Today’s post is about book recommendations for dog lovers. It comprises of mostly women’s fiction and chick lit books that have dogs featuring heavily in the storyline, but also has a couple of other books suitable for readers of all genres, especially for the lead up to Christmas.
Those of us who love our pets know that they are such a huge part of our life, and having dogs in stories often brings a bit of added lightness and joy to our reading.
This post contains book reviews for:
Casey Wilson – A Dog’s Chance
Fiona Gibson – The Dog Share
Lucy Dillon – Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts
Kendra Smith – Take a Look at Me Now
David W Berner – Walks With Sam
Cathy Bramley – Rescue Me
Katlyn Duncan – Wrapped Up For Christmas
Heidi Swain – The Winter Garden
Emily Harvale – Just for Christmas
Melissa Hill – 12 Dogs of Christmas
Patrick Yearly – A Lonely Dog on Christmas
Chick Lit and Fiction Books for Dog Lovers
A Dog’s Chance by Casey Wilson
A Dog’s Chance is an utterly delightful read that will have you smiling and crying.
The story is told by a golden retriever called Duke, and Madison, a nurse practitioner who moved to a small American town with her teenage daughter Abbie. Abbie has some severe anxiety issues and I suspect ASD.
Duke finds himself a new home with widower Arthur and the two families’ lives become entwined. Madison becomes involved with the local community but there is a secret looming that means she will have to move on again from a place she finally feels a part of.
It is written with an almost childlike simplicity but with so much wisdom. You will learn a lot from this book.
It is certainly not the sort of book I normally read but it is heartwarming and compassionate and so full of kindness. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author clearly understands dogs and the needs of humans. The positive impact that multi-generations can bring to each other was covered in this lovely read.
I loved how they brought the memory of Aunt Rosie into the story through her recipes.
Casey Wilson has also written A Dog’s Hope about a golden retriever named Buddy.
The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson
The Dog Share is one of my favourite reads this year. This wonderful new story from Fiona Gibson is set up in the Outer Hebrides north of Scotland on the Island of Sgadansay, most well known for its wildlife and whisky distillery.
This is an interesting and heartwarming story of new beginnings, where one little abandoned dog brings several people together just because they all fall in love with him. You’ll probably fall in love with him too.
I’ve read several books by Fiona Gibson and have enjoyed them all. Her portrayal of parenting at all ages is covered with humour and accuracy, as are the relationships between dogs and humans. Great characters in a beautiful setting. I really loved this and it left me with a lovely warm feeling. I’d love to read more about these characters.
Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon
I absolutely loved this story. Yes, it had all the ingredients of a typical chick lit read – friendships, families, break ups, new romances, intrigue, empowered women with new business set-ups, etc., but it also had some extra ingredients that totally touched my heart – rescue dogs.
Having always had rescue dogs throughout my life, up until about 15 years ago, this story resonated with me. The writing was spot on with regards to the trials and tribulations of getting a new dog. From the idea of what you think you are going to get to the reality of what dog chooses you. The dog characters in this story were just as important as the humans.
It was extremely well written with believable characters and experiences. You were just rooting for Rachel and her team to succeed with the business as much as their own personal relationships.
So many of the happenings in this story were true to life that you just know the author had had a rescue dog herself. But whilst it did have me craving another dog, remembering experiences of my own dogs, it was written in such a responsible way that made you think twice. It dealt with the issues of unwanted dogs and the ideal conditions of what your life should be like in order to own a dog. At the end of the story were some tips of buying a new puppy or a rescue dog with lots of links to rescue organisations and animal welfare. Well done Lucy Dillon.
This is the first book that I have read by Lucy Dillon and it was published way back in 2009. That’s the joy of books, you are constantly finding new authors, and when you find a new “old” author you have lots of back catalogue to discover immediately.
This book would appeal to both chick lit fans or dog lovers, and if you’re a fan of both you’re going to love it. I read as a paperback but it is available on Kindle too
Take a Look at Me Now by Kendra Smith
I discovered Kendra Smith last year when I read Chance of a Lifetime which features in my tripfiction post. I enjoy the way Kendra Smith writes with such visual description.
Take a look at Me Now starts with 40 something Maddie as she begins to question everything in her life, especially after seeing her first love again at a school reunion. Her only son has flown the nest, her husband is inattentive, and she thinks she’s probably menopausal.
The story follows the caring friendship between Maddie and her elderly aunt Olive, who lives in a home and is struggling to come to terms with the onset of Alzheimer’s. It is written with humour and compassion but is actually heartbreaking at times.
Throughout the first half of the book, there is an underlying tension that something happened years ago that makes Maddie feel that she ‘has’ to stay with her husband. It is clear that neither of them is happy.
The plot then takes us off to Bali, and in contrast, the Isle of Wight, but I will leave it there so as not to reveal any more.
