Today’s review of The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout (Allen and Unwin) has been written for us by TBYL Reviewer, Tam. I sent this book her way as I know she’s a bit of an animal lover, and thought she’d enjoy this tail (see what I did there?).
Indeed, it would seem that she was drawn into the intrigue of The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs…
The story begins when, after fifteen years, Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to rural Vermont to inherit the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the failing veterinary practice of his recently deceased and long-estranged father. Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist far more comfortable with cold clinical facts than living, breathing animals (not to mention their quirky, demanding owners), intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can.
Then his first patient – a down-on-her-luck golden retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws – wags her way through the door, and suddenly life gets complicated. With the help of a black Labrador gifted in the art of swallowing underwear, a Persian cat determined to expose her owner’s lover as a gold digger, and the allure of a feisty, pretty waitress from the local diner, Cyrus gets caught up in a new community and its endearing residents, both human and animal. Sensing he may have misjudged the past, he begins to realise it’s not just his patients that need healing.
The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs is a winsome tale of new beginnings, forgiveness, and the joy of finding your way home.
As the story began I found it a little hard to tolerate Cyrus. He seemed weak, a character who would do anything to avoid having to feel and own the situation. But, as I read further into the story, I found that the author Nick Trout wrote the voice of our leading man very well. After we got to know Cyrus a little, I found it wonderful how way I could step into his shoes, feel his panic, confusion, hurt and doubt. I liked the internal dialog we were privy to, providing an insight into how Cyrus managed each dilemma and calmed himself down enough to manage each tricky situation.
The story achieves a really nice balance between the technical jargon which transports you to the setting of a veterinary clinic, and the human stories which draw you into the novel. This small town in Vermont is intriguing, despite the fact that at the beginning of the story it appears to be little more than a prison for Cyrus, a sentence that he has to serve after he inherits the clinic (full of hurtful memories and regret) from his father. During his stay, Cyrus discovers that every story does in fact have two sides and finds himself considering the possibility that he may have been mislead in his anger at his father.
Cyrus and, I as the reader, begin to love the residents of this small town and their furry friends. Even though in the past Cyrus has always found it easier to work in the clinical setting of pathology, rather than having to deal with live cases and their associated emotions, throughout The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs he finds his feet and discovers that perhaps the clinic he has inherited is not the burden he first believed.
The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs is a great book for pet lovers! Filled with furry creatures, mysteries to solve, love interests and just a touch of blackmail!!
You can find out more about The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout on the Allen and Unwin website…
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