Elizabeth Wrenn

Around the Next Corner (US; NAL/Penguin) in the UK, under the title: Second Chance (Avon/HarperCollins/UK)

US cover. Published June 2006 by NAL/Penguin. Available at booksellers nationwide and online.

UK cover. This is the same book as AROUND THE NEXT CORNER, but coming out in UK in September 2007 from Avon/HarperCollins under the title SECOND CHANCE, with this cover. (How cute is that dog!?) "I loved it - it made me laugh and cry… If you’ve ever owned or loved a dog, you’ll adore this funny, wise novel. It’s pure pleasure." --Cathy Kelly, #1 Bestselling novelist in UK

From Chapter One:

Hairy took some sort of perverse feline pleasure in shedding his voluminous white fur into my cookware. I’d been cleaning behind the kitchen sink with an old toothbrush when I’d seen him paw the door open and slip into the spinner cabinet. In my simmering anger I didn’t think it through, and I’d gone in after him. Now my hips were stuck in the door opening, my torso wedged between the two tiers of the giant lazy Susan that held my pots and pans. My derriere was blocking most of the light but just enough found its way in for me to see Hairy’s smug Persian face staring at me from the depths. I probed with my toothbrush. He retreated farther into the dark recesses, his tail swishing with satisfaction.

Hairy loved all cabinets, but especially the spinner. He often clambered over and around the small towers of pots and pans, heaving his girth over hill and dale, sending the circle spinning as he jumped into the empty back corner. He’d then watch the pans fly by, looking like a kid at an amusement park, debating whether to hand over his ticket and actually go on the ride. But the spinner was motionless now, held in place by my shoulders. Hairy lifted a paw, gave it a single neat lick, and stared at me from the back of the cabinet.

“Hairy, get out of there!” I growled. He was just beyond my reach and he knew it. It made me crazy to find him in a cabinet, especially the spinner, since white cat hairs had a way of turning up in my stir-fry.

How did I end up here, I wondered. Not here in the cupboard, but here as the owner of a cat, much less a fat, white Persian cat. I’m a dog person.

I'd always had dogs, growing up. My family lived on a cantaloupe farm in southeastern Colorado. We grew Rocky Ford cantaloupes, among other things, and over the decades we'd had a sucession of black Labradors. Always two, always named Rocky and Fordy. My farm family did not routinely demonstrate the height of creativity.

My parents got Rocky number one before they had us. When I was three, they got Fordy. When Rocky one passed on, we got a new puppy, named him Rocky, and off we went. When Fordy died, enter Fordy two. My aging parents still have Rocky four and Fordy five. My brother Roger absconded with Fordy four. Which means there are two Fordys running around at every family reunion. Then Roger went and named his son Rocky. Don't get me started.

When Neil and I married, I got not only in-laws in the deal, but cats. Three of them, all gone now. Hairy was "Lainey's cat." Lainey's cat for whom I cleaned the litter box, and who I fed and watered, took clawing and yowling to the vet, and, every so often, to the groomer for a first-class cut and poof that cost three times as much as my own economy-class haircuts.

It wasn't that Neil disliked dogs; he loved Rocky and Fordy. When we went to the farm he was often out throwing a stick or taking them for walks down to the lake. He explained that he didn't want to own a dog because "dogs tie you down." Like a wife, two teenagers at home, a son at college, and a thriving medical practice didn't. He was also fond of saying, "The only good dog is someone else's dog."

Selected Works

Novel
"A hilarious and poignant debut novel about a mother of three who's suffering from a case of middle-aged invisibility and a soon-to-be-empty nest--and the dog who guides her out of the darkness..."
Children's Picture Book
A touching story for children on the loss of a grandparent.

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