They Call Me The Cat Lady – Amy Miller | @AmyBratley1 @Bookouture

You’ve seen me on the street. You’ve walked past my house, and pointed, and wondered. The cat lady. All on my own, with only my five cats to keep me company. Did no-one ever tell you that you can’t judge a book by its cover?

Everyone in town knows Nancy Jones. She loves her cats. She loves her tumbledown house by the sea. She loves her job in the local school where she tries to help the children who need help the most. Nancy tries hard not to think about her past loves and where those led her…

Nancy never shares her secrets – because some doors are better kept locked. But one day she accepts a cat-sitting request from a local woman, and at the woman’s house, Nancy sees a photograph, in a bright-red frame. A photograph that opens the door to her painful past…

Soon Nancy doesn’t know what frightens her the most: letting her story out, or letting the rest of the world in. It’s impossible to find companionship without the risk of losing it. But can Nancy take that risk again?

A heart-wrenching and heart-warming story of love lost and found, and of second chances, They Call Me the Cat Lady is perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

They Call Me The Cat Lady is published today (26th April 2019) by Bookouture. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book via NetGalley and for inviting me onto this blog tour to share my review.

They Call Me The Cat Lady is such a heartwarming read which I couldn’t put down. Nancy Jones is a closed book, nice enough but quickly forgotten, dismissed as a bit of a strange character. Nancy doesn’t open up to anyone so nobody really knows her so she inadvertently leads quite a lonely life…other than the company of her cats! What we do know about Nancy is that she works in a school and has formed relationships with her co-workers but keeps a distance from them – its clear that she doesn’t want to talk about her past but what isn’t clear is why she keeps this to herself.

One day, someone contacts Nancy following her advert for her cat sitting services – what Nancy doesn’t realise is that visiting that house is going to change her life when she comes across something extremely familiar in the person’s home.

I’ll be honest, during the first few chapters of the book (about 8%), I was questioning whether it was for me with it’s slow gentle pace (I’m used to a murder taking place or a body being found within the first couple of chapters and the pace ramping up) but I stuck with it because Nancy was such a lovely character. I am so glad I did because after this point I was glued to the story, the narrative really took off and I wanted to learn more and more about Nancy, her past and why she was so closed off now. As such, I read the rest of the book in 2 sittings (and it was 2 sittings because I had to feed the family, had it not have been for their unreasonable demands, it would’ve been in 1 read 😊)!

Nancy is such a wonderful character, whilst Nancy keeps many secrets, the author gives the reader the special privilege of being in on the secrets as Miller tells us through Nancy’s flashbacks. Some of these passages were difficult to read (as they should be to be fair) but were so important to the overall story and to really understand Nancy.

Another stand out character is Alfie, the young boy who is being bullied at school and who Nancy takes under her wing to try and make his day a little bit better. Alfie’s garden backs onto Nancy’s garden so they are practically neighbours. Alfie has an old head on young shoulders and helps Nancy in facing her secrets without even realising – their relationship is wonderful, how they ultimately help one another.

I cannot review the book without mentioning the cats, as the title suggests, cats are very present in the story (which I think was one of the main attractions of the book!). I loved the way the author used the cats to show a different side of Nancy, whilst others saw her as a closed book, Nancy could be herself around her cats and discuss her worries with them, even if the conversation is rather one sided. The cats provided the company that Nancy couldn’t bear to let in if it was in human form.  

There are lots of themes beautifully covered in this book but what stood out for me the most was that you never really know what goes on in people’s lives so it’s important to take the time to be nice to one another. Never judge a book by its cover….or a lady by her cats 😊

I thoroughly enjoyed this gentle, emotional and heart-warming read from Amy Miller.

Amy Miller lives in Dorset with her husband and two children. The author of seven novels, including contemporary women’s fiction and wartime saga, she writes under the names Amy Miller and Amy Bratley.

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