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 A SCHOOL OF DAUGHTERS by Kate Rene MacKenzie


by Kate Rene MacKenzie

ISBN: 978-1-73-542210-7
Publisher: Red Lace Books

A woman struggles with responding to her husband’s infidelity.

In this debut contemporary novel, MacKenzie writes from the perspective of Kate René Willoughby, who discovers that after 22 years of marriage, her wealthy lawyer husband, Brian, is cheating on her. Kate, who has relocated to an Arizona ranch at Brian’s urging after many years spent living with him in Alaska, investigates his deceptions, both emotional and financial, as she attempts to decide whether or not to end her marriage. Kate’s story moves between the present and the past as she deals with the fallout from Brian’s adultery, remembers growing up with an abusive father, and takes comfort in the critters who surround her on the ranch (“I try to live in the here and now, to be grateful. For the roof over my head, the food I’m not eating, for the animals who force me out of bed each morning and keep me in a routine, who keep me alive”). When she finally makes a decision about Brian, Kate finds support within her community of friends and family as she learns to trust her own judgment and rediscovers her strengths. MacKenzie is a strong writer. Her evocative use of metaphors (“Like that innocent tarantula, I’m being consumed from the inside—by my husband’s love for another woman, by the words I hear him saying to her, by visions of skin against skin”), combined with the steady revelation of Brian’s secrets and deceits, will keep readers engaged even as Kate’s indecision about whether to leave is repetitive and drawn out far longer than necessary. 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. The protagonist bears a strong resemblance to the author, beginning with their same first and middle names. Kate also shares many of the personal and professional experiences MacKenzie includes in her bio, making it difficult to separate the character from the author.

An intensely emotional and engaging tale of marriage, separation, and growth.