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catsReviewed by Colleen Turner

In general I don’t read a lot of short story collections. I tend to gravitate towards long, gripping sagas and involved series that take their time with character and plot development. However I was excited by the prospect of reading David-Michael Harding’s The Cats of Savone: 8 Short Novels for Busy PeopleI’ve enjoyed Mr. Harding’s full length novels and was intrigued when I read that readers could go to Mr. Harding’s website and vote for which short story they wanted to be made into a full length novel. What a great opportunity, to get a taste of a compelling story and influence, even in a small way, the author in expanding it. I was in!

The Cats of Savone is a collection that does not fit neatly into any categories. The eight stories are a mix of so many things: historical fiction, contemporary fiction, western, coming-of age, even the paranormal fantasy genre is covered. There is a story to capture the attention of just about any reader regardless of their tastes. Each story is surprisingly well developed given the short length and each and every story has touching characters that are hard not to absorb into your heart.

For my part, being a huge fan of historical fiction, my favorite stories were Black Men in Bright Blue and Forever Beneath the Celtic. In Black Men in Bright Blue the Civil War is seen through the eyes of an intelligent, precocious and exceedingly tender hearted young Southern girl caught between what is expected of a rich young white girl of her station at this time and what she sees as the strange and brutal treatment of the slaves living on her father’s plantation. Our young heroine, Rachel, is a remarkable character and is able to follow what her heart tells her is right with bravery far above what you would expect for someone her age. It is truly heartbreaking and I would love to see this made into a full length novel. Forever Beneath the Celtic follows the crew of German submarine U-20 as they traverse the ocean depths and follow out their orders to sink enemy ships. But when the captain orders they sink the civilian passenger liner Lusitania the men will have their own internal battles between what they know to be their duty and what they can justify as necessary casualties of war.

These two stories are just the tip of the iceberg of what is offered in The Cats of Savone and I encourage readers to pick it up and see what else is on offer. I am so excited to see what story gets the most votes and is selected as the next full length novel from Mr. Harding. Any of them would make an excellent choice!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by David-Michael Harding. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.