Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars
“I do not think anymore about what was. Only about what is.”
From New York Times bestselling author Susan Wilson comes What a Dog Knows, another heartwarming novel about humans and the dogs that change our lives.
Ruby Heartwood has always lived a life on the move. As a traveling psychic, she makes her living working at carnivals and festivals and circuses around New England. It’s a life Ruby has made peace with—settling in one place has never been for her. She needs no one, and no one needs her.
Until one night, when she is camped by the side of the road in her trusty Volkswagon “Westie” van, a fierce thunder and lightning storm erupts. In the middle of the downpour, she hears a distinct voice telling her to “let me in.” In jumps a little black and white dog, and to Ruby’s astonishment, she can hear the dog’s thoughts. Has she been struck by lightning? Did the storm do this? Is she losing her mind?
It turns out, Ruby can hear many dogs’ thoughts. She decides to set up semi-permanent residency in the town of Harmony Farms, until she can sort out what is going on, and who the little dog, Hitch, belongs to. But some people in Harmony Farms don’t want her there. And it seems that events keep preventing Ruby from leaving. What secrets is this town keeping? Why was she meant to find this dog? And what has Ruby really been running from, all these years?
Protagonist Ruby Heartwood is a traveling fortune teller, psychic, seer who reads tarot cards and tea leaves in her conical tent that she can easily disassemble, load, and leave in her little VW Westphalia when the festival or carnival is over. And she’ll soon be on her way except for the fierce storm that blew in and demanded she find shelter. During the storm, she hears a voice and opening the door discovers a little black and white dog with light brown “caterpillar” eyebrows. The distinct voice, or picture—images—is the beginning of her ability to “hear” the dogs thoughts.
It doesn’t take long then that she is aware this dog, the one she’s named “the Hitchhiker” who will become her familiar, partners with her in helping to provide answers to other canine, and soon equine, dilemmas.
As luck would have it, a series of events occur to keep Ruby in Harmony Farms, first the Farmers’ Market and Makers Faire and then a succession of good links to further business, now sporting the new title of “animal communicator.” She’s been having increasing dreams of her mother, however, and she starts to seek answers, beginning to gather clues to the woman who left her in an orphanage in Ottawa as an infant. But the admonition to “find me, find you” keeps getting side-tracked.
If she has a good day, something like the Westie quitting strands her again. She is beginning to meet people, make contacts. Unfortunately, Polly is the local animal officer and her office has gotten a call regarding a show dog of the Hitchhiker’s description. Something else to keep her there until she can get that sorted out.
In the meantime, the reader is privy to a warm-hearted narrative with amazing characters, so well developed, all of whom you come to invest in. It’s easy to get caught up in Ruby’s search for her mother, the relationship with her daughter, the oft POV of the dog, his thoughts and feelings—so simple but so profound. No one writes dog like Susan Wilson. So much to identify with. The dog is a brilliant tricolor Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
The storyline grows in complexity as it does in emotion, wisdom, and tension. The harder her resistance, the easier to break—now she has too much in to walk away and all roads seem to lead back. I loved the character of Sabine, her daughter, Bull, Ravi and his Dew Drop Inn. Polly is special. It’s a lesson in confronting old trauma and hate, releasing the hurt.
The author has a beautiful, artful hand in setting up human to canine dialogue—you can believe it—the prose and the sensitivity so strong.
“Good news will keep, and bad news won’t go away?”
I have lapped up everything I could get my hands on since the first book I read by this author, including One Good Dog, Two Good Dogs, The Dog I Loved, and The Dog Who Danced, three of those as an audiobook. I believe, however, this might be her very best yet.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and am so grateful! These are my honest thoughts. Highly recommended! This book is currently on pre-order and I urge you to order your copy now at your favorite retailer.
Genre: Animal Fiction, Women’s Romance Fiction, Women’s Literature & Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
- ASIN : B08FZ94VJ7
Print Length: 368 pages
Publication Date: To be released Jun 22, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: SUSAN WILSON is the author of ten novels, including the New York Times bestselling One Good Dog. In her most recent novel, TWO GOOD DOGS, the two main characters from One Good Dog, Adam March and his rescued pit bull Chance, make a return. She lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Visit her online at http://www.susanwilsonwrites.com
©2020 V Williams