The Marvelous Misfits of Westminster by Andrea Hahnfeld encompasses the expression “expect the unexpected” in a nutshell. There aren’t many short stories that combine a dog show and a broken marriage with a second-chance grasp at a dream career, all while throwing in a side plot of mystery and suspense – not to mention, it’s got a target audience for all ages.
It’s been five years since protagonist Clement entered the Westminister Dog Show. A gentle character with a big heart and comforting energy, he never expected to be a judge again. However, one thing is clear – something’s brewing. After an unusual decision during the Best of Group event, one way too unacceptable to simply bypass, the board is upset, and it’s Clement’s job to set things straight. In a sticky scenario, the judge who has made the decision is Edith, Clement’s ex-wife. All too soon, the reasoning for Edith’s outrageous judgment comes to light in the form of Irving, who’s the size of a Shetland pony, matted and dirty, from a rare line of hero dogs. The issue: Irving’s dying. He’s also the key to saving Edith’s life from the shadow, a being that stole Edith and Clement’s child in the night and is now set to return at any moment. To accomplish this, Irving must breed with Salvatora – a notorious prize-winning show dog – who comes from a long line of survivors. The connection between Salvatora and Irving is vital, their offspring will save many lives, and Clement is destined to bring about their connection.
Many will connect with and enjoy following Clement’s character throughout the story. I loved that the story was told from Clement’s perspective because I could understand his motives and thoughts. The vivid details immerse the reader into the story, and I feel like I was alongside Clement at the dog show. This unique plot is different but captivating, and I found it hard to put it down because I wanted to know more. The author’s writing is imaginative, making this a read unlike any other.
Overall The Marvelous Misfits of Westminster is a well-written and original mystery with an unanticipated collision of themes and genres. I highly recommend this brilliant story with a well-paced plotline and strategic depth embossed into each character, to everyone, especially dog lovers.
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