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Since I have raised Nubian dairy goats for over 35 years, I chose my pen name to reflect their importance in my life. Outside of raising goats, I attended the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating with a degree in zoology. After that I earned a teaching certificate and have taught high school level sciences such as biology, general, anatomy/physiology, basic chemistry and physics. At present I live in the Missouri Ozarks. My books generally are on science, nature or dairy goats. Two are illustrated with photographs and offered through my website Goat Games and Exploring the Ozark Hills. As of now I have published two novels, Broken Promises and Old Promises. Both follow Hazel Whitmore as she faces crises in her life. Another book, Dora's Story: The Life of a Goat, is presently being edited. A science book, The Pumpkin Project, is nearing completion. The tentative release date is March, 2014, for both.
on March 26, 2014 :
In Broken Promises, the interestingly-named Hazel has been living a relatively comfortable life in New York City. She lives close enough to Central Park for daily visits, attends private school, and the family manages on her father’s income and investments. A reservist in the Marines, her father is unexpectedly called to active duty. Just before he ships out to Iraq, he rashly promises Hazel that he’ll be home in a year. It's a promise that couldn't realistically be kept, which everyone except Hazel seems to know.
When her father is killed in action, she is intensely angry. Despite their close relationship – or perhaps, because of it – her anger is directed almost solely at him and the broken promise. She refuses to talk about him or join her mother in mourning. Instead, she becomes focused on how to maintain her life as it's always been.
Hazel’s efforts to supplement her mother’s meager temporary income with babysitting can't stop the family's downward slide into financial crisis, particularly when they learn that there is little left from the investment accounts. She does what she can, learning to cook and taking on household tasks like shopping, in hopes that she won’t have to leave her school and her friends. But the reader knows long before Hazel does that nothing she can do can hold off the inevitable. All the familiar aspects of her life must change.
This is a first novel, for the writer and a series. The story is compelling, despite the occasional phrasing in the beginning. Once the author found her stride, the story flowed very smoothly. I occasionally raised my eyebrows at names and social media references that seemed a little anachronistic or unusual, but acknowledge that it’s been awhile since I’ve had interactions of any length with someone in middle school. It could be that I’m terribly out of touch with the world as experienced by adolescents of today. In any case, I am invested enough in Hazel’s story to want to follow it in the next book of the series, so I’ve added Old Promises to my reading list.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on May 13, 2013 :
A must read!!! Can't put this book down! Already looking forward to part 2 to Broken Promises!
(reviewed the day of purchase)