Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Book Review: Dog Friendly

By Sara Steven

A burned-out veterinarian takes a much-needed beach vacation, where a charming surfer makes waves in her love life, and a unique foster pup renews her passion for her work.

Exhausted veterinarian Morgan Pearce is feeling overworked and under-thanked, so when two favorite clients ask her to watch their special needs senior dog in their Nantucket home, she jumps at the chance for a summer break. She hopes her time on the island will be a reset from the stress of her everyday life, but her chill vacation vibe takes a hit when she gets roped into fostering a challenging, anxious dog and helping plan the local rescue group's glittery annual fundraiser.

Her trip starts to feel more like a vacation when Morgan begins falling for Nathan Keating, an irresistible entrepreneur who thinks every problem can be solved on a surfboard. Just as the summer is shaping up to be the magical refresh she needs, thanks to a fling that feels like the beginning of something real and Hudson, the foster dog who reminds her how much she loves her job, a visit from her estranged brother and the discovery of who Nathan really is changes everything. Morgan finds herself at a crossroads, trying to determine if mistakes from the past must define the future, or if she should forgive, forget, and grab hold of a chance to finally rescue herself. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Much like the last book I read by Schade (Lost, Found and Forever, reviewed here), it doesn’t pay to judge a book by its adorable cover. Foster dog Hudson is a great addition and plays a prominent role, but the major focus is on Morgan and highlighting on the highs and lows that can come from being a veterinarian. I had no idea of the stress or how under-thanked people in that profession can feel. It was eye-opening. It made sense that Morgan feels the need to take a break by going to Nantucket, but it’s also apparent that no matter where she goes, the stressors of her life follow her, and she has to find a way to work through that. 

It was interesting how her own feelings of anxiety are mirrored within Hudson, and vice versa. The relationship between the two was nothing short of beautiful, a means in not only healing him, but in working towards healing herself, too. Nathan happens by chance, and I liked that his peaceful, relaxed nature calms Morgan, bringing her out of her shell and helping her to find herself again. So much of life for Morgan seems to be a sense of obligation–it’s hard to find joy in your profession when the people you work for don’t appreciate you. I could tell that she still feels so much passion for animals, but not for the bureaucracy that comes with it. 

I was completely blindsided by Nathan. The synopsis indicates that Morgan finds out who Nathan really is, and when that happened, I was blown away! I guess I didn’t connect those dots fast enough, but I completely understood where both characters stand and the fallout that comes from it. I kept hoping that it could be something that Morgan could “get over,” but it’s not easy to get over such traumatic hurts. 

Dog Friendly is a cute read about adorable dogs–hence the title, I imagine. But it really is so much more than that. There was deep romance and friendship, familial ties, and strong emotional experiences that delved into some really tough subjects I didn’t expect, but it made the story that much richer and expansive. It was a definite five-star read!

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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