Nancy Jones is known as the local cat lady, and it’s not always meant kindly. Though she has a habit of rescuing felines in need of a bit of care, most humans find her distant. But Nancy has secrets and, after a chance encounter with her past while cat sitting, they threaten to come tumbling out … but to fully tell her story, she just might have to let others in.
Much like a hesitant cat, Nancy Jones is irresistible. Troubled by a past marred by hurt and catastrophe, she’s cloistered herself in a home with cats named after loved ones. For her, it sometimes feels good just to say those names out loud— it’s almost as though they’re with her. It’s a heartbreaking sentiment, but it brings her comfort.
And yet she has such a subdued genial way about her. Author Amy Miller delicately paints Nancy as a pained individual whose role is to alleviate the problems of others. It’s no wonder she works at a local school, and her caring manner serves to protect some of the more discomforted students, particularly a bullied boy named Alfie. Nancy serves as the heart of this book, dutifully going out of her way for others.
Yet it’s the moments when Nancy finally has to assess her personal problems that this book soars. Miller carefully pushes Nancy into situations that force her to confront her past. Nancy comes across a picture of her daughter while cat sitting and it causes all the walls she’s built around herself and her past to come crumbling down. It’s uncomfortable, but there’s a pure optimism that runs through the text, softening the tension— through these baby steps, it’s understood Nancy will be happier in the end. Miller and, in turn, the reader are on her side all the way.
Ultimately, Miller has masterfully crafted a beautiful story of personal forgiveness and hope.
Title: They Call Me the Cat Lady
Author: Amy Miller
Publication Date: April 26, 2019
Classification: Women’s Fiction
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.