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Love Saves the Day: A Novel (ePub)

Love Saves the Day: A Novel (ePub)

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Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.

So notes Prudence,...
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Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.

So notes Prudence, the irresistible brown tabby at the center of Gwen Cooper’s tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, which is mostly told through the eyes of this curious (and occasionally cranky) feline.

When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she knows she’s found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn’t come home. From Prudence’s perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They’re carrying boxes. Before they even get to the front door, Prudence realizes that her life has changed forever.

Poignant, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny, Love Saves the Day is the story of a mother and daughter divided by the turmoil of bohemian New York, and the opinionated, irrepressible feline who will become the bridge between them. It's a novel for anyone who’s ever wondered what their cat was really thinking or fallen asleep with a purring feline nestled in their arms. Prudence, a cat like no other, is sure to steal your heart.

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What Readers Are Saying

“Prudence [is a] sassy but sensitive feline heroine.”—Time

“Unforgettably moving . . . a hard one to put down.”—Modern Cat
“If you are the Most Important Person to a cat, you will hold them much tighter by the book’s end.”—The Vancouver Sun
“Cooper brings readers a fictional tale that cat lovers will treasure.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance–Star
“Cooper’s sensitively told novel unravels a story (based on actual events) about a century-old tenement building—and the inhabitants therein. That story ultimately serves as the basis to understanding these authentic, well-drawn characters.”—Shelf Awareness

Read A Sample

There are two ways humans have of not telling the truth. The first used to be hard for me to understand because it doesn’t come with any of the usual signs of not-truth-telling. Like the time Sarah called my white paws “socks.” Look at your adorable little socks, she said. Socks are what humans wear on their feet to make them more like cats’ paws. But my paws are already padded and soft, and I can’t imagine any self-respecting cat tolerating something as silly as socks for very long.

So at first I thought Sarah was trying to trick me by saying something that wasn’t true. Like the time she took me to the Bad Place and said, Don’t worry, they’re going to make you healthy and strong. I knew from the tightness in her voice when she put me into my carrier that some betrayal was coming. And it turned out I was right. They stabbed me with sharp things there and forced me to hold still while human fingers poked into every part of my body, even my mouth.

When it was all over, the lady who did it put me back into my carrier and told Sarah, Prudence has such cute white socks! She was smiling and calm when she said it, so I knew she wasn’t trying to trick Sarah like Sarah had tried to trick me about going there in the first place. I thought maybe I should lick my paws or do something to show them that these were my real feet, not the fake feet humans put on before they go outside. I thought that maybe humans weren’t as smart as cats and wouldn’t understand such subtle distinctions unless they were pointed out.

That was when I was very young, just a kitten, really—back when I first came to live with Sarah. Now I know that humans sometimes best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up a bit before you pounce.

And later at home, looking at my reflection in Sarah’s mirror (once I realized it wasn’t some other cat who was trying to take my home away from me), I saw how the bottoms of my legs did look a bit like the socks Sarah sometimes wears.

Still, to say that they were socks and not that they looked like socks was clearly untrue.

The other way humans have of not telling the truth is when they’re trying to trick one another outright. Like when Laura visits and says, I’m sorry I haven’t been here in such a long time, Mom, I really wanted to come sooner…and it’s obvious, by the way her face turns light pink and her shoulders tense, that what she really means is she never wants to come here. And Sarah says, Oh, of course, I understand, when you can tell by the way her voice gets higher and her eyebrows scrunch up that she doesn’t understand at all.

I used to wonder where the rest of Laura’s littermates were and how come they never came over to see us. But I don’t think Laura has any littermates. Maybe humans have smaller litters than cats, or maybe something happened to the others. After all, I used to have littermates, too.

But that was a long time ago. Before I found Sarah.


It’s because of music that I adopted Sarah. This was when I was very little and had been living outside with my littermates. We were running away from some rats one day, which are the most disgusting creatures in the whole world. They have horrible long teeth and claws, and they smell bad, and if they’re not chasing you to hurt you then they’re trying to steal whatever bits of food you’ve managed to find.

Then it started to rain—a huge, terrifying thunderstorm that I was sure would drown every living thing that couldn’t find a hiding place. My littermates and I, between running from the rats and then trying to hide from the rain, got separated. I ended up tucking myself under a broken cement block in a big empty lot. I was scared to be alone for the first time in my life, and started mewing in the hope my littermates would hear me and come find me.

Instead, Sarah found me. Of course, I didn’t know she was Sarah then. I just knew she was a human—taller than most of them, with brown hair to her shoulders. She looked older than a lot of the humans who live in Lower East Side, but not really old.

Usually, I’m good at staying hidden from humans when I don’t want them to find me. Most people would walk right past my hiding places without ever seeing me. I don’t think Sarah would have seen me, either, except that she stopped in front of the lot and stared at it for a long time. She stared so long that the clouds went away and the sun came out, and that’s when she spotted my hiding place.

I thought she was just going to walk away and leave me alone. Instead, she came closer and squatted down to hold out her hand to me. But I’d never been touched by a human before and didn’t trust any of them. Plus, I couldn’t understand what she was saying because I didn’t understand human language back then. I backed up until I fell into a puddle, shivering at how cold the rainwater made my fur.

And that’s when Sarah started singing. It was the first time I’d ever heard music—almost everything I’d heard until then were ugly and scary sounds, like machines, and things shattering on the sidewalk, or humans yelling at my littermates and me when they chased us away.

Sarah’s music was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. I’d seen beautiful things before, like the plates of perfect food that people ate at outside tables in warm weather. Or the shady grass under trees in the park that humans go to, which meant my littermates and I could do nothing but hide from the humans and look with longing at how pretty the sunlight was and how cool the shade looked.

But when Sarah sang, it was the first time something was beautiful just for me. Sarah’s music was my beautiful thing, and nobody was going to chase me away from it or try to take it from me.

I couldn’t understand the words she was singing, but there were two words her song kept saying: Dear Prudence. She sang Dear Prudence right to me like it was my name. And it turns out Prudence was my name. I just didn’t know it yet.

But Sarah knew it all along. That’s how I knew I could trust her, even though she was a human. I decided then and there to adopt her, because it was clear we were supposed to be together.

Gwen donates 10% of every purchase made in her online store to organizations that rescue abused, abandoned, and disabled animals.

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