Not Even a Moose ISBN: 9781682941195 Desert Breeze Publishing a Christmas story by Nancy Kay,
The story is set in the relatively rural village of Watertown, N.Y. “situated on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario… that often gets crippling lake effect snow in winter.” The plot centers around activities of two young protagonists caught in an unusual situation resulting from a vicious storm and poor decisions. Samantha Gates was on her way to spend her yearly Christmas time with her grandparents who were going to meet her shortly in their beautiful little cabin a short distance from the town. She stubbornly refuses to heed advice about the worsening weather from the motherly owner of the local store and moves onto the poorly constructed road. Her car skids off the road, but not too far away so she struggles ahead on foot when she suddenly encounters a badly injured moose. As a partially trained veterinarian, she manages to arouse the animal and get it to her grandparent’s barn. Michael Donovan, a young newly commissioned Federal Wildlife Officer encounters a vehicle that had been overturned as a result of the vicious storm that had just struck the area. It had been transporting a young moose to its new home and now loose and severely injured had wandered into the forest. He debates about how he can help as he makes a stop at the local store for a few things his mother had requested for the Christmas dinner. He is told that Samantha had been in and left for Dr. Gates cabin. With the rapidly worsening storm he believes it necessary to make sure she is not stranded somewhere along the way. He finds her abandoned car, slips off the road himself and is injured but follows her to the barn. From this point a most interesting tale expands as the already vicious storm intensifies, a wide ranging starving wolf appears and Sam insists upon saving the injured moose, making even more poor decisions. Additional features weighing in are: receipt of a fragmentary telephone call that her grandfather has been taken to the hospital and remembrances of Sam’s relationship with her mother and father and of childhood situations and attendant reactions by both Sam and Mike at the time. Other characters only sparingly introduced in these ruminations are Sam’s grandparents, Ellen and longtime local Veterinarian Charley Gates, Sam’s highly successful Boston surgeon father, beautiful, talented, heavily socially involved Interior Decorator mother, Mike’s longtime buddy married to his sister who is expected to deliver their child momentarily, the motherly local store owner and Mike’s parents with dad the local police authority and longtime friend of Charley.
This is a story a little different than those of the author’s I previously have read, all of which had dealt with interrelationships of mature individuals, which parenthetically were extremely well, even sensitively, done. This tale instead concerns interactivity of quite young protagonists who still have the rough edges and lack of personal ego development that can only develop with time. In fact the dangerous, thoughtless decisions and results bring to mind an amusing thought not heard expressed for many years. In the time before alcohol addiction was so prevalent, overly indulgent individuals occasionally made decisions causing dangerous situations from which they frequently escaped. Thus it was said: God takes care of drunks and children and sometimes even thoughtless ‘good’ people. But again to Nancy Kay. She has ‘picked up on’ and nicely displayed these features of younger individuals and again has done so in an admirably sensitive manner. Once more she has delivered a book with a “focus on romance, intertwined with love of hearth, home and family, yet sprinkled with suspense, danger and intrigue”. This not only is a book that will satisfy her numerous followers, but should also appeal to an all new younger set of readers.
5* Most enjoyable for Nancy Kay’s readers and suggested for some new ones.