A novel… by NY Times bestselling author Sophy Burnham
Just announced! Love, Alba winner of 2015 INDIEFAB BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD in Romance category!
- Size : 5.25 x 8
- No. Pages : 242
- Published : 2015
- ISBN : 978-1-935914-47-1
Love! Romance! High society! Art Theft—all told by the wise and witty, little cat Alba, who has her own feline affairs. Lorna, now over 60, has just fallen horribly, head-over heels in love—with a younger man; and worse, he’s involved with her best friend, Nikki, and now Nikki, an art conservator, is caught up in international art theft, prison, and other events of everyday life in Washington, D. C. Underneath this light-hearted romp lie serious issues of aging, sexual desire, friendship, sacrifice, and glimpses into the spiritual realm for which Sophy Burnham, the visionary behind the angels phenomenon, is best known. As with her other bestsellers, just reading this inspiring book leaves you happy.
Review for Romance ForeSight magazine:
Narrated by an articulate cat, this feline examination of human behavior offers a unique perspective on relationships. Sophy Burnham’s Love, Alba is a touching reflection on life in a conversational storyteller’s style.
Alba is only one of the personified cats featured in this heartfelt novel set in Washington, DC. Without question, these sage creatures dominate the plot. Mystical, angelic, and occasionally overbearing, they contribute much more than insignificant details. The feline world depicted in Burnham’s book constitutes a subplot that is perhaps more interesting than its human counterpart.
“Late that night I moved to the moonlit window. A bat flew past, a silent blur of black, and deep in the grass came the scurrying of mice and moles. In the distance a garbage can lid fell with a clatter—the work of an urban raccoon. The city was bathed in an amber glow, and with eyes half-closed I settled into the silent cat-space that connected me with Puma across the river, communing mind to mind.”
Entwining love stories compete for prominence. Lorna’s romance with a younger man leads the novel, and it is her activities and personality that Alba finds fascinating. Hilarious commentary and imaginative asides create mood as well as atmosphere in scenes that reveal contradiction, hesitancy, and eccentricity … from a cat’s point of view, of course. Heavy on social pondering yet light on lectures, the narrative explores every pathway to potential happiness.
Sophy Burnham is an award-winning author and playwright best known for her inspirational work.
SOPHY BURNHAM, awarded “Daughter of Mark Twain,” is the author of fourteen books, award-winning plays, radio plays, children’s books, investigative reporting and short stories. She is best known for her spiritual writing, including A Book of Angels and The Treasure of Montségur. Her works are translated into twenty-six languages. An engaging speaker, she appeared on Oprah (twice), on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, and scores of other TV and radio programs. She has spoken at venues as varied as the IMF, St. Louis Art Museum, churches, conferences, bookstores and National Storytellers Association. For more information see www.sophyburnham.com
I should say a few words about Lorna. I think Lorna is a lovely name, don’t you? It has dignity, but it flickers with humor and inner happiness. It’s water running over rocks in a stream with fish. Nikki is a nice name, too, but it’s full of fence spikes and you have to be careful when you jump on them. Lorna is pretty and slender with short hair the color of moonbeams in summer. Taller than short, plump Nikki, she’s strong and fit. She had a husband once, and one little girl who died of leukemia, and another daughter, Nancy, who lives in New York with her husband and who calls her mother on the phone to complain about the tensions of her life. She also has a mother in Santa Fe, and a sister, and various friends whom she talks to on the phone. But at heart she’s not as social as Nikki. She likes to be alone sometimes, and then I think she’s purring in her own human way.
Lorna works at the Smithsonian Institution, which is a sort of College of Higher Learning, with research branches and many free museums. She works in Development, whatever that is; I only know that it’s Important and involves Bringing In Money. Right now she is totally occupied (when she’s not busy with moving house or caring for me) with the opening of the new Hall of Physics. The Vice President of the United States is scheduled to open the ceremonies, and famous physicists from around the world will give speeches at the formal dinner, all of which Lorna is helping to organize under the supervision of a difficult and irascible boss, and she is utterly distraught, as she explains to her mother, which is why she can’t possibly come visit her in Santa Fe until it’s all over.
I think Lorna had managed to unpack two boxes when we heard a faint knock at the door.
“Nikki?” She called out in delight as she turned the knob.
But it was the handsome neighbor from downstairs. He was fully dressed this time. In his teeth he clutched a paper bag that he thrust at her with a motion of his chin, both hands being occupied by white paper to-go cups of coffee. I trotted over to sniff his ankles. They smelled of tomcat.
“I’m sorry,” he said as she relieved him of the paper bag. “I’ve brought croissants and lattes. To make up for my bad manners.”
“Oh.” She was taken aback. “Oh no. I’m the one who should apologize. First, the movers didn’t even arrive to load their truck until eight o’clock last night, so we were bumping over your head at ten and eleven-thirty at night, and then this morning. . . I’m sorry I woke you up, I really am.”
“Well, I can’t go back to sleep.” He cast an eye around the room, taking in the mess. “So, I thought I’d help you settle in.”
