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Traveling Light    by Andrea Thalasinos order for
Traveling Light
by Andrea Thalasinos
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Traveling Light is by Andrea Thalasinos, author of that wonderful novel, An Echo through the Snow. I was enthralled by her first novel and was equally delighted by this one. I do hope I shall, in the near future, read her third. She writes with a delicate hand and a gentle heart.

Paula Makaikis has lived for a precarious ten years with her husband, a hoarder who could win a Hoarder of the Year award. She sleeps with him seldom for half of his bed is covered with papers and tracts and whatever else he wants to keep, which is pretty much everything. Her bed for those last ten years has been a beat-up couch in the living room!

Through chance, she becomes the owner of a large dog, Fotis. This act of kindness to an old, dying man who wants a good home for his dog sets her off on a journey that will change her life. What courage it would surely have taken to buy a car and take off from Manhattan to drive to friends in Canada. Of course, Fotis becomes her constant companion. She ends up relying on him to listen to her rants and raves about her husband. And he relies on her for the fast food she buys him on their journey.

She notices an ad in a newspaper at a pit stop near the Canadian border for an assistant at a rehab for raptors, hawks, eagles, owls, even vultures. She is hired at the first interview. Simon, a vulture, takes a liking to her and waddles after her, even indoors! You've got to admire such devotion.

While Paula gets the job at the rehab center, she pushes to the back of mind that she has a husband who misses her. While reading this wonderful book, I was all for her to move on in her life and not to return to her sick husband. You know I won't tell you of her decision.

I will say that you should not miss this engrossing novel. It will stay in your mind for some time. Beautiful writing, intriguing characters, and a location to give your eyeteeth for. This is a very moving story that encompasses love, devotion, friendship, and a deep conviction that we all must do what we can to save this planet, even a just a tiny sliver of it.

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