Imaginatively crafted and gripping… Immensely satisfying historical tale.
Caruthers’s stunning novel, a fictionalized tale of a real-life Hungarian refugee turned cat rescuer, deftly delves into courage, compassion, understanding, and human resilience. As the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 begins, 12-year-old Vivie Degirdro along with her parents and young sister is forced to leave her home in Budapest behind. She is also devasted by the loss of her pet cat who is left behind. Trying to stay alive, the family bravely faces starvation, violence, and cruelty on their way. But when a tragic incident befalls the family, Vivie is entrusted with a family secret that she must protect at all costs. Intermittent bursts of action stir up the slow-burning narrative as the characters gain depth, particularly Vivie who grows and evolves intriguingly as the story progresses. Ups and downs follow Vivie throughout her life, but her affection for cats remains steady. At times, the narrative tension is undermined by some loosely connected snippets, particularly toward the later one-third of the novel, but there’s plenty of action, daring escapades, harrowing episodes, and difficult choices that keep the reader’s interest intact. Caruthers beautifully uses usual tropes and historical elements, and her descriptions are exquisite, bringing the era to life. The story begins with Vivie’s death, but the last part as Vivie’s story draws near its end still packs a surprising punch. Simmering with poignant emotion, intrigue, and drama and packed with authentic, sympathetic characters, the book makes for a must-read for lovers of historical drama and pets, particularly cat lovers.
Terry Lee Caruthers
Black Rose Writing
Pub date July 23, 2020
Price $18.95 (USD) Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition