Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jerjen
Shelter Me ( Second Chance Ranch ) by Catherine Mann is a multi-faceted read. It’s about love, regrets, pain, fear, family, healing and responsibility. All of these are handled perceptively and honestly. The Second Chance Ranch is not only a place for the rescued animals to get a second chance at life but also for the people who run the shelter.
This is a story of Sierra McDaniel and her family, who run an Animal Rescue shelter. Sierra has stuck around home to help her mother run the shelter, even though she has her own dreams that she’s put on hold. Her life becomes even more confusing and difficult when her old love, Mike, comes back to deliver a dog from Iraq. Her father died while in the military and he wanted the dog, Trooper, to be brought back to his family. Mike brings the dog to the States and delivers him to the family. Mike ends up staying to help the family with repairs to the shelter and to try to repair Sierra’s heart.
Mike was stationed with Sierra’s father in Iraq when her father died. He had dated Sierra prior to being sent to Iraq but broke up with her because he was afraid Sierra’s father didn’t really approve of him. But of course he never stopped loving Sierra and missing her. He has a month off before he has to return to duty and he spends that time helping Sierra and her family any way he can. While he’s there he realizes how much he always wanted to be part of a family and how amazing it was to see Sierra’s family pull together, handling one disaster after another.
Her mother, Lacey, who is the shelter owner, is having her own difficulties. Neighbors are trying to get the shelter shut down. She has lost her husband and is still grieving that loss. Lacey feels overwhelmed by all the responsibility and loneliness she feels. She’s not able to sleep and has begun drinking a lot more than she should.
Then there’s her brother Nathan, who is going through the difficulties of being a teenager and the devastating loss of his father. He’s withdrawing more every day and everyone is very concerned but they don’t know how to reach him to help him.
And then there’s the General, Sierra’s grandfather. He lives with them and he is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Everyone is concerned with his safety and well-being but he has a habit of slipping away and getting into trouble. The way his behavior is displayed and the way he would slip in and out of lucidness was very realistic. I could feel the family’s anguish and sadness over the General’s mental deterioration as though I was going through it with them.