Gone To The Dogs
I have to admit, I chose Gone To The Dogs because the premise sounded so ridiculous that at least I would have plenty to write about, even if it were only to complain. But what I actually found was a rather pleasant book with likable characters and amusing side commentary by none other than a dog.
Gone To The Dogs is the third in a series of contemporary paranormal romances starring Piggy the Corgi. Just as in the earlier stories, it’s up to Piggy to save her owner from mishap. For those of you who have not read any of her past adventures, Piggy was once Lydia Keane, a self-centered, greedy, and all-round bad girl who was murdered and reincarnated as a Welsh Corgi in order to make up for her past indiscretions. And so the once beautiful bombshell with long legs became a short-legged dog appropriately named Piggy.
In this latest installment, Piggy moves in with her new owner, a freelance writer named Nell Jordan. Nell is kind and compassionate; she lives in a tiny trailer and cares little for the material side of life. In other words, she is the complete opposite of Piggy. Nell not only keeps her doggie on a strict diet, but to make matters worse she also makes Piggy visit sick patients as a therapy dog. Although the human side of Piggy grits her teeth in annoyance over the work and the constant barrage of comments about her odd dog looks, her Corgi side loves the attention and has an intense desire to comfort those in need.
When a patient dies and leaves Piggy millions of dollars, she thinks she’ll be able to go back to her old life and love of the luxurious, well, as much as she can in the body of a dog. Unfortunately, good-girl Nell doesn’t seem to understand the perks of having millions of dollars and living a life of luxury. In fact, she hardly buys anything at all for herself or Piggy. Then, in pops hunky Dan, a freelance photographer. Although Nell seems to immediately fall for the guy, Piggy smells something fishy. After all, the man cannot be after Nell because he likes her; he must be coming around because he knows about the money. Piggy immediately determines he’s up to no good, and that she must protect her money and Nell from falling for the man. But Piggy does not necessarily need to protect Nell, for both Nell and Dan have secrets and other people in their lives who just may tear their budding attraction apart.
There are actually quite a few intertwined stories here. First is that of Nell and Dan. Second is Piggy’s amusing version, and third is a storyline about Dan’s mother rekindling a relationship with an old flame. Carmichael goes into intimate detail about Dan’s relationship with Nell and his mother’s relationship with her old flame. For some reason, reading about Dan’s romantic escapades and then his mother’s seemed wrong and a bit creepy, almost as if the reader is reading about her/his own parent’s sexual relationship, and no one wants that. Dan’s secret is revealed quite early in the book, and because of this secret, he thinks badly of Nell, even though in his heart he knows better. The secrets that Dan and Nell keep from each other go on and on throughout the book. These misunderstandings drag out the narrative.
Considering these two problems, the book is quite good. It’s not something you’ll stay up all night to finish, but it is amusing and enjoyable, for a number of reasons, among them Nell, who was a nice person without being annoying or cloying. She is so nice that we automatically know that her secret cannot be too terrible, even though Dan seems to think so. And Piggy provides a wonderfully comical point of view. Carmichael does a wonderful job of balancing the two different points of view; the third person and Piggy’s first person account. The scenes in which Piggy tries to sabotage Dan and Nell’s relationship are particularly humorous.
Although the book and did drag a bit in the middle, it was delightful enough to recommend it to a friend. Pet lovers, in particular, will truly appreciate Piggy. Although the book didn’t send me to the bookstore to buy the previous two in the series, it did make me smile, and more importantly, it made me want to run over and give my dog a hug, and maybe a treat or two.