In Room for Another Heart by Yvonne C. Hebert, MA, when Cathy Maslin loses her husband Chase in Iraq–as well as her first job as a teacher–her life is turned upside down. The home they’ve bought together in Northern Michigan Manistee Forest was definitely not meant for one person, and even sharing it with Moose, the dog she received as a wedding present from her deceased husband, does little to make life easier.
Needless to say, Cathy is feeling very low, and in many ways very upset, possibly even angry. She was not ecstatic over her husband’s decision to become a soldier, and losing him to the war in Iraq makes her quite bitter. There is little purpose and direction in her life until, somewhat by chance, she decides to foster more dogs belonging to deployed soldiers. That decision changes everything for her. She discovers a new life, connects with several veterans (some of whom knew Chase), develops new friendships, and establishes quite a career caring for those dogs. The veterans not only help her build the necessary facilities to keep those dogs safely, but one of them eventually catches her eye, and when enough time has passed, Cathy decides that maybe she should give love and happiness another chance.
Yvonne Hebert’s Room for Another Heart is a love story on more than one level. Sure, there is the love Cathy feels for her late husband, and the one she eventually starts to feel for Tom, the handsome ex-Army guy who’s so good with the dogs. But there is also love for the dogs and nature in general, as well as love for herself that Cathy needs to rediscover before she could really change anything in her life. Of all the life lessons in this book, and there are many, the most important one is probably that sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help others.
I enjoyed reading Room for Another Heart by Yvonne C. Hebert, MA, and I am particularly glad that somebody pointed out the issue of animals left behind by the soldiers who are being deployed, and who do not have anybody close to them able or willing to take care of those pets.