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Call it kitty love

Heartwarming story of adopted cat

By Andi Russell”

The Free Lance-Star

EVERY time I settled in to read Gwen Cooper’s latest novel, “Love Saves the Day,” my cat would interfere. He would stubbornly rest his head, sometimes his whole body, on top of the open book. He would bat at the pages or try to eat them.

It seemed appropriate that one cat would clamor for my attention while I was getting to know another one—Prudence, the author’s newest heroine. Cooper brings readers a fictional tale that cat lovers will treasure.

Prudence, who narrates some of the story, is a pretentious feline who is displaced when her human, Sarah, does not return home from work one day. Prudence is moved into an apartment with Sarah’s daughter, Laura, and Laura’s husband, Josh.

Prudence spends a lot of time reminiscing about Sarah and trying to adjust to living in a new place. This is challenging for the cat, who doesn’t like change and prefers to adhere to a routine.

Prudence doesn’t understand why Sarah never came home and anxiously awaits her return. While Prudence struggles to become comfortable in her new home, Laura grapples with her mother’s death and their complex relationship.

Anyone who has ever owned a cat will recognize at least some of Prudence’s traits. Maybe it will be her reaction to the vacuum cleaner (The Monster), young children (littermates) or the computer keyboard (a heated cat bed with an attached toy mouse on a leash.)

Cat owners may recognize Prudence’s superior attitude toward humans or her fascination with cardboard boxes. But even if a reader has never known a cat like Prudence, they are sure to fall in love with her and this cute, touching tale.

This is a story about many loves: the love between mother and daughter, husband and wife, New Yorkers and their city, musicians and their music.

Eventually, my own cat would give up his quest to disrupt my reading. It was fitting that he would be a nuisance while I read this book, because he and Prudence have a lot in common.

Like Prudence, my cat lost his “Most Important Person” once. My cat’s “Most Important Person” was my most important person, too, and he came to live with me after our loss. That special bond between human and feline, especially one that is formed out of tragedy and a shared loss, is poignantly described in “Love Saves the Day.”

This book will make most readers laugh and cry, and probably lead them to wonder more often what, exactly, their pet is thinking.

Andi Russell is a designer with The Free Lance–Star.


By Gwen Cooper

(Bantam, $26, 317 pp. )


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