common situation and her insight into how life can start over will strike a chord in readers. This book is highly recommended for all readers.
_JAQUELINE_ More than 1 year ago
Any animal lover knows the many blessings they are. Cami is a veterinarian and this is the connection for her love of animals. What humans can't seem to give naturally animals can. This is one of those starting over kind of books with heartfelt life lessons that bring the tears to sting the eyes. When her husband, Bobby, a chef and restaurant owner, leaves her for a young waitress, she has to explain it to her 17 year old daughter somehow. Cami's solace is her brood of misfit rescue animals who in the end are responsible for teaching her what she was searching for. This is a joy to read and one to remember.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law-still her best friend-is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men-including her ex-husband-are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life. But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries-and its disconnects. My Review: I loved the story that is woven throughout the pages of this novel, The Blessings Of The Animals by Katrina Kittle even though there are elements about it you may not care for. One of these is the gay marriage between Cami's brother Davy to his partner David and their subsequent attempted adoption of a child. This is something that goes against my beliefs but I found that I could still enjoy the story of Cami and her daughter, Gabriella, as they struggle to find a way to keep their farm intact while going through a rough divorce from her ex husband Bobby. Since dealing with this exact situation in my own personal life, I could relate to Cami's struggle to see her husband leaving and divorcing her as something as a blessing of a life to come. The wonderful parallel between a horse she has rescued from an abusive woman as part of an animal control raid, teaches her through the love and compassion of caring for a wounded horse, that she too can learn to trust and love again. There are so many great parts of this book, between all the animals that Cami gets stuck with caring for when no one else will and besides the horse, Moonshot, is the relationship she has with Muriel her beloved goat. This story truly is a must read for anyone that has that unique connection with animals and the love that coexists between us and them in our own language of love. I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and would still rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars for the story content.
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
When searching for new books, I often look to authors that I truly enjoyed in the past, and search for recommended books that are written by "like" authors. Katrina Kittle is one such author. After much review I chose this selection, "The Blessings of the Animals". I was very disappointed in this novel. It lacked depth, character development and really did not have much of a plot. Come to think of it a BLAH book. You know what I mean, you don't hate it but don't like it either, and in six months you will have forgotten you ever read it. Too many good books out there to waste your time.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Read this in three sittings. I enjoyed my last Katrina Kittle read and I was super excited when I saw this on the Crazy Book Tours website. From the way she describes her characters and their settings to how they interact and the situations they find themselves in - her writing just draws you in and keeps you hooked. A woman battling through separation and divorce, as she tries to raise her teenage daughter and continue her growing veterinary business. I felt connected to these characters real fast and wanted so much to know what was going to happen next at every moment. Telling a story about a woman who is going through such a large transition with friends surrounded was such a great positive twist. I loved that she had a great cast of characters that came in and out, but they also had their own distinct storylines that also kept me glued to it. I would recommend this book to my lady readers who love a story that keeps you hooked from the first page to the very end.
bcarr More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading this book. It is often said of a non-fiction book, it reads like fiction. Several times while reading "The Blessings of the Animals", I had to remind myself it was indeed fiction. It was a touching story told beautifully. If you have ever been loved and comforted by a four-legged friend it is a must read. Enjoy!
59Readergirl 4 days ago
This is my first read by this author. I loved Cam and her daughter Gabby and ALL of the animals they care for. There were many little stories weaved into this book and I welcomed them all. Cam is a vet who rescues all sorts of animals. They teach her everything she needs to know about life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All her books are amazing I wish she would write more often but i do keep checking to ser if there aee any new ones ones!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An engaging, hopeful story of coping with loss and discovering inner strength.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book I am 3/4 of the way through. I can't wait to see what happens and at the same time I don't want it to end.  If you are an animal lover this is a book for you. If you been hurt this is a book for you.  Again not done with it yet .  I may come back and change my review to five stars.
