December 2015, Peak Wave Publishing, 236 pages, Ebook, Review copy
Summary from Peak Wave Publishing
Discover how a series of seemingly fantastical events, and a band of even more extraordinary creatures, including a blue whale named Rage, a Prince, a vengeance filled tiger named Zebu, her best friend Higgins, and pit bull, Brutus, help propel Hailee through an unforgettable life adventure, from the pits of utter despair, to a glorious future of power and admiration.
Most regarded her life as hopeless, but for Hailee, her life meant so much more. Where others saw tragedy, she saw hope. Even when she was held in captivity by the evil Miss Finch, her life was a journey meant to be explored.
Make sure you have a tissue for the wonderful happy ever after ending, and also for the first part of the book where the cruelty that Hailee endures is horrifying. She endures humiliation and much more for a long time, yet thanks to an other worldly visitor she finds the strength to keep living and never stops looking for a way to escape. Her circumstances go from bad to worse, but in each new situation she makes a friend, either animal or human who help her in their own way. Her affinity to animals is almost magical, and made me grin every time it was in action. Most humans Hailee meets are horrid to her, but the animals communicate with her and she makes each of their lives a bit better - the gorilla, the tiger, the dog and the whale- I'm excluding the bear because it is just a menace.
She suffers from being mute, not being able to explain herself, but I honestly don't think anyone would have listened if she could speak at the beginning, a voice may have made her more of a sick attraction at the zoo because of her disfigured appearance. I loved every single time that life gets better for her, and held my breath every time it got worse. There are heaps of plot twists and I couldn't guess anything, other than hope the ending would be good (it was brilliant!)
The story feels like it has elements of a few fairytales including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, The Ugly Duckling, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Whether or not that's intentional I don't know, but it's what it felt like to me, and I liked it! I initially 'read' this book using text to speech function, which had me captivated while I did crochet. I then finished reading it normally which was fun. Keep going through the moments of despair when Hailee uses all her wits to escape that part of her life, and I promise it gets better for her! I hope there's a sequel coming...
Find out more on Walter's website.