Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review: Lost Dogs & Lonely Hearts

By Becky Gulc
I stumbled across Lucy Dillon’s work when I was searching the Internet for my favourite type of book (chick lit of course) combined with one of my favourite things in the world (dogs). I don’t remember having read any chick lit where dogs formed a central component of the story before. "Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts" was swiftly moved to the top of my to read pile and I couldn’t wait to get started!

The book centres on Rachel Fielding, a cappuccino drinking Londoner in her late thirties who has not only just lost her high-flying job but also her married lover Oliver for whom she’s wasted years waiting. We first meet Rachel as she learns she has inherited her Aunt Dot’s home and rescue kennels in the countryside with Dot’s most loyal companion Gem the Border collie also thrown in for good measure. The problem? Rachel is not a countryside person. She’s definitely not a dog person. We follow Rachel as she reluctantly faces getting stuck into the day to day running of the kennels with much needed support, encouragement and cups of tea from the other staff, volunteers and the local vet George.

Rachel begins a mission to re-home all the dogs with new owners from the local community as soon as possible, so she can build a paying kennel business with a view to selling more easily in the future. It’s this mission that brings in the other central characters of the story. Zoe is a newly divorced mum of two who is battling to keep the peace for the sake of the children – her ex handing her children a lively Labrador puppy (Toffee) is a step too far for this working mum. Will Zoe hand Toffee over to the rescue kennels? Natalie and Johnny are a happily married couple in most respects but missing the one thing they want the most, a baby. Thanks to their friend Bill who adopts Lulu the poodle Natalie and Johnny soon find themselves selected as the foster family for Bertie the very amusing basset hound. Will Bertie fill the gap in their relationship?

The story is told across four different viewpoints (Rachel, Zoe, Natalie and Johnny). Whilst the characters and stories all blended together nicely I did find myself having to keep checking whose viewpoint I was reading, maybe three viewpoints would have been a little more straightforward for the reader. Nevertheless I cared about each character and even the less central characters were key in demonstrating the sense of community around the rescue kennels. The dogs stole the show though, particularly Bertie! He will invoke tears and laughter amongst any dog lover!

The pace was maybe a little slow to begin with and it was a book I could put down but I did really look forward to getting back to the book by the mid-way point. As not all of the central characters were tied in with the last scenes of the book I hope that means we’ll see more of them in Lucy’s future books. I will definitely be reading another of Lucy’s books, "Walking Back to Happiness," in the near future.

Overall I would say this is a lovely book to read, especially I imagine in the colder months snuggled up with a hot chocolate! This book will warm your heart and although I am very much a dog person I think you’d still enjoy this book if you’re not. An important word of warning about this book for any meat eaters – if you’re anything like me you will be craving bacon sandwiches for at least two weeks after finishing this book... you’ve been warned! I am going to walk my dog in the rain now, if only the cafe in this book was real!

This is Becky Gulc's first official review as a Chick Lit Central associate. We can't wait to read more of her reviews and share them with you!

(Cover art: Top left: UK. Bottom right: US.)

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Gail Allison said...

Not only am I panting (pun totally intended) to read this now, but I'm going to recommend it to my sister as well, who works at a vet clinic. I'm sure we'll both devour it.

Anonymous said...

Great review, Becky! I along with ALL my friends are dog fanatics and belong to rescue groups! I'll talk it up to everyone. Expect a spike on Amazon sales. :-) Looking forward to more reviews! cindy & sassy

Anne R. Allen said...

Lovely review. Sounds like a great book for dog lovers everywhere.