I LOVED this story! It's going on my 10* favorites shelf. I think you absolutely have to listen to the audio to get the full experience of Nettie Lonesome aka Nat aka Rhett.
On the surface it's a dark and gritty, western fantasy but down deep it's a whole lot more then that. The author touches on quite a few serious topics-gender identity; sexual orientation, racism, cultural identity, slavery etc.
The entire story was just so well written too. If you haven't read it, you should definitely add it the audio to your 'TBR-Now' pile.
Publisher: Lake Union
Publication Date: 12/5/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
Master storyteller, Catherine Ryan Hyde returns following (2017) Allie and Bea and (2016) Say Good-Bye for Now landing on my Top Books of 2016 with her latest emotional, moving, and heartfelt novel THE WAKE UP – a spiritual journey of rediscovery, self-worth, hope, and acceptance.
A man and a boy have lost their way. Fate steps in and connects these two in unexpected ways. They slowly learn they have more in common than they may know. Each will ultimately find solace in a past of abuse and injustice, with trust and love.
Empathy equals good. Lack of empathy equals bad. Is there a balance?
Aiden Delacorte a single forty-year-old cattle rancher. He inherited the ranch from his deceased stepfather, which had adopted him. His mother has dementia and in a home in Buffalo.
One day while hunting, something odd happens to Aiden. He shoots a buck and at the same time, literally falls to the grown, in horrible pain. He is feeling the animal’s pain.
Shocked, he discovers he has "empathy" for animals in a way he cannot tolerate slaughter, dressing, or eating the animals. His so-called gift will cause him disgrace among other ranchers and cattlemen, and his present girlfriend, Livia. They break up. She does not understand this new Aiden.
THE WAKE UP. There was something different about that day. Even before it became painfully obvious. Even before it left Aiden no choice but to fully live through it. Slowly he starts feeling the feelings of animals, and even some humans. (both good and bad).
Aiden was also abused by his biological father and has repressed some of his past. He recalls drowning his fear with a bottle at a young age and became an alcoholic. He has been clean for years; a fine and upstanding citizen.
The worst part, with his new gift, he will have to give up his career and sell off his cattle. Would his stepfather be ashamed of him or tell him to follow his heart? Others would make fun of him for not being a real man.
In the meantime, he seeks the help of a psychiatrist, Hannah to get a handle on his life. He also meets Gwen a single mother in town and clerk at the grocery store. She has two children: Elizabeth and Milo.
Milo is a troubled child. Abused in many ways by his father. Gwen has her hands full with the boy. Gwen and Aiden begin dating one another. Elizabeth adores Aiden; however, Milo is acting out in unspeakable ways and Aiden becomes involved in the process.
When Aiden sees this, first he is upset at his cruelty to animals; however, decides he will help the boy, even though he makes it literally impossible at times. He needs to teach him differently. Can he trust him with the animals, he dearly loves?
Gwen and her children move into a little cabin on Aiden’s property and their relationship progresses. Elizabeth warms up to Aiden immediately; however, Milo is a different story. He is a very sensitive boy, due to his past abuse.
He needs someone to believe in him.
Milo struggles with never being good enough. The fear. However, Aiden is persistent and determined to demonstrate taking something ugly and broken to pieces, can be put back to together and into something beautiful. However, it involves a big dose of trust. Taking a chance on a boy. To care for a precious colt.
From past to present while working with Dr. Hannah Rutledge, Alien revisits his past and his demons. From a boy to the present 40-year-old man, he discovers hidden truths of his own life, which may ultimately help rebuild Milo and at the same time, provide answers to his own problems.
Breaking the cycle of abuse. Healing from the darkest places. Using trust and love to overcome tragedy. This newfound empathy of Aiden’s touches every part of his life, and discovers the importance of compassion, love, and acceptance—and at the same time able to pass along tools to help Milo change his life, as well.
A father who finds a son defective and unworthy of love. From hiding the pain to acting out. The emotion had to go somewhere. A haunting and beautifully written story of love, loss, hope, trust, and rediscovery.
I especially enjoyed how Aiden uses the love of animals, and the broken pots turned into mosaic art to transform a young boy. A lesson for us all in today’s cruel world. Instead of punishment, drugs, and doctors –taking the time to learn what causes the pain. Teaching, understanding, and patience.Offering ways to channel the rage in other ways to promote healing and self-esteem that has been torn down.
Catherine Ryan Hyde has a special gift with stories of the heart. Her love of animals is reflective throughout THE WAKE UP. Extraordinary! Each of her stories possesses power and emotion. Thought-provoking, with a strong takeaway message. Each is unique and different and enjoy how she connects lost souls in unexpected and magical ways.
An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. (guide included). If you have not read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book, you are missing a rare opportunity. You will learn something every time you open her books as the characters jump off the page.
Upcoming: From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home… Heaven Adjacent coming May 22, 2018! A definite pre-order. Be sure to add this one to your reading list for the new year.
A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
Dr. Alex Taylor wakes up alone in an operating room, blinded by bright lights, and strapped down to the operating table with her ankles in stirrups. She was naked and only covered with drapes and her private parts were displayed. Alec doesn’t know how she got there or why. She sees a man in surgical attire with only his eyes showing. The Alec wakes up a second time in the hospital with her colleagues all around her. Alec had been found in the parking lot unconscious with a bump on the back her head but that was all that was wrong with her. No one would believe what Alec had to say about the operating room and the man and the threats of hurting her with hints of rape and stapling her mouth shut. Her family, friends and colleagues tell Alec she had not been naked in an operating room with a man asking her a question. No one stands by Alec not friends, colleagues, family or even Alec’s boyfriend. They all think she is having a breakdown. Alec wonders if she is losing her mind. Then a pregnant nurse is abducted, when she is found and brought to the hospital she is no longer pregnant and what she says before she dies makes Alec believe the man who torments her thoughts was the same man who took the nurse and caused her death. The police think Alec may be a serial killer. Alec finds out it wasn’t an accident for what had happened to her , someone was upset with Alec and wants her to pay. Even though Alec was released her ordeal isn’t over and her abductor is not finished with their work.
I really loved reading this book. It kept you at the end of your chair also it was unpredictable and I really liked that. It did make you wonder what was real and what wasn’t. It is a great psychological thriller. The ending comes very quick. . It had a great plot and pace. You do keep guessing while reading this. I really loved the ending. I don’t know why no one stood by Alec. She was suppose to be a respected doctor. I loved the characters and the twists and turns and I highly recommend.