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It's funny how things sneak up on you....



Kate Willoughby is a champion for throwaways—discarded dogs and cats, abandoned horses bound for slaughter, and all creatures great and small. But now it's Kate who's been tossed aside like a dog dumped by the side of a road. Who will champion Kate?


After 22 years of marriage, Kate loves her husband, Brian, with an even greater passion than when she spoke her vows. “My world spins on his axis,” she often says. But when Kate finds a love letter to Brian from Micky, she’s torn between proving Brian’s innocence and nailing him to the wall with his guilt.


Throughout her marriage, Kate has been trusting and trustworthy —to a fault, friends have said. Now, she steals into Brian’s emails and accesses his credit card accounts, phone records, bank statements, friends and activities, discovering the metaphoric iceberg beneath Brian’s affair.


Turning to the one constant in her life, Kate is guided by her family of animals: shelter dog Molly; Premarin horse Quinn; packrat Winston; owls Albert & Victoria; Stubby, the chipmunk; rattlesnake Cassandra; and Phineas, the determined grosbeak. These wise and wonderful teachers, along with a wild menagerie on her Arizona ranch, deliver lessons on life, love, and letting go. But it’s Molly, in a heartbreaking act of courage, who leads Kate back to her true self, before she became lost in love with Brian.


Shining a light on the childhood events and adult choices that, like stepping stones, brought her to this moment, Kate illuminates a familiar and well-worn path. Narrating her story with equal doses of heartache and humor, Kate comes to understand that nothing sneaks up on you that isn't already here. Learning from Phineas, the determined grosbeak, Kate realizes that even after a devastating injury, you can soar again.

"MacKenzie is a strong writer. Her evocative use of metaphors...combined with the steady revelation of Brian’s secrets and deceits, will keep readers engaged...Kate’s first-person narration gives readers a deep look into her thoughts, and fans of character-driven fiction will appreciate the intimacy of her portrayal and the power of her emotions. MacKenzie also does an effective job of incorporating the many animal characters into the story, allowing them to reveal Kate’s struggle without turning them into stand-ins for humans...An intensely emotional and engaging tale of marriage, separation, and growth." Kirkus Reviews  For the full review, click here  

"In A School of Daughters Kate René MacKenzie shows that she is a writer of great emotion, seeing the poetry in all creatures and in the sunrise as well as the sunset, and that maybe what we metaphorically view as the sunset, the ending, the abandoning, can be, in itself, an opportunity."   Sascha Darlington (book blogger)

"In its entirety, this book is a captivating literary romance—and defier of romance. Plus a lovely sort of treatise on the care of all creatures great and small, wild and tame—including homo sapiens of the Kate MacKenzie sort. A School of Daughters is a page-turner; I could not put it down."  Lena Hubin, author of "In the Key of Be"

"This book has surprises around every corner." Ron (Amazon reviewer)

"Once you meet Kate, you won't be able to forget her."  Susan (Amazon reviewer)

"The story unfolds before us and we experience it along with the narrator, Kate, who although a bit Pollyannaish, is immensely likeable. Her love for and devotion to the animals and natural world surrounding her is worth the price of admission."  John (Amazon reviewer)

"For anyone who has ever stepped off a cliff in life, whether through death, job loss, divorce, or the many other ways life upends our core sense of self, A School of Daughters will resonate."  (Amazon reviewer)

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