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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A School of Daughters by Kate René MacKenzie - Book Tour - Book Review - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Kate René MacKenzie and her new book, “A School of Daughters,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win ONE of TWO $50 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!!  That’s right!!!  There will be TWO lucky winners!!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Kate and to increase your chances of winning!!

Thanks for stopping by!!  Wishing you all lots of good luck in this fabulous giveaway!!

A School of Daughters

by Kate René MacKenzie


GENRE:   Literary Women’s Fiction



It’s funny how things sneak up on you…

Kate Willoughby is a champion for throwaways—discarded dogs and cats, abandoned horses bound for slaughter, and all creatures great and small. But now it's Kate who's alone in a hostile world like a dog dumped by the side of a road. Is there a champion for Kate?

After 22 years of marriage, Kate loves her husband, Brian, with an even greater passion than when she spoke her vows. “My world spins on his axis,” she often says. But when Kate finds a love letter to Brian from Micky, she’s torn between proving Brian’s innocence and nailing him to the wall with his guilt.

Throughout her marriage, Kate has been trusting and trustworthy —to a fault, friends have said. Now, she steals into Brian’s emails and accesses his credit card accounts, phone records, bank statements, friends and activities, discovering the metaphoric iceberg beneath Brian’s affair.

Turning to the one constant in her life, Kate is guided by her family of animals: shelter dog Molly; Premarin horse Quinn; packrat Winston; owls Albert & Victoria; Stubby, the chipmunk; rattlesnake Cassandra; and Phineas, the determined grosbeak. These wise and wonderful teachers, along with a wild menagerie on her Arizona ranch, deliver lessons on life, love, and letting go. But it’s Molly, in a heartbreaking act of courage, who leads Kate back to her true self, before she became lost in love with Brian.

Shining a light on the childhood events and adult choices that, like steppingstones, brought her to this moment, Kate illuminates a familiar and well-worn path. Narrating her story with equal doses of heartache and humor, Kate comes to understand that nothing sneaks up on you that isn't already here. Learning from Phineas, the determined grosbeak, Kate realizes that even after a devastating injury, you can soar again.



“I will never do this again.”

It’s Christmas, five years ago. There is a mound of dirt in the corral and Chance is five feet under it.

Our Thanksgiving hosts, Felicity and Barry, have trailered over one of their horses so Petunia won’t be alone…

After 18 years in Alaska, stuck in a stall and paddock, Chance was supposed to enjoy many years of sun and warm and wide open spaces in Arizona. Truth be told, the main reason I moved to Juniper Verde was so Chance and Petunia could finally be horses. Chance’s life in Arizona wasn’t supposed to end after only 15 months.

Felicity and I stood in the drizzle, watching Petunia and Sabrina get to know each other.

"You’ll get another horse,” Felicity said.

Numbed by my sudden loss, I knew better.

Felicity looked at me. “You love too much.”

I heard Felicity’s accusatory assessment and felt…anger.

How is it possible to love too much? How can you put limits on love, miserly rationed in appropriate doses? Love is nothing if not everything. It’s every tick, every beat, every breath.

Love is…what love is. It shouldn’t be controlled, like a simmering pot, fearful of boiling over.

Love done right has no regrets. There is grief, certainly, at loss—sometimes overwhelming grief that empties you. But while sorrow hollows, love comforts and eventually… eventually... fills us with gratitude for having the courage to love with such abandon, with such hope, when we know the future is uncertain.

Not loving doesn’t insulate us from pain, it robs us of joy. We should all love too much, knowing that love’s loss will absolutely devastate us. If we don’t know that, feel that, then we don’t love enough…



This book is an interesting, intriguing, compelling read full of heartache and betrayal.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel as this book also tells a powerful journey of resilience, rediscovery, hope, strength, and encouragement.

This book takes the reader on a deeply personal and emotional rollercoaster ride.

This book follows the main character, Kate, after she recently discovers her husband of twenty-two years has been lying and cheating on her.  Kate admits her world completely revolves around her husband, Brian, and this newly discovered shocker has Kate twisted inside out.  While Kate struggles with whether to forgive and forget and go back to the way things were or to find the courage to stand up for herself and end things forever, Kate reflects back on her life and the choices she’s made that got her to this point.  Can Kate forgive Brian or is it too late?  No spoilers here, but you’ll definitely want to check out this book to find out what happens!!