The story has lots of twists and turns and brings about many emotions. I wouldn’t describe it as a romance novel, although there is a love matter in it. I thoroughly enjoyed this and feel it’s more suited to an older reader like me rather than the younger women who prefer chick lit.
There is a lovely little terrier dog called Taffie who features heavily in this book. He even has his own special storyline.
Walks With Sam by David W Berner
Not from the chick lit genre but this book is a collection of thoughts and observations from a 60 year old American man as he walks his dog Sam, a poodle/golden retriever mix. He talks about the people and other dogs they meet, along with the things he notices in his community during the changing seasons.
It’s a short pleasant read that would last about 2 hours but probably best enjoyed a few “walks” at a time, maybe during breakfast, or just before bed. The thing I most took away from this book was to take the time to be mindful as you walk, you may just notice more than you thought. This might make a nice little stocking filler for a dog lover for Christmas.
Released August 2020 on Kindle, Audiobook and paperback.
Rescue Me by Cathy Bramley
Rescue Me is a free short story by Cathy Bramley that acts as a prequel to her latest novel My Kind of Happy.
It’s a moving story about the relationship between the young and the old and a loveable crossbreed dog called Scamp. It highlights perfectly the way animals can provide love, healing and companionship.
At around half hour’s reading time, it’s a perfect book for a lunchbreak of bit of time out in the afternoon. (This was first featured in my free books and Kindle reads post.
Christmas Books for Dog Lovers
Wrapped Up For Christmas by Katlyn Duncan
Wrapped Up for Christmas is the love story of Angie and Nick that takes place over the Christmas period.
Angie has returned to her family home in Connecticut after losing her boyfriend and consequently her job in San Diego. Nick is working for his father’s company running the local shopping mall. The pair run into each other in a cafe and become friends, but neither of them want a relationship.
Wrapped Up For Christmas has the added bonus of having Charlie the golden retriever as a main character and a big storyline about supporting the local homeless shelter.
A lovely read to get you into the festive spirit.
The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
This year I joined bookstagram and the one author whose name kept popping up all the time was Heidi Swain. I will hold up my hands and say that I’d never heard the name before – I know I’m ashamed! I realised that I absolutely must read her, as she was getting so many recommendations from readers with whom I shared a love of books.
I delved in with her latest The Winter Garden and was instantly hooked. Having discovered a love of gardening recently this was right up my street. The story runs from Halloween to Christmas and is about Freya and Nell, the whippet/Bedlington cross, as they move into the Wentworth estate in Norfolk. After losing her job due to the death of her former employer Eloise, Freya is taken on to become the head gardener at Prosperous Place where they are building a community Winter Garden and creating a community Winterfest.
I loved how the book emphasises the benefits of being in the open air with gardening being an ideal form of physical exercise. It tackled the mental health of both humans and dogs sympathetically and knowledgeably. And I loved the ethos of creating art from scrap and promoting creativity and arts and crafts.
The Winter Garden is full of lovely people, new friendships, and new beginnings. I loved Kate and Luke the owners of Prosperous Place, but especially loved Nell the dog, I think she was my favourite character of all.
By the way, did anyone else picture Finn as Jason Momoa or was that just me? 😉
Just for Christmas by Emily Harvale
I loved this little romance novella that was filled with snow, Christmas food and thoughtful presents. It was even more enjoyable thanks to a four legged friend called Miracle. Calling him Mischief would have been more apt. He causes all sorts of chaos but finds a loving family.
12 Dogs of Christmas by Melissa Hill
This little novella is perfect for Christmas as it is under an hour and a half’s reading time. In this story dog walker Lucy needs to try and find a home for a labradane dog called Berry after his owner has died. It’s a sweet story, and even though homing a dog for Christmas is not really promoted in the UK, every effort is taken to tackle the subject of rehoming dogs very carefully. There’s a bit of romance along the way too.
I enjoyed this.
A Lonely Dog on Christmas by Patrick Yearly
A Lonely Dog on Christmas is too sweet not to share. A lighthearted quick read portraying the festive celebrations told by the family’s bulldog. Refreshing to read of the chaos of Christmas rather than the usual picture postcard version often seen in movies and books.
Or perhaps try some of my other feel good book recommendations.
And don’t forget my Doggy Dress Up post, for Halloween fancy dress.
Sunshine at Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson
Pedigree Mum series by Fiona Gibson
The Summer of Falling in Love by Liz Davies
Marley and me by John Grogan
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A Dog’s Purpose, Journey & Promise by W.Bruce Cameron
A Dog Like Peggy by Clare Cogbill
Dog Town Series
Have you read any of these fiction books where dogs are main characters?
Do you have any recommendations of fiction or non-fiction books for dog lovers?
@lucy_dillon @katlyn_duncan @KendraAuthor @PatrickYearly @DavidWBerner @CathyBramley @Heidi_Swain @emilyharvale @melissahillbks