zibilee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Cami Anderson, a successful veterinarian, discovers that her husband is leaving her, her carefully balanced world begins to fall apart. Though her husband has been moody and distant for a long while, his abandonment has come as a complete surprise to her. Between the layers of disappointment and sadness, Cami has other things to deal with. Her brother and his life partner are mired in an attempt to adopt a baby of their own, her sister-in-law is planning her long anticipated and elaborate wedding, and her teenage daughter is having romance troubles that seem to stem from her parents' separation. As Cami navigates all of these difficult situations, she begins to ask herself some fundamental questions about marriage and relationships, a situation that is further confused and complicated by the three men who are newly vying for her attention. Meanwhile, Cami ministers to the animals who need her help and comes to rely on the peace and comfort that they bring her, knowing that they are helping her just as much as she is helping them. Both thought provoking and compulsively readable, The Blessings of the Animals is a wonderful work of women's fiction that will not only entertain, but one that will make you think about the relationships in your life as well.I am fast becoming a lover of women's fiction. Though I have only sampled a few offerings, I am really surprised and pleased to discover how much I enjoy it. Maybe it's just the point of life I'm at, but I find it really interesting to read about women who are at some of the same stages I am, and have found out that if the story is written engagingly enough, I find lots to admire about these types of books. I don't think I'd like a steady diet of them, but they kind of fill the space in my life left by chick-lit, which I was much enamored of in my twenties. When I need something a little distracting and personal, I head towards these types of reads. They also make really nice beach or poolside reads, and while you can't really call them high literature, they do have an attraction all their own.One of the things I think I liked best about this book was the split focus between Cami's situation and her treatment of the animals. The animal sections weren't just a plot highlight. Instead they provided a lot of drama and pathos in their own right and seemed to balance out the more personal of Cami's dramas very nicely. Part of the book deals with Cami's volunteer work with the humane society. She would sometimes go out to investigate claims of animal abuse or overpopulation, and invariably, after doing her work, another animal would follow her home to the huge farm she lives on. The animals surrounding Cami were not only therapeutic to her, they all had personalities in their own right. Some of the animal rescues were very sad and I think in this portrayal, Kittle was doing her own work of educating a bit about some of the terrible things that people could do to animals. Most of these stories had a happy ending but I think it was very clever for Kittle to highlight the little talked about issues of abused animals.This book was paced very tightly and I noticed this story was not overly detailed in its discussion of things that were not integral to the plot. This made everything seem like it moved along at a pretty exciting speed and kept me flipping pages quickly. I think this story could have really been bogged down had it been written a little differently but Kittle has a great command of both her subject and her characters, and because of that I became invested in rather quickly. Certain chapters are narrated by other characters in the book, and while this certainly doesn't work in most cases, in this book I felt it kept things fresh and was well done. There was a great mix of comedy in this story as well, which was very unexpected but welcome. It's not often that a book dealing with such serious issues can make you laugh, but this one did. I really identified with Cami's persp
voracious on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cami Anderson is completely surprised when her husband of 18 years suddenly leaves her, their daughter, and their farm of many animals while she is called away on another Humane Society rescue. As a vet and parent of a high school senior, Cami is unprepared to deal with her confusion and outrage as her husband immediately moves in with one of her young vet techs. Cami, however, finds refuge in the relationships of her family, friends and assortment of farm animals who provide her solace and comfort in her despair. As Cami learns to move on and tries to define what she needs to be happy, she sorts through her relationships with other men and her family's attempts to reunite her with her ex-husband, all while trying to be a good parent, vet, and caretaker for the cast-off animals who inhabit her life and farm. I enjoyed reading about Cami's life but I thought there were a few too many characters that were intensely involved in Cami's life. I particularly enjoyed reading about her relationships with her animals and her animal rescue work. However, the difficulty Cami had in watching her ex-husband create his own self-perpetuating misery felt realistic and frustrating. I would recommend this story and will probably read more by this author.
