Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Review Tour: A School of Daughters by Kate Rene' MacKenzie @GoddessFish


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 was in my office, two years on the job, cleaning out the bottom drawer of a large lateral file cabinet. I was on my knees, saving and tossing. Among the records were old proposals for professional services: CPA’s, attorneys, architects, construction contractors. I found a spiral-bound proposal from Brian’s firm.

I was eighteen months into my relationship with Brian when I picked this up and

started reading Brian’s bio with all his impressive professional qualifications and then his affiliations and finally his personal information…

Mr. Willoughby is married with four children…

My brow furrowed.

Yes, it definitely said four children.

But Brian told me he had two children.

I left the floor for my desk and dialed Brian’s work number. After his happy greeting, I casually asked, “How many children do you have?”


Just tell my how many children you have.”


Are you sure?”

Who told you I have more?”

I’m looking at an old proposal. Mr. Willoughby is married with four children. You might want to fix that typo.”

We hung up and I went back to my sorting.

About ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was Brian. ‘Fessing up to four kids. And apologizing for omitting the other two. But, rather than being incensed by his lie, I was flattered.

There is something endearing about a powerful man with vulnerabilities, especially if one of them is you. As Brian put it, he was afraid I wouldn’t be interested in him if I knew all his baggage. I was a single, unencumbered woman with the 4 C’s—career, condo, credit, cash. And I was easy on the eyes. I had choices. His lie made sense. I understood. I forgave.

But the really crazy thing about that discovery? Until Brian confessed, I actually believed it was a typo.

My Review:

A School of Daughters is my first glimpse into author Kate Rene' MacKenzie's writing. I must say that she has done an excellent job with A School of Daughters. I love that title as it fits the story so well. It is perfect for Kate Willoughby’s story.

Kate has been married to the same man for the last twenty-two years and has loved every minute of it. Kate fell madly in love with her husband Brian from the very beginning. I think she loved him more and more every day of their marriage.

Then one day Kate finds a love letter written to Brain from another woman. Kate is devastated. Kate thinks that Brain is innocent. She doesn’t believe that her husband would ever cheat on her. Right then and there Kate sets out to prove her husband innocent.

A School of Daughters is Kate’s story. Kate gives us insight into how she feels about her husband and her investigation into proving him innocent. A School of Daughters will pull you down into Kate’s world page after page. She will keep you in suspense from page one to the last.

I don’t think that A School of Daughters is only about Kate. No, I think a school of daughters is about all women in more ways than one. Kate is just a representation of all women in ways. Well, maybe not all but a lot.

A School of Daughters will pull so many different emotions out of you. Yeah, lots of different emotions. It will make you think about things you never thought about before.

I liked all the references between men and women although I didn’t totally agree with all of them. But that it is ok to disagree it doesn’t mean any one of them is wrong or right.

I will have to admit that I enjoyed reading A School of Daughters more than I thought I would when I began the story. As I sit here writing my review the feeling that is going through me is a soft warm kind of feeling. Like a calming essence of sorts.

I know Kate experienced a heartbreaking dilemma and that shouldn’t make you feel all warm but Kate’s experience is not what is leaving me with this feeling. No, it is the writing I think.

I would recommend A School of Daughters to all fans of women’s fiction. Grab your copy of A School of Daughters today!

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.

Connect with Kate Rene’ MacKenzie


Purchase A SCHOOL OF DAUGHTERS on Amazon

Connect with Maggie McConnell

Website ~ Facebook

Purchase Spooning Daisy on Amazon 



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Maggie McConnell said...

Thank you so much for hosting/reading Daughters and the incredibly well thought out review (wow). Your review really hits on much of what I was going for and there's a lot going on. About 5 years ago, you hosted Spooning Daisy, my romcom, but I'm not sure if you read it, and the writing would've been a little different for that genre. But thank you for hosting me, Maggie and Kate, again.

Sherry said...

I love the cover and look forward to reading the book.

Stormy Vixen said...

Great excerpt, A School of Daughters sounds like a brilliant read for me and I am looking forward to reading it!

Thanks, Avid Reader, for sharing your review!

Have a terrific day!

Ally Swanson - FAB said...

Excellent review!! I really enjoyed reading your take on this intriguing book!! Thanks for sharing :)

Debbie P said...

This book sounds like a really great read.