“Oh, I couldn’t ask you—“
“No, but you didn’t, did you?” He grinned at her. He had barged fully into the apartment now. “Would you like to drink your coffee? Or shall we go right to work? What do you want to do first? The
living room? The bedroom?”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lorna fussing before. She seemed unnerved, picking up objects and putting them back down. She admitted that she didn’t drink coffee, but only tea, and it was thoughtful of him, but she already had a mug right here at hand, black English Breakfast was her favorite. I think these last were almost her only stumbling words. She couldn’t lift her eyes to David’s face, but snatched quick, furtive glances as he sipped his coffee, and, to avoid looking at him, she pushed at the boxes or stared with fascination at the floor. He leaned one shoulder on the door jamb, meanwhile, and had no trouble at all taking in Lorna, in her white tee shirt and jeans and flaming orange toenails. I realized I’d never seen her with a man before—only Jeremy, who was Nikki’s boyfriend after all, and didn’t count.
“We should take care of the bed first,” he decided, smiling down at her. “In case you want to take a nap later.” He seemed perfectly at ease.
After a while they got down to business and put the bed together, then heaved the mattress onto the slats, and Lorna found the box with sheets, which allowed them to make the bed together, and then they pushed the chest of drawers in place and straightened the rugs, and in a short time the bedroom looked quite pretty. It would take days for the pictures to rise up from the floors.
While they worked, I drifted out the door that they’d left open and padded downstairs to sniff at the door to the apartment below. A few black hairs had caught in a hinge. It took a while to examine them. Then I explored the building. It wasn’t big: in the spacious high-ceilinged entry hall a bicycle, smelling of oil and dust, leaned against the stairwell; behind the stairs a closed door led to a basement that smelled (sniffing under the door) of cold air, cobwebs, hornet’s nest, mushrooms, and a different kind of oil. David’s apartment with access to the garden took up the whole big rambling first floor, while ours occupied the floor above. Above ours, a small half-landing opened on one side to a storage attic and on the other to the balcony where I’d encountered the black cat. The balcony also belonged to us. In other words, this entire enormous stucco Victorian house counted only three floors (or four with basement and attic), which had been separated, upgraded, and converted into two respectable condos. Lorna says the housing market is really tight in Washington and prices are beyond belief. After my inspection I trotted up to the balcony and settled in a splash of sunlight to wash my ears. From below me the low rumble of voices floated up, broken by bursts of laughter or grunts and heaving of furniture. They were working hard. I lay in the sun and thought how little the 2-leggeds understand.
For instance, how rest is not idleness, and to lie in the sun on a warm spring day, listening to the rustle of the wind in the trees or watching the clouds float across the sky is by no means a waste of time.
Praise for Love, Alba
I confess, I do enjoy reading contemporary romance novels, and when the book features a cat, so much the better! Sophy Burnham’s Love, Alba will satisfy readers of both cat book and romance genres. The book has it all: love, romance, adventure, and three delightful feline characters.
Alba is a two-year-old wise cat who lives with her guardian Lorna. Lorna, who is over 60 years old, has fallen in love with her much younger neighbor David (who also happens to have a handsome man cat named Goliath.) What complicates things is that Lorna’s younger friend Nikki is also interested in David. When Nikki, an art conservator, becomes implicated in an international art theft, the story takes breathtaking twists and turns that make it hard to put this book down. The story is told from Alba’s point of view.
I enjoyed the storyline, and I absolutely loved Burnham’s writing style. Writing from a cat’s perspective is an art, and Burnham’s take on writing as a cat is believable without being saccharine. Alba is both wise and funny. Burnham’s writing is descriptive and almost lyrical at times.
This book is, at its heart, a love story, but it is also a story of friendship, aging, and about not allowing societal expectation to limit our dreams and desires. I wanted to savor this book, but also couldn’t resist turning the pages quickly to find out what happened next. This is a thoroughly satisfying read that will delight romance and cat lovers alike.
Review for The Conscious Cat website
An audacious literary achievement in the tradition of Watership Down and Timbuktu, Sophy Burnham’s Love, Alba takes a Washingtonian cat’s eye view of love, betrayal, high society, and art theft that is at once charming and deeply wise.
—C.M. Mayo, author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire
The delicious appeal of Love Alba has largely to do with the extraordinary voice of its cat-narrator. This voice grows more and more endearing with every page. Alba’s openhearted generosity toward the stumbling emotional antics of her humans leads a captivated reader on a charmed journey to the last sentence. I intended to read the first few chapters yesterday and didn’t raise my head until I was halfway through. What a writer!
—Margaret Dulaney, author of the play The Hummingbird’s Tour
Leave it to literary shape-shifter Sophy Burnham to riff on the feline novel vein of Rita Mae Brown, Don Marquis, Natsume Soseki, and Robert Michie, as told by a snarky cat with a spiritual streak. Burnham possesses a fearless acrobatic imagination, which makes for a magical ate-a-canary smile of a novel.
—Richard Peabody, editor, Gargoyle Magazine; author of Richard Peabody Reader
Love, Alba is a charming, romantic cat’s tale that will leave you purring. . . and mewing for more! I hope it’s the first in a series.
—Anne Simpkinson, former managing editor at Guideposts.com, contributor to Love Dem Cats! blog
In this comedy of manners, human foibles and feline nature combine in delightful, ingenious storytelling. Alba, the cat, is as memorably wise, funny, observant and vulnerable as any great character—yet always believably a cat. With humor and grace Burnham extends a generosity of spirit to all characters and suggests that we humans are lucky, indeed, to be looked after by these divine creatures. We don’t quite measure up, but they love us poor souls anyway.
—Maureen McCoy, author of the novel Junebug