This book takes place over a short four-month end-of-year holiday period – mostly October through January.  While the time frame may be short, the events are anything but!  Not that there’s really any good time to find out your spouse is having an affair, but around the holidays, seriously?!

This book closely follows Kate as she suffers through many dark, painful days of devastating heartbreak, agony, and despair – you can practically feel the character’s deep, raw emotions as her tears trickle off the pages.

I really liked the main character, Kate, as she was likable, relatable, and genuine.  I think many readers will be able to easily connect with Kate and find themselves quickly empathizing and rooting for her.

Furthermore, this book exhibits very realistic and authentic story lines as the author explores Kate’s real-life reactions of feeling vulnerable, uncomfortable, embarrassed, and ashamed.

While I imagine this author as someone you can easily talk to about anything and everything and I say that because of the way the author simply writes bouncing back and forth between an array of topics.  I have many friends like this where we can just spend hours going from one topic to the next without any of those weird awkward pauses, the next subject practically prompts itself.  And while I found this particular writing technique to actually keep the reader engaged and caught up in the story for the most part, it did at times become a bit complex and overwhelming.  As the author continually shifts the story from the past to current tense – some scenes just a few sentences – it can become somewhat confusing.  For example, one minute Kate and Brian are arguing on the phone, then Kate is thinking about an ex, and then the next minute Kate and Brian are back on the same call arguing, and then back to Kate thinking about that same ex again, and then all of a sudden Kate’s on the phone with a friend.  While the story has intriguing details, I sometimes felt that the order or arrangement of some of those scenes felt out of place or completely unrelated.

As a huge animal lover, especially of the rescues, strays, and unwanteds – I was drawn to this story and was thrilled to find a kindred spirit in Kate.  I enjoyed this element to the story and Kate’s unconditional love for all creatures great and small.

I also enjoyed the intriguing settings of Arizona and Alaska, two very different states, but understandably special in their own ways.  I have always loved Arizona and hoped one day to eventually move out there.  While I think Alaska would be too cold and isolated for me, I did enjoy reading about the breathtaking views and unique wildlife.

There are some predictable scenes.  However, there are still a few unexpected twists and turns that you won’t see coming!!

This book is on the slightly longer side with 315 eBook pages.  This book is not divided up into numbered chapters, but instead broken up into sixty-eight date entry titles plus a preface chapter.  These journal entry date theme headings span from September 30th through January 30th, and while most entries last four to five pages with multiple scene breaks, there are three dates that comprise of only one page.

This book is not listed as part of a book series and therefore can be read as a standalone book.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it!!  I think all women’s fiction readers will like this book too!!  So, add it to your TBR List and get to reading – you won’t be disappointed!!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations**



Kate René MacKenzie is the women’s fiction alter ego of romance novelist and Golden Heart nominee Maggie McConnell (Spooning Daisy). Kate (and Maggie) spent her childhood overseas, the daughter of US diplomats. Attending college in Illinois, she volunteered at the local humane shelter, eventually becoming director. While earning a BA in Art and then an MBA, Kate worked at various jobs including go-go girl, bartender, and teaching assistant. At 26, she sold her 280Z and packed her dog and cat into a Ford truck and drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska where she spent 23 years exploring The Last Frontier in a single-engine Cessna. Her next adventure was in Arizona on a no-kill ranch at the end of the road. A vegan and animal rights advocate, Kate provides a sanctuary for all creatures great and small, but her immediate family includes horses Quinn and Hershey, and cat Noelle.









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Kate will be awarding a $50 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card (Winner’s Choice!!!) to TWO randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Thank you, Ally, for hosting Daughters, and for the insightful review. I appreciate the thought you put into it. You also wrote (several years ago) a nice review for my romance, Spooning Daisy. Thanks for giving my writing another go. :)

  2. This sounds like an interesting book.

  3. A School of Daughters sounds like an excellent book for me to read, thanks for sharing it with me!

    Thanks, Fabulous and Brunette, for sharing your review!

    Have a magical holiday season!