Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts
One of the highest compliments that you can pay an writer upon finishing her book is to search for her backlist. That is exactly what I did upon finishing Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts. Lucky readers in Great Britain have had access to this book since November 2009, but it is just now being released in the U.S. and Canada. While I don’t usually pay that much attention to book covers, I came across a discussion about the difference between the British cover and the American one, and I have to say that I love the dogs on our cover even if they don‘t quite match the story. If the title hadn’t grabbed me as a dog lover, the cover would have.
Rachel Fielding is having a extremely difficult February. She has broken off her long term affair with her boss, ensuring that she has also lost her public relations position in his company and the flat above the business. Her aunt has just died and left her an substantial estate, along with an enormous tax bill. Normally the solution would simply involve selling the estate home, but dogs were her aunt’s passion. Along with the house, Rachel inherits dog kennels and fifteen dogs in a rescue organization plus her aunt‘s own special border collie, Gem. George Fenwick, the local veterinarian, is quick with pithy comments about Rachel’s capabilities but seems to enjoy her quick riposte.
Zoe Graham has become a pushover to her ex-husband’s roughshod ways in order to strengthen her sons’ adjustment to the divorce. When he dumps a puppy on her with no warning, it pushes her over the edge. She knows that her boys are going to be heartbroken, but she can’t handle the additional responsibility and ends up at the rescue group, hoping for help in re-homing the puppy. Instead she finds a solution to her problem, a new interest, friends and maybe a new man in her life.
Johnny and Natalie Hodge are happily married and life should be perfect, but they have tried for over a year to get pregnant. A pet would be perfect to fill the void, but with Natalie working long hours as an marketing executive, she doesn’t have time. That doesn’t stop them from falling in love with Bertie, a clownish Basset hound that has a reputation for counter surfing. Can Natalie discover the right balance in her life?
I am not a consistent reader of the chick lit genre, because I got tired of the single girl looking for love in the city scenario but this book is far different from those and because of that, I have a whole litany of things that worked so well for me. From the beginning I was charmed by the plot, the characters, the dogs, the romance, the conflicts. The author seamlessly moves from one character’s story to another, bringing the storylines together with seemingly effortless grace. The family dynamics surrounding the imperfect but likable characters help create a sense of realism though not in an overwhelming way. The dilemmas that they face are the heart of the book, although each storyline has a love interest.
The intermingling of the dogs as part of the plot is what ultimately made this such a special, heartwarming read for me. Not that I am minimizing the author’s talent but the author’s love for animals is clearly shown in this book and it is the icing on the cake for me.
And while I wouldn’t say that I am an anglophile, I loved the English background, and the introduction to British slang. It provided a contrasting ambience to my life in the U.S.
There is nothing more exciting then discovering an new author, and for me British author Lucy Dillon is a great new find.