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From My Blog...The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle is a beautiful woven tapestry of the many facets of love. Dr. Cami Anderson is a wife, mother, Veterinarian and a volunteer for the Humane Society. Cami believes her life is going fairly well until the morning she arrives home with a rescued horse and her husband Bobby announces he is leaving her and their 17-year-old daughter Gabriel. While the story is primarily told through Cami, the reader does get a glimpse into the lives of other narrators. Kittle does a brilliant job illustrating how love, marriage and commitment can indeed have many different definitions; it is all in the perspective. Cami¿s parents are about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, her brother Davy and his partner Dave are trying to adopt, her best friend Helen appears to have a solid relationship with Hank, Olive is finally engaged to Nick, and finally Gabriella is trying to not only understand what is happening between her parents but is also struggling with her relationship with Tyler. Kittle¿s characters are well defined, descriptive, easy to understand, care about (most of them) and relate with. The story lines are woven together, much as life is to form a rich narrative punctuated by the unconditional love animals are able to provide and the lessons they teach us, especially what Moonshot imparts to Cami. This is truly one of the most moving books I have read recently and I will be making certain every woman I know receives a copy; the novel is remarkable. The Blessings of the Animals is a beautiful and moving story of love, loss, forgiveness, and learning to move on. I would not hesitate to recommend The Blessings of the Animals to any reader but warn that Kleenex may at times be needed.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My sister is a vet. My brother-in-law is a vet. We have more than the usual number of vet friends. We are surrounded by vets and by the animals who need them. There's something of a mystique about their jobs despite the fact that my sister says 90% of being a vet is about "ears and rears." Two good reasons I could never have been a vet myself. Well, that and the whole biology class thing. But if I can't be a vet in real life, I still have a real affinity for vet stories and an even greater affinity for stories that include animals. Kittle's latest novel after Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, and The Kindness of Strangers, deftly handles both while closely entwined with issues of love and marriage and the definition of a successful relationship. Cami Anderson is a successful vet who volunteers for animal rescues. She and her husband have hit a rough patch in their marriage but Cami is shocked when she comes home from a particularly emotionally grueling rescue to find that Bobby is leaving her. That her admittedly stagnant marriage is over completely blindsides her and is especially painful as the true reality of their estrangement comes to light. While she grieves the loss of her own marriage, she watches her parents celebrate their fiftieth anniversary, watches her soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law plan the extravagant wedding she thought would never come, and watches her brother and his partner fight to adopt a baby into a relationship that can't be legally recognized. Into the mix, her almost grown daughter is having her own relationship troubles, spurred on by the collapse of her parents' marriage. And Cami herself is skittish about starting a new relationship either with her best friend or with a like-minded stranger. Equally weighted with the human drama in the novel are the cases that Cami sees in her clinic and on rescues. She knows that she can always rely on animals to ground her and to offer her unconditional love and trust, even when they have been so abused that they are broken almost beyond repair. In healing the desperate animals, she will perhaps learn to heal herself and open her heart to chance, even knowing that not every man will be worthy of that chance. Cami finds her peace with her animals, learns to let go (both in actuality and emotionally), takes a chance, and appreciates the beauty of being happy in the present. A quick and engaging read, this novel not only focuses on marriage and the questions that a commitment of that magnitude can raise but also on happiness and finding fulfillment in life, chasing the things that are important and recognizing that just because something is familiar, it isn't necessarily the right or best thing. The characters, both large and small, are engaging and diverse, all adding important puzzle pieces to the whole of the book. And Cami, as the main character, shows significant, satisfying growth. The storyline was appealing, unpredictable but fitting. The pacing was quite good, never rushed and never drawn out. The themes are serious and yet leavened with humor. Animal lovers will relate to the story and Cami. Book clubs will love this offering, giving just enough to discuss but also enough for members to relate to in their own lives as well. I finished it with a smile and a warm spot in my heart for Cami and her animals. Sensitive readers will want to know that there are horrific descriptions of animal abuse contained within but these are never gratuitous and serve to highlight not only the terrible things people do to our fellow creature but also to show how even the most ill-used can be rehabilitated and learn to trust and love again.