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Maria Santomasso-Hyde’s work here is broad and deep in imagination, insight and faith. Her deft use of all of those dear to her—human and otherwise—as narrators serves to provide both rich variation and single purpose to her narrative. He Gave Me Barn Cats is accessible, compelling and deeply infused with the heartbreaking and heart-lifting realities of life.

Kurt Rheinheimer, Editor in Chief, Blue Ridge Country magazine (



He Gave Me Barn Cats is an imagined memoir of many voices, but no voice so heralding as that of the author’s herself. Maria Santomasso-Hyde spins a yarn exquisitely told — a raw and truthful journey that travels from the depth of despair to the edge of salvation. He Gave Me Barn Cats is a modern folktale poised to be read by generations.

Tom Mayer, Executive Editor, Mountain Times Publications, Boone, NC (

We benefit from wise guides in our lives. Sometimes those guides are not what we expect. For Maria, her guides included barn cats. The story she finds in her own loss is warm, engaging, reassuring—and ultimately life-affirming.

Grief and loss are sad paths, but in Maria’s journey, she uses them to remind us what we have and what we treasure and how blessed we are even as our lives change.

A gracious, gentle tale of faith, told with refreshingly unexpected perspectives.

Cathy Pickens, Award Winning Author of the Southern Fried series (

The narrators draw us in to tell a complex and yet age-old story of love, loss, and learning to trust again.  Bravo!

Hope Squires, author of The Flourishing Tree (

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