Summary and book reviews of A Man of His Own by Susan Wilson

A Man of His Own

by Susan Wilson

A Man of His Own
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2015, 368 pages

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Book Summary

Three broken souls, and one dog: Pax. All three of them need healing. All three of them are lost. And in Susan Wilson's A Man of His Own, Pax, with his unconditional love and unwavering loyalty, may be the only one who can guide them home.

Rick Stanton was a promising professional baseball player with dreams of playing in the major leagues and starting a family with his young wife, Francesca, when World War II changed everything. Rick returns from the war with his body broken and his dreams shattered. But it was not just body and spirit he sacrificed for the war. He and Francesca volunteered their beloved dog, Pax, for the Army's K-9 Corp, not knowing if they'd ever see him again.

Keller Nicholson is the soldier who fought the war with Pax by his side, and the two have the kind of profound bond that can only be forged in war. Pax is the closest Keller has to a sense of family, and he can't bear the thought of returning him to the Stantons.  But Rick and Francesca refuse to give him up. Instead, an arrangement is made: Keller will work as Rick's live-in aide. And thus an unlikely family is formed, with steadfast Pax at the center. As they try to build a new life out of the ashes, Keller and Francesca struggle to ignore their growing attraction to each other, and Rick, believing that he can no longer give Francesca what she needs and wants, quietly plans a way out.

All three of them need healing. All three of them are lost. Pax, with his unconditional love and unwavering loyalty, may be the only one who can guide them home.

Chapter One

The men's room stinks so badly that Rick walks past it and out the open back door of the tavern. He's in an alley, a brick wall conveniently placed, so that he conducts his business in privacy. Today was the last day of play for the Waterbury Comets, and Frederick "Rick" Stanton has just spilled his good news to his teammates. Despite the C-league Comets' losing season, he's pitched well, and in the spring he'll report to the minor-league AA team, the Hartford Bees. It was surprisingly hard to say, and he was a little embarrassed to have gotten choked up, especially when they all raised their beer mugs and toasted his good luck.

He's finally going to be able to say good-bye to cobbled-together amateur teams, and all his years of hard work, from sand lot to high school to playing in college, have paid off. Sacrificing steady employment in a respectable profession like his father's, banking or accounting, in favor of menial jobs he has no ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

A Man of His Own is a story of love - rebuilding and renewing past love, finding love, unrequited love, and, of course, unconditional love. And it is a story of healing and the incredible role Pax plays in that... There are dog books and then there are dog books and this is one that soars to the top of my list.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews

Booklist

With her latest novel, Wilson (The Dog Who Danced, 2012) offers up a sort of War Horse for dog lovers.

Kirkus Reviews

In a chronological narrative arc that drifts a bit internally, Wilson's point of view jumps from Francesca, to Rick, to Keller, to Pax and sometimes to the third person, but it's not so overdone as to be off-putting. A Nicholas Sparks–ian romantic drama, with an 'everyone loves a dog' twist.

Reader Reviews

Debra P. (Belmont, NC)

Dog love and ptsd.
When I finally had the chance to start this book, I couldn't put it down. Granted, I am a HUGE dog lover and was immediately grabbed by the main character, Pax. However, I was immediately transported on a journey of love, devotion, loyalty, ...   Read More

Diana W. (Shelbyville, TN)

A Dog's Men (and a Woman)
I found it difficult to finish this book--not because it isn't a good read, but because it is so well done that I sometimes had to put it aside for a while to let my emotions settle down. Anyone who has had a special dog, or any doglover for that ...   Read More

Pepper E. (Lawrenceville, NJ)

Wonderful!
I heartily recommend this book to all dog lovers. This is a heartwarming story of a dog with two masters and some very powerful human forces with which to contend. Pax left his home to fight in the war, only to return to his family with his soldier, ...   Read More

Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI)

The perfect fall read
Stunning in its simplicity and grace, A Man of His Own touched this reader deeply. The characters, including and most importantly, Pax, felt authentic and the subject is one that is particularly timely. Wilson has written a book that I will recommend...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Dogs for Defense

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US entered the war. The value of dogs in the military had been proven many times, particularly during WWI, as they were used by the European armies as sentries, message-carriers and fox-hole clearers (of rats before the soldiers entered.). Although there were relatively few military dogs in the US at the time, the need for them was clear.

Dogs for DefenseA private citizen came to the rescue. Mrs. Alene Erlanger, a well-known, highly respected poodle breeder based in New York, created the Dogs for Defense program. The American Kennel Club supported her idea. For the most part, the public reaction was positive and people were eager to send their dogs to be a part of the war effort. Even Hollywood got ...

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