It is authors like Emily-Jane Hills who bring into the limelight issues that affect each and every one of us on levels they can’t even begin to categorize. Being an award-winning author with books like F-Stop: A life in Pictures and The Whistling Bishop, To Be A Duke is a story that needs to be heard. Written from a dog’s perspective, To Be a Duke is a one of its kind tale that tries to look at animal cruelty and the harmful effects it has.
The book narrates an endearing narrative of a little puppy, Duke, who was separated from his mother at a very young age. Describing perfectly what it means to have lost a loved one, Duke was given up for adoption. However, as they say, not all new homes are welcoming. After going through a series of abuses at the hands of cruel owners, he finally found a home and people he fell in love with. From the moment his new owners patted him on the back and welcomed him in their warm and caring embrace, Duke knew he had found his final home. By living with these people, Duke felt loved and appreciated. They applauded him for talents he was never appreciated for before. Soon, Duke is being trained for many competitions, many of which he wins, all thanks to the support and love of his new family. During the narrative, readers are also introduced to Misty, the owner’s previous dog, who died fighting cancer at the age of 13 years.
What Emily-Jane has tried to portray through her beautifully-scripted story is that animals too, like us humans, deserve to be treated with love, kindness and compassion. Like humans, they too feel and sense the behavior around them and therefore, shouldn’t be abused under any circumstances, neither physically nor emotionally.
Written in a very conversational prose, the simplicity of the story is what makes it a truly delightful read. You may think this is not your cup of tea, but believe us, once you get stated, it will be hard to put down.
An inspirational work of fiction that deserves all the praise in the world, To Be a Duke is a heartwarming treat of congenial literature.