Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership With a Search-and-Rescue Dog by Susannah Charleson

Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search and Rescue Dog

From the book flap: In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Susannah Charleson clipped a photo from the newspaper: an exhausted canine handler, face buried in the fur of his search-and-rescue dog.  A dog lover and pilot with search experience herself, Susannah was so moved by the image that she decided to volunteer with a local canine team and soon discovered first hand the long hours, nonexistent pay, and often heart-wrenching results they face.

Still, she felt the call, and once she qualified to train a dog of her own, she adopted Puzzle, a strong, bright Golden Retriever puppy who exhibited unique aptitude as a working dog but who was less interested in the role of compliant house pet.  Puzzle’s willfulness and high drive, both assets in the field, challenged even Susannah, who had raised dogs for years.

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Scent of the Missing reads like a novel.  Susannah Charleson’s memoir is an informative look into the world of search-and-rescue dogs and handlers.There are anecdotes about the searches Puzzle and her handler have been involved in.   From looking for  lost people and runaways to recovery searches of  major tragedy sites such as that of the space shuttle Columbia, Ms. Charleson gives the reader an insider’s take.  She shares touching personal details of her life as well as lighter stories such as what it was like to introduce Puzzle to her household pets.

I’m so impressed by and thankful for the people and dogs who do search-and-rescue. I suspect few of us have it in us to do what they do.   There is a photo section included in the center of the book.

I recommend Scent of the Missing to fans of dogs, memoirs, and inspirational stories.

Click here for a Q&A with the Susannah Charleson

Review copy from FSB Associates

Every House Needs A Balcony by Rina Frank

Every House Needs a Balcony by Rina Frank: Book Cover

In the 1950s Rina, her sister and their Romanian immigrant parents lived in a crowded apartment with other relatives in Haifa, Israel.  It may have been a tight fit but at least they had a balcony. That was their way to see what was going on in their world and vice-versa.   Rina’s parents worked hard at jobs outside their training.  Their mother was an accountant in Romania but now cleaned houses. Their photographer father  now worked small jobs and looked after his daughters. Life wasn’t easy but the girls knew they were loved.

The novel takes us primarily through Rina’s life – her sister becomes a supporting character.  Rina falls in love, marries a young man from Spain and they move back to Israel to be near her family.  As in any life they experience heartbreak and we find out how they deal with it.

My thoughts: Although a lot of things happen in this book it felt more like a list of family events than a fluid novel.  The chapters move alternately between Rina as a stubborn young girl and Rina as a stubborn – some might say selfish – adult. The bones of a good story are there but I never felt emotionally drawn to the characters. Perhaps it lost something in the translation.   The cover of the review copy states that it is an “International Bestseller” so other readers may have a different reaction.

Did you read Every House Needs A Balcony? Feel free to leave a link to your review.

Uncorrected Proof from HarperCollins

First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh

First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet, #1)

The first book of Mary Balogh’s Huxtable Family series is First Comes Marriage.  It is the story of four siblings who find themselves moving up in the world.  Their parents have been dead for years so the older sister Margaret (Meg) has assumed the parental role.  Vanessa (Nessie) is a young widow, Katherine (Kate) helps at the country school, and seventeen year old Stephen works hard at his studies.   But this all changes the day they learn that Stephen is to become the new Earl of Merton.

Once the siblings move to the family estate it is decided that the girls must be introduced to society during the upcoming Season.  To do this, one of the girls must marry a gentleman of the ton so to sponsor her sisters.  It’s presumed that Margaret will marry.  She still carries a torch for a certain soldier but will marry another for the sake of her sisters.  Nessie decides that Meg deserves some happiness and she won’t find it with a man she doesn’t love.  So Nessie proposes to the handsome Viscount Lyngate.  It’s not a love match but they will try to have a happy marriage.  And the story takes off from there.

I liked this novel but there were a few annoying habits of a couple of the characters that stopped me from loving it.    I really enjoy Mary Balogh’s books so I’ll give the second book a try.


Review copy from Dell via Goodreads First Reads