Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon
|Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A tale of love, loss, and luscious Labradors, this is a delightful story sure to warm the heart of even the most devout non-dog person.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: November 2009|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
Lucy Dillon's previous novel, The Ballroom Class, featured three couples whose individual stories end up muddled when they start the same dancing lessons. In Lost dogs and Lonely Hearts we have three very different families whose lives end up intertwined when they suddenly become involved with the local rescue kennels. Sound familiar? While the premise for the two is similar, the stories share only one common theme: they're both great reads.
Rachel is a Londoner whose love and work lives are falling apart, so the call to move out to the country and sort out her late aunt's estate could not come at a better time. The only problem is, she's been left a massive house and kennels, and she is not a dog person. Not in the slightest. Zoe and sons Spencer and Leo acquire a surprise puppy as a guilt gift courtesy of her ex-husband / the boys' absent father. Will it fall on her to be the mean mummy who tells the youngsters that tearaway Toffee can't stay? And while Natalie and Johnny fall in love with their four-legged foster friend, can he fill the gap of the baby that seems unwilling to come along?
Unusually, the whole cluster of characters in the story, including a bubbly Aussie, some stuck in their ways old dears and more than one delicious local man who add to the above, in no way makes the story unreasonably complicated. Dillon has a real knack for creating mini stories within an overall arc, and pulling them together gradually in time for a nice crescendo ending.
The dogs play a big part throughout which was the only bit I was slightly wary of, not really being a fan of man's furry, four-legged friend. While I'm sure the book is technically accurate (Dillon's idea for it came from her own experience with a new puppy) it is by no means alienating for non-dog people just as a good new-mum story doesn't shut out childless readers. In fact, I thought the dogs were a great addition to what is essentially a nice bit of chick lit, adding fun and frolics to complement the usual love and lust.
This is a book about relationships, but between owner and pet as well as husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, and woman and new, unsuspecting baby-daddy. The emotions can be pretty raw at times given the subject matter (if you're dying to have a baby, how do you deal with a new friend who is suddenly pregnant and needing not to be? Can giving up a dog to a new owner be as heart-wrenching as giving up a child to the other parent?) but it's these emotions which really add a great extra layer to the story, taking it beyond fluff and into something a bit more substantial. Add in the fact that it's funny and charming, and generally entertaining, and you have a fabulous story that you won't want to put down, guaranteed to warm the heart of even the most devout non-dog person.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
Remember, a dog's not just for Christmas, people. If this book gets you all fired up about getting your own canine companion, be sure to check out the RSPCA's Complete Dog Care Manual which our reviewer describes as the 'Bible' for all things doggy. And, while in the story matchmaker Dot might have found the perfect dog for book owners, we flip that on its head and tell you our Top Ten Books For Dog Owners.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon at Amazon.com.
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