Sarah & Zoey

A Novella

Fiction - Animals
122 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

Sarah & Zoey by Linda Watkins opens with Sarah, who is happily married to successful corporate lawyer, David Palmer, and mom to Thad. Her only problem is an unfinished article for the Boston Globe that stops her going on a sailing trip with her husband and son, and mild concern over dark clouds on the horizon. David and Thad don’t return for lunch. They don’t return, period. Sarah is plunged into a deep depression, but she adopts Zoey, a dog being rehomed in Boston, a thousand miles from Randall James Watson. Zoey leaves behind Mindy Sue, Watson’s abused wife, whose life she saved almost at the cost of her own, but can she save Sarah’s sanity? Will Mindy Sue recover from a broken spine, and contrive to evade Randall’s revenge?

Linda Watkins has written a fascinating, in-depth study of two very different women. Sarah, a wealthy “world-at her-feet” woman who loses her husband and son in a freak storm at sea, and a poor country girl, Mindy Sue, who miscarried her baby and has been living with her violent drunken husband ever since. Zoey is the dog who links them across class and distance with her gift of unconditional love. Every character is beautifully drawn, the contrasting lives and settings are vivid and so very different, the pace is fast, and the end utterly unpredictable. Sarah & Zoey is a powerful, heart-tugging story that must be read at one sitting; it’s too enthralling to put down. I loved this five-star novella, and I’ll be looking for more by Linda Watkins.

Jane Finch

Sarah and Zoey by Linda Watkins is the story of two women, Sarah and Mindy Sue, and a dog named Zoey. Sarah is a journalist and lives with her husband and son and is happy and content, until tragedy strikes and everything she held dear is cruelly taken from her. Mindy Sue lives with an abusive husband, her only comfort being Zoey, a rescue dog she adopted from the local pound. In a drunken rage, Mindy Sue’s husband attacks her and Zoey gets involved, trying to protect her mistress. After Mindy Sue gets away and races to the hospital, her belligerent husband takes it out on Zoey, leaving her close to death. Sarah hears about the story and offers to give Zoey a home. The two bond and Zoey helps Sarah recover from the tragedy that had shattered her life. When Sarah and Mindy Sue eventually meet, they realise that Zoey had helped them both to recover from the hurt of the past and look forward to the future.

The author, Linda Watkins, has written a captivating story that will appeal to animal lovers who believe that an animal can understand human emotions, and they can be instrumental in healing both body and spirit. Zoey is a calm and gentle dog, but protective of those that she loves. Sarah and Mindy Sue are both hurt either physically or mentally; put them together and the story pulls it all together. A heart-warming novella with a feel-good factor that readers of this genre will enjoy immensely.

Jack Magnus

Sarah & Zoey is a contemporary fiction novella written by Linda Watkins. Sarah Palmer had really regretted not being able to join her husband and son when they went sailing that afternoon. She loved being out on the water as much as they did, but she was not at all satisfied with the progress she had made on her current assignment and had decided to stay at her computer until she was. And she had promised Thad that she’d have his favorite baked macaroni and cheese ready when he and his dad got back home -- but they never did. Instead, after some tense hours wondering why their return home had been delayed so long, she opened her front door to find two police officers waiting for her. With their grim news of a boating accident that left both Thad and her husband dead, Sarah lost any sense of hope or happiness. Concerned friends did their best to try to help, but her repeated refusals meant fewer and fewer calls or concerns, and the grieving woman gradually lost any interest in even the writing career she had worked so hard to establish. Then something strange and wonderful happened. She saw a segment of a news broadcast about a woman who had barely survived a savage attack by her drunken husband and the badly injured dog who had saved her life. The dog’s name was Zoey, and she would save Sarah’s life as well.

Linda Watkins’ contemporary fiction novella, Sarah & Zoey, is an intense and compelling story that interweaves recovery from grief, the repercussions of domestic violence and the undeniable bond between dogs and the humans they call family. Watkins swiftly had me involved in following the stories of Sarah, Mindy Sue and Zoey, and I found the experience quite moving. Sarah & Zoey is beautifully written. Watkins’ characters are well developed people that one comes to care about, and the plot works quite well. This story will be especially appealing to those readers who love animals, particularly dogs, a love shared by both author and this reviewer. Sarah & Zoey is most highly recommended.