If you have a dog, then you know how life-changing it is to get one, and how even if you don’t think you are a “dog person,” if you meet the right dog, you might just become one. My dog has been a source of many affirming and soothing snuggles during this time of covid-19 quarantine, and I don’t know what I would do without her. So I was very excited to get the opportunity to read and review this book prior to its release. Thank you so much, Berkley! And **HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY** to this book which released today!! See below for a synopsis and my review. I think you’ll want to get this book for yourself!
Where can you turn when the world turns against you? When Elizabeth Barnes’ life fell apart she never imagined that she’d be rescued by a new friend on four paws.
The plan was simple: Elizabeth would ignore the fact that she was unjustly fired from her dream job, fly across the pond to settle an unexpected inheritance in her father’s home country and quickly return to reclaim her position among the Silicon Valley elite.
But when Elizabeth stumbles upon an abandoned puppy, she’s shocked to realize that her brief trip to England might turn into an extended stay. Her strict itinerary is upended completely by the pup’s dogged devotion, and soon the loveable puppy helps her to connect with a tight-knit community of new friends on two legs and four, from the aunt and uncle she didn’t know existed, to a grumpy coffee shop owner to two very opinionated sheep. Along the way Elizabeth is confronted by long-kept family secrets, hard truths about her former life and a new romance that might lead her to question everything she knows about love. Because sometimes rescue magic happens on both ends of the leash.
**Note: I got this book as an advanced reading copy from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for sharing a fair, honest review. The opinions expressed are definitely my own!
What I liked:
- I am such a huge fan of all things British, so I loved the American-in-England theme and seeing the small English farm town through the eyes of Elizabeth. It added humor and also a real sweetness to the story, and I gobbled that up.
- The central theme of the rescue dog and how that changes Elizabeth and kind of triggers her transformation was really interesting. I love that the author, Victoria Schade, is a dog trainer (like, big-time) and her love and understanding of dogs really shines through. Because I am a dog lover also, this was a huge plus for this book.
- I thought the interactions between Elizabeth and her newly found aunt and uncle were so true to life and really got me in the feels. I loved every minute that they spent together and all the things they learn from each other.
- The romance was SO ADORABLE!
- I loved the quirky side characters. So much fun!
What didn’t work so well:
- I had a hard time feeling sympathetic toward our main character, Elizabeth, at first. She was just so, so caught up in materialistic things and image. Which I know is true to life for many people in today’s world, but it just isn’t the way that I operate and so it made me feel emotionally distant from her. However, I do think it set her up for a nice character trajectory, so that was good.
- Along those lines, I did find Elizabeth’s “transformation” throughout the book a little bit unbelievable, just because it happened so fast, and honestly, I didn’t find much of a glimmer of likeability in her in the beginning. I feel like she was portrayed at the start too simply–there wasn’t even a teeny bit of her internal monologue that hinted at the change that was about to come and that was hard for me. I would have liked to see at least *some* questioning of her materialistic and image-driven ways at the beginning, to make her transformation away from this easier to believe. (I hope this makes sense! Covid quarantine definitely has me rambling!)
- Some of the treatment of life in San Francisco and dealing with tech companies and “image” seemed so over the top. I know I am not totally familiar with that scene, so maybe it really is like that. But for me, it felt like a farce and that didn’t fit with the rest of the book, which was so emotionally genuine.
Those are all my thoughts on this one. This book had its ups and downs, but overall, I loved the character growth and the plot, and the central theme of an adorable puppy who changes a human’s life for the better is one that I can get down with anytime. It’s a heartwarming read, which is something we all need right now. So go check it out!