BOOK REVIEW + $50 Gift Card GIVE AWAY - A SCHOOL OF DAUGHTERS by Kate René MacKenzie


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…

I received an advance review copy for free and am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you Kate René MacKenzie and Goddess Fish Promotions. I'm excited to be a part of this tour.

A School of Daughters is an eloquent and engaging story that highlights one woman’s experience with realizing the life she thought she had, isn’t her life at all. The book dives deep into the main character Kate’s life and her thoughts. As a child she experienced abuse and as a result was desperate to find stability, no matter the cost. Told from an authentic perspective, this book shows the whole of her life – the good, the bad, and the questionable.

While I wasn’t married for 22 years, I do remember the phase before you know it’s over and that you are now on the path to divorce despite efforts to avoid this lane. I empathize with Kate as she realizes the reality of her situation and how gaslighting played a huge role in how she currently feels. This is a story that sticks with you whether you’ve been through divorce or not. I find myself still thinking about this book and how I wish I had her support group and animals. Has I reached out versus go inside myself and feel ashamed, I think my immediate post-divorce years would have been less painful.

Alternating between her childhood and present, this book is full of missed opportunities that lead to the current path. The book looks at other romantic relationships and animals she’s had throughout her life, shows the depths of pain she experienced and important life lessons learned.

While the breakdown of any relationship is heartbreaking, this book leaves you with a sense of hope for a better future because of what she’s learned. Afterall, Kate is stronger than she believes herself to be.

Overall, I recommend this book and will be looking for more from this author! 

Overall Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Kate Rene’ 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.

Amazon buy link:



Amazon buy link for Maggie McConnell/Spooning Daisy:




The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting Daughters (especially during the holidays!) and for the lovely, thoughtful review.

  2. Sounds like a great read. I like the cover and excerpt.

  3. I love the cover and think the book looks good.

  4. thank you to all who stopped by, read the review and entered the contest!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

BOOK REVIEW - The Empty Kayak by Jodé Millman

BOOK BLITZ - Gillespie Field Groove by Corey Lynn Fayman