Still Life with Elephant
Judy Reene Singer
Harper, Jul 2009, $13.99
Horse trainer Cornelia "Neelie" Sterling is stunned to find her spouse Matt, a veterinarian is cheating on her with his practice’s partner. Outraged, she tosses him out of their house, but fails to finalize their separation with a divorce though as a former social worker she knows she should. Neelie cannot make it permanent even when she learns his girlfriend is pregnant.
Neelie turns to donuts for solace, but finds out about strike three and four when she realizes their accounts are empty and their house has a second mortgage. When an opportunity to rescue an elephant in Zimbabwe arises, she jumps at the mission as does Matt. Philanthropist Thomas Princeton Pennington funds the quest, who falls in love with Neelie, but she distrusts men; instead showering her love on Margo the mother elephant and her baby. Meanwhile Tom and Matt compete trying to persuade Neelie to make room in her heart for one of them.
The key to this super character study of a cuckolded woman who distrusts men loves the elephants and their African habitat. Neelie has choices to make between the men who want into her life and what to do with Margo and her calf. Fans of strong character studies with a charming elephantine spin will want to read Judy Reene Singer’s engaging tale of love between a woman and an elephant.