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The Mourning Parade Paperback – July 18, 2017
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"Told with authority and fine craftsmanship, The Mourning Parade leaves an impression that lasts beyond its
final page."(Foreword Reviews)
From the Back Cover
Single mom and veterinarian Natalie DeAngelo lost everything the day her two sons were killed in a school shooting. Following her psychiatrist's advice, she decides to sell her once-happy home to escape the immense pain and grief of living there alone.
Desperate to find relief from her unspeakable loss, Natalie impetuously commits to honoring her boys’ memory and volunteers to assist philanthropist Andrew Graham at his elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand. All she wants once she gets there is relief.
But she soon realizes she may be in over her head when she faces three major challenges: her debilitating PTSD is creating night terrors; Peter Hatcher, the sanctuary’s irascible in-house vet, has a longtime grudge against her and wants desperately for her to fail; and Sophie, a female elephant with a raging leg infection and PTSD caused by human abuse, is demanding that Natalie use every trick in her veterinarian’s black bag to heal her.
Dr. Hatcher wants to euthanize Sophie, as he claims she's a lost cause, and Natalie knows she must find a way to convince the others to let her keep trying. Can she and Sophie find a way to heal together and learn to love life again? Or will another tragedy shatter Natalie's progress?
This deeply emotional novel explores the capacity of a mother's love, the challenge of overcoming a devastating loss, and the long, tiresome journey to healing.
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Dawn has chosen a theme that rings all to true in real life – the senseless slaughters of innocent people by both terrorists against the country and against humankind and sensibility. While we all shudder at the near daily realities of these events around the globe, Dawn has crafted a book that palaces the horror in a personal manner - a technique that hopefully will bring an end to such senseless killings.
Much of the manner in which Dawn shares the gut-wrenching core of her story comes through in the style in which she writes. For example, before chapter two she quotes Buddha – ‘Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.’ She then opens the doors of her Thailand landed plane with ‘Natalie stepped off the plane in Bangkok into oppressive summer heat that felt like a wet cloud she had to push through. As she followed the other passengers across the tarmac, it struck her that only a month ago she’d been in Atlanta at the Southeastern Veterinarians’ Conference where she met Andrew Gordon, the philanthropist who convinced her to give up almost everything to move to Thailand for a year. He’d unwittingly offered her an escape from the media, as well as an opportunity to do something that would make a difference in the world, something that would make her feel worthy of life. She shook her head now, remembering that she’d gone to the conference determined to take Dr. Littlefield’s advice and find something— new research or a technique she could incorporate in her surgical clinic or a cause she could throw herself into. Anything that would keep her mind occupied.
But the plot is as follows – ‘Natalie DeAngelo lost everything the day her two young sons were killed in a school shooting. Desperate to find relief from her unspeakable loss, she volunteers as a veterinarian on an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, but soon realizes she may be in over her head. Battling the memories that torment her day and night, Natalie must find a way to heal an angry, injured elephant named Sophie. Through love, acceptance, and gentle care, Natalie and Sophie heal together, finding new ways to enjoy life again.
Excellent book, very powerful and extraordinarily thought provoking. These are the times that try men’s souls. Grady Harp, July 17
I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.
When Natalie hears of an opportunity to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, owned by Andrew Gordon she jumps at the chance. Downsizing her practice and leaving it in good hands and packing up her house she signs up for a year at the sanctuary. She hopes working with the elephants will help her heal as well.
Once at the sanctuary, she works mainly with an elephant named Sophie, who is injured but has behavioral problems as well, she sees that this elephant has PTSD like she has and feels a bond. She has her work cut out for her as she seems to be the only one who thinks Sophie is worth saving.
There are so many wonderful characters in this book, and all with interesting tales to tell, but the main ones are Andrew the head of the sanctuary and already existing veterinarian, Peter Hatcher, who does not like Natalie from the start, Mali, Andrews Thai love. Each of these characters have interesting backgrounds and we will find out a lot about them in the story.
This was a fascinating story of what it takes to work with these wonderful animals, how both the humans and animals interact with each other, and the building of trust for each other.
There are many wonderful stories going on in this book, not necessarily to do with the elephants, and we also find some answers to some of the subjects brought up in the story. I do not want to give too much away as this is the story each reader needs to feel for themselves.
I could not stop reading this book, and want to thank both NetGalley and Amberjack Publishing for the opportunity.