Book Description: Into the quaint town of Fairport on Shelter Island comes Lily Byrne, a young widow who is not so much running from the old but rather edging toward something new and indefinable. Here in the peaceful Pacific Northwest, newly engaged in her vintage clothing boutique, she hides from the world. But Lily knows that solitude can’t sustain her forever. Somehow, somewhere, something’s got to give. It does, with the unexpected arrival of an exuberant little cat.
As Lily searches for the cat’s true home, she embarks on a journey just as unpredictable—one of healing and renewal that opens up a whole new world in this small island community she now calls home. Saved by the hidden graces of others, she even allows herself to fall in love again. But how much of this is serendipity? How much is destiny? As Lily starts looking at herself, and her life, in an enlightening new way, she can’t help but also wonder, how long can such good fortune last?
It is in cats' eyes that their magic resides.- Arthur Symons
In this book customers are lured to Lily's vintage clothing shop because of the enchanting white cat in the window. In the same vein I was drawn to the book the moment I saw it advertised in the Penguin catalog months ago. I don't read a lot of women's fiction (I really need to change that), but put a cat on the cover and I'm there.
This is without a doubt one of the best books I've read all year, if not one of my all time favorite books. I hated to see it come to an end, and will absolutely be reading it again. Even when not reading it I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The atmosphere drew me right in from page one, as Lily is driving the Pacific Northwest and settles in a small town on an island in Puget Sound. Immediately you can feel her grief at losing the husband she had planned on spending the rest of her life with. I fell in love with the charming cottage she buys on a whim and turns into her vintage clothing shop, Past Perfect. The island residents she meets along the way all have a story and end up being touched by the arrival of the widow and the white cat: Ben and Bish, Flo, Paige, Vanya, Rupert and Michael...all such real, normal, identifiable characters.
And then there's Bella Luna, the cat with the one blue eye and one green eye. I love how the storyline alternates from Lily's and the cat's point of view; the magic that this perfect little being brings into Lily's life to assist in her healing journey, even making sure she finds love again. I was so touched by how Luna could see all the spirits in the shop from the vintage clothes, even Lily's late husband still looking out for her. Luna's thoughts are exactly the things you would imagine a cat to be thinking about us crazy humans. She knows Lily needs her and makes sure Lily doesn't get her way even though she doesn't want to keep the Luna for fear of losing someone else she loves one day. I strongly believe that all of our pets come into our lives for a reason. I know my beautiful Tara has taught me things about myself in the past year that I never knew. We need these fur angels just as much as they need us.
This book has completely stolen my heart. It is poignant, hopeful, mystical. I only hope I've done it justice. It is simply unforgettable.
FTC Full Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this book with the request for a review. Please be sure to stop by on Monday when Anjali Banerjee will be my guest blogger, talking about writing from a cat's point of view, and treating us to a deleted scene from this magnificent novel. And thanks to her publisher one lucky commenter will receive a copy of Enchanting Lily!