I often feel that I overuse the words “charming” and “delightful” in my reviews of the many wonderful cat books I read, but they are the first two words that came to mind after I finished Paw Prints in the Moonlight: The Heartwarming True Story of One Man and His Cat. However, they really don’t do the book justice, because it is so much more.
From the publisher:
When Denis O’Connor rescues a three-week-old kitten from certain death during a snowstorm, little does he know how this tiny creature will change his life forever. Against all odds the kitten—whom he names Toby Jug—survives and turns out to be a wondrous Maine Coon Cat extraordinaire. Life with Toby is never dull, and Denis and Toby embark on a series of sometimes comical, sometimes poignant adventures that bring them ever closer together. From the massive invasion of bees at Owl Cottage to the mysterious case of the disappearing tomatoes, Denis and Toby form an extraordinary bond, and the cat that no one thought would live through the night ends up altering the lives of everyone he meets.
What makes this story different from many of the others in this genre is the time, and the setting. The time – 1966 – and the setting – a remote country cottage in Northumberland in England – lend an almost otherworldly feel to this book, so removed is it from our modern lives. I found myself drawn into the magic of the setting almost as much as I was drawn to the incredible bond between Toby Jug and the author. O’ Connor’s descriptions of Toby, his life, and the splendor of the natural environment they lived in at times almost took my breath away with their beauty. The narrative is so descriptive that I felt like could hear the cold winter wind howling and the warm fire crackling. Whimsical illustrations by Richard Morris add yet another dimension to the book.
This story of one man and his cat will touch your heart in unexpected ways, and it will stay with you long after you finish the book.
One interesting side note: I received the British edition of this book from the publicist. It was titled Paw Tracks in the Moonlight, and has a different cover (illustrated by Richard Morris, who also did the illustrations in the rest of the book). Which cover do you like better?
This book was sent to me by the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.