by Melissa Hart
Just released: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Lyons Press
Hardback: 336 pages
Melissa Hart, a desperately lonely young divorcée and L.A. transplant, finds herself stranded in rainy Eugene, Oregon, working from home in the company of her two cats and two large mutts. At the local dog park, she meets a fellow dog owner named Jonathan: a tall, handsome man with a unibrow and hawk-like nose. When he invites her to accompany him on a drive to Portland to retrieve six hundred pounds of frozen rats and a fledgling barred owl, sparks fly!
Their courtship blossoms in a raptor rehabilitation center where wounded owls, eagles, falcons, and other iconic birds of prey take refuge and become ambassadors for their species. Initially, Melissa volunteers here in order to “sink her talons” into her new love interest, but soon she falls hopelessly in love with her fine feathered charges: Archimedes, a gorgeous snowy owl; Lorax, a serene great-horned owl; and Bodhi, a baby barred with a permanently injured wing. Even as human-habituated birds, they retain a wildness that hoodwinks even the most experienced handlers. Overcoming her fears, Melissa bravely suffers some puncture wounds to get closer to these magnificent creatures.
Melissa and Jonathan start out convinced they don’t want children, but caring for birds who have fallen from their nests triggers a deep longing in Melissa to mother an orphaned child. Thus they embark on a heart-wrenching journey to adoption. Every page sparkles with vivid imagery and wit in this beautifully written memoir of parallel pursuits. Wild Within is, above all, about the power of love—romantic, animal, and parental—to save lives and fulfill dreams.
I took in the woman's close-cropped orange hair, her faded sweatshirt and filthy sneakers, her blue jeans stained with spots of blood. She looked like an extra in a zombie film.
-chapter 5, page 60
Wonderful way to learn about the experiences of volunteering at a raptor rehabilitation center as well as the adoption process. Very interesting to see the similarities that were presented.
* review copy courtesy of Summer Reading Challenge 2014. @booksparks #SRC2014!