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A Book Review: Author Paula Munier: A Borrowing of Bones

Book review borrowing of bones

Leadership is often about reading. Often about what you read. Often about your desire to read.

I believe leadership is about learning and books help us learn. Even fiction.

This book review of author Paula Munier’s book, A Borrowing of Bones, comes as an offering. To those baby boomer women, and everyone they know. Because fiction is the home of creativity. Fiction is a universe of its own. Fiction is where we learn about ourselves and our reaction to stories, characters, heroes, villains, and all the crowded spaces between.

Fiction is often where our own creativity lives.

Now, on to the book. And the title. Did the title not draw you in right away? It did me. I was immediately tuned in to this book knowing it was a mystery. Someone (maybe more than one someone) died and someone was going to find out why.

The cover is amazing because it shows a woman in silhouette with a beautiful Shepherd-like dog at her feet, standing on a mountain, looking out at the setting sun (or the rising sun, one can imagine either.).

Many who know me will understand my excitement at seeing a dog featured on the cover of a mystery novel. I find it annoying that so many fiction writers do not include pets in their stories (especially science fiction, because, like, there won’t be any pets in the future?). Maybe a mention that the people have a pet, or that the detective hates cats, or something like that, but few have pets that are part of the story. Which makes the story suspect, in my eyes. Because, let’s be real here, pets are part of our families and often play a big role in everything we do.

In A Borrowing of Bones, Munier introduces Mercy

Mercy is a young woman retired from combat duty in Afghanistan, and her dog, Elvis, a Belgian Shepherd who is a former bomb sniffing dog, is now also retired from combat duty. Elvis is her dog now. Once, Elvis worked side by side with Sergeant Martinez in Afghanistan. Once, Mercy did, too. Now, Sergeant Martinez is just a memory to them both, and Mercy is working off her grief with Martinez’s dog, as she says again and again. But, she is no dog handler. At least, not like her former fiance, Sergeant Martinez.

This is a full on mystery story, complete with unearthed human remains in the mountains where Mercy hikes with Elvis every morning, and lots of bad guys and bad girls - bad people. But, for me, the best part is Elvis gets a friend! You bet I loved that. As the mystery unfolds, Mercy meets game warden Troy Warner, who works with his dog, a Newfoundland he rescued, called Susie. Together, Susie and Elvis make this book hum with life.

Belgian shepard dog

I’m not doing the story justice here. It’s a twisted tale of intrigue and confusion and people who know they should trust their dogs but often do not. That makes them human, doesn’t it? the story has all the other elements necessary for a good mystery, and within the unfolding of who-done-it, there’s budding love and it’s the 4th of July so there are fireworks of the usual kind and some fun, too.

I loved this book. I’m looking forward to more from this author. I love that she will be writing more about Mercy and Elvis and that someone out there sees the importance of truth and realism in their work. Animals are a part of our lives. They are not peripheral to our lives. At least, they shouldn’t be.

This is how fiction inspires us - good writing, good story, accurate and authentic details

If you’re looking for a good read, a solid who-done-it, this is it. The details about search and rescue dogs, about combat bomb sniffing dogs, and about the world at large (with people who find killing easy, and people who don’t), is spot on. I was mesmerized by that part of the book.

I was so drawn in to summer in Vermont, to the worry Mercy carries and her grief, and her need to move on but her desire not to; I was so captivated by Elvis and Susie and the truth to a dog’s personality, as written by this author; I was so full of the story, I kept avoiding the end, those last few pages, because, with all good stories, we want them to go on and on.

And so, this one will, and I hope I get to review it next time, also.

To the title, which really drew me in, I found this online. It’s a poem about the words in the title. I will post just one stanza here and please, do go read the entire poem on your own. It’s well worth your time. I don’t know how or when Munier found the poem, and then chose to use one line as her title, but I’m glad she did. This is the mark of a truly creative writer with a respect for her craft. (and click the link on the poem’s author’s name your reward is a beautiful tribute to Neruda’s dog - how fitting is that?)

Full October

Little by little or maybe all at once
life happened to me
and revealed my great irrelevance:
how my veins carried
the blood I rarely saw,
how the air of distant lands that I breathed
passed right through me,
how in the end everyone knows this:
you carry nothing with you,
for life is only a borrowing of bones.
The beauty was in not being a thrall
to sorrow, or to joy,
or begging for one last drop
of honey or of twilight.

Pablo Neruda

Enjoy. Make this one a must-have and when you buy it, buy an extra to give away.

Let me know if you do read it and what you think. As always, Nurturing Big Ideas wants to hear from you.

Are you writing a book? Starting a business? Or, just want to earn extra $$$ from an established hobby? Do tell!

A borrowing of bones title and cover

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