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cami Anderson is a busy veterinarian who also volunteers for her local Humane Society on animal rescues. She has no idea her husband Bobby is unhappy until he walks out of their eighteen year marriage one day, leaving her with a barn full of animals in need and a teenage daughter devastated by her parent¿s separation. Cami, the animal rescuer, has no idea that the animals who seem so needy will actually save her in the end. A horse named Moonshot, an unruly goat named Muriel, and a three legged cat named Gerald stole my heart in this beautiful novel about moving forward through life¿s challenges.Katrina Kittle introduces the reader to a warm, quirky, and lovable cast of characters in The Blessings of the Animals. I loved Cami ¿ a self-assured, middle-aged woman who must re-think her life in the wake of divorce; a woman who turns to the animals in her care for comfort when she discovers that she can not do it all on her own. Her personal journey was one to which I related having traveled through divorce and found my happiness again at the age of forty.The novel takes on the issues of divorce and its impact on children, the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of loss, friendship, gay marriage and adoption, and animal abuse and neglect. For those of you, like me, who have a hard time reading about abused animals¿don¿t worry ¿ Kittle handles this subject deftly and with sensitivity and shows the positive side of animal rescue. I loved the spunky goat Muriel, whose dog-like qualities and lively spirit made me want to run out immediately and get a goat!Kittle¿s prose is seamless. The pages of this novel almost turn themselves. I was carried away into Cami¿s world effortlessly. At times, I forgot I was reading a book and felt like the characters were real people. Any writer who can do that gets high praise from me. Kittle is the author of three previous novels which I will absolutely be picking up in the future.Readers who love animals and great characters will be captivated by The Blessings of the Animals.Highly recommended.
jrapala on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. I was puttering around during a layover when this book caught my eye and pulled me into a bookstore.Of course, put a horse on the cover of any book and I will run to it like a moth to a flame, but I considered this a feat considering the state of mind I was in. I was a complete wreck from the events I had just experienced in the past 24 hours. To come across something that was able to pull me away from my thoughts for a mere millisecond was to be considered, well, a blessing (no pun intended).(I must admit though that I rolled my eyes when I first read the summary on the back. Divorcee? Teenage daughter? An unruly horse? That's the same exact plot of the god-awful Sara Gruen novel piece-of-trash horse romance that I just got through--Riding Lessons. Sara Gruen was even quoted on the back. But in my state of mind, I didn't feel like I had anything more to lose, so I bought it. Sad, eh?)I read this 400 page novel in 2 days. An impossible feat for the self-declared slowest reader in the world. This was not a Sara Gruen horse romance. This was a tear-jerking novel with unforgettable characters and lessons that will stick with you until the grave.I'm a little hesitant of giving a 2010-published airport-bookstore-find a 5 star review, but this novel had a profound effect on my life. And I say this with confidence only a few days after turning the last page. Katrina Kittle understands relationships. And she understands the keys to happiness. Those keys lie within. You will never approach a relationship in the same way ever again.I couldn't have read this novel at a more appropriate time. It completely cured me of the dark spiral that I entered just prior to picking it up. As far as I know, I could have still been in that spiral to this day, and in the coming weeks ahead. But now, I haven't felt this healthy in ages.Thank you Katrina.
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Cami Anderson helps all creatures, great and small. That is her job as a Veterinarian, but it is also a life-long passion. Her husband and daughter are used to the motley strays she has brought home and nursed back to health. After one rescue mission, she comes home only to find that her husband has packed all of his things and announces the end to their marriage. While numb, she must not only face her family and friends, but also continue caring for the injured horse. Life doesn’t stop moving for Cami’s loved ones, as they all celebrate significant relationship milestones. Cami must learn to accept these events and move forward in life, with the help of her friends. Katrina Kittle packs a powerful punch with this novel. This book shows the different human dynamics of friendship and balances that with the soul-healing connections with the animals. Told mostly through narrative, readers are taken on a journey through the important moments in each of the characters’ lives. The alternating points of view give readers an inside look into the emotions behind the characters’ actions. This is a wonderful book about friendship and compassion. Notes: This review was written for Sasee Magazine and My Sister's Books. This review was posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the ending..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This seemed to be contemporary chick lit but turned out to be a much more thoughtful book about the aftermath of divorce and the meaning of friendships. Positive, amusing, well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deeply emotional, beautiful story
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