The Mourning Parade by Dawn Reno Langley
"I absolutely love this beautiful book. An emotional, colorful, well-balanced journey from grief to hope, a road best traveled at the mercy of nature, which Langley deftly conjures within the green-jungle magic of Thailand. Sophie is an amazing character, an elephant of both challenge and courage. I couldn't put it down."
—Shannon Kirk, international bestselling author of Method 15/33
"[Dawn Reno Langley] is an artist. I loved this book!"
—Erinn's Reviews, YouTube
Single mom and veterinarian Natalie DeAngelo lost everything the day her two sons were killed in a school shooting. Following her psychiatrist's advice, she decides to sell her once-happy home to escape the immense pain and grief of living there alone.
Desperate to find relief from her unspeakable loss, Natalie impetuously commits to honoring her boys’ memory and volunteers to assist philanthropist Andrew Graham at his elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand. All she wants once she gets there is relief.
But she soon realizes she may be in over her head when she faces three major challenges: her debilitating PTSD is creating night terrors; Peter Hatcher, the sanctuary’s irascible in-house vet, has a longtime grudge against her and wants desperately for her to fail; and Sophie, a female elephant with a raging leg infection and PTSD caused by human abuse, is demanding that Natalie use every trick in her veterinarian’s black bag to heal her.
Dr. Hatcher wants to euthanize Sophie, as he claims she's a lost cause, and Natalie knows she must find a way to convince the others to let her keep trying. Can she and Sophie find a way to heal together and learn to love life again? Or will another tragedy shatter Natalie's progress?
This deeply emotional novel explores the capacity of a mother's love, the challenge of overcoming a devastating loss, and the long, tiresome journey to healing.
A writer, theater critic, mosaic artist, and educator, Dawn Reno Langley has devoted her life to literature and the arts. Born an Army brat to a WWII and Korea vet and his wife, Dawn spent her childhood scaring her younger siblings with stories of monsters under the bed. Her first published works, an essay on the Cuban missile crisis, revealed a deep sense of social justice that has never waned. Since then, she has written extensively for newspapers and magazines, has published children’s books, novels, nonfiction books, short stories, and poetry, as well as theater reviews and blogs.
A Fulbright scholar with an MFA in Fiction and a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies, Langley lives in Durham, a small city where people present her with new stories every day. She is always amazed that one finds most stories in small places rather than large cities, and she appreciates the warmth of the friends she has made in the town she calls “funky/artsy.”