Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction Books for Dog Lovers

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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 are dog walkers, pet sitters and pet lovers in general, 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:

Alix Kelso – A Dog’s Heart

Alexandra Potter – One Good Thing

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 Heart by Alix Kelson (2021)

A Dog’s Heart is a compilation of short stories by Alix Kelso written after the passing of her dog, Maggie. On seeing it appear on my Instagram feed, I downloaded it that same day and it went straight to the top of my TBR pile.

Oh my! I was misty-eyed on the first page of the introduction, and full-on sobbing by the second. It was so moving. I lost my dog years ago but I still feel her loss, and anyone who’s owned or lost a dog will feel the emotion written here.

A selection of short stories of varying lengths and subjects follow, all about dogs obviously. I particularly loved the second story called Reading Buddies, which illustrated just how much dogs can help our own development.

The best was saved until last with A Dog’s Heart. I nearly stopped reading as it evoked such painful memories of losing my own dog, but I knew it would have a happy ending so kept going. It was absolutely beautiful and I really do believe that a rescue dog chooses its rightful owner.

Well done Alix, you have written a beautiful collection of moving stories about man’s best friend.

book cover depicting a black and white dog with the text Alix Kelso A Dogs Heart & other stories

One Good Thing by Alexandra Potter (2022)

Alexander Potter has created a wonderfully enchanting story about a group of strangers who are all coping with different types of loss. Set in a Yorkshire village, the neighbours are brought together by a rescue dog named Harry, showing how different generations have a lot to give and gain from each other.

I loved all the characters, especially Harry. It’s an easy read, although quite emotional in places. There is something that will resonate with everyone reading. One Good Thing has lots of life lessons sprinkled throughout the story with an overall ethos of kindness.

An enjoyable read indeed!

book cover titled one good thing by alexandra potter showing a person sitting on a bench with a pink umbrella and a dog standing beside them

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.
photo of a girl with pigtails with an arm around a golden retriever on the book cover for A Dog's Chance by Casey Wilson in books for dog lovers

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.

blue book cover titled The Dog Share by fiona gibson with a cartoon image of the outline of a man and woman holding a brown dog by two leads

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

book cover for lost dogs and lonely hearts by lucy dillon picturing a woman holding an umbrella walking a dog in the snow

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.

yellow book cover with simple drawing of a man and woman facing each other with a terrier dog catching a frisbee for Take a look at me now by kendra smith

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.

orange book cover with the picture of a black dog titled walks with sam by Davide W Berner for a post about books for dog lovers

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.

sky blue book cover depiticitng a woman wearing a yellow dress walking a black and white dog titled Rescue Me by Cathy Bramley

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.

The storyline you can pretty much guess, but there are lots of Christmas activities along the way – tree decorating, mugs of hot chocolate, ice skating, and family feuds, it’s all in here.  There is even a Christmas baby!

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.

book cover for wrapped up for christmas by katlyn duncan picturing a man and a woman facing a snowy house walking a golden retriever dog. Features in my post of womens fiction and chick lit books that contain dogs as characters in the story.

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? 😉

pale blue book cover titled The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain with a snowy garden scene with a bandstand and bridge going over a river for chick lit books for dog lovers

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.

A perfect festive read for dog lovers.

book cover titled just for Christmas by Emily Harvale picturing a man and woman kissing by a festive funfair and christmas tree holding two dogs, perfect Festive read for dog lovers.

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.

pale blue and white snowy Christmas background with a Labrador puppy wearing a santa hat asleep on the book cover of 12 dogs of Christmas by Melissa Hill. Perfect book for dog lovers

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.

photo of a bulldog wearing a christmas hat infront of a tree with the title a lonely dog on christmas by patrick yearly

If you love dogs as characters, you might like to head over to my tripfiction post to read my review of  Sunrise on the Coast for a story featuring Paco, a huge Newfoundland dog.

Or perhaps try some of my other feel good book recommendations.

* Heartwarming Christmas Reads

* Fabulously Festive Christmas Reads

* Heartwarming Summer Reads

And don’t forget my Doggy Dress Up post, for Halloween fancy dress.

black and white photo of a bi coloured bull terriers head and shoulders with his ears pricked up. There is blue text saying Tea and Cake for the Soul - Fiction Books for Dog Lovers
original photo by Gilberto Reyes from Pexels
I intend to add to this post as I come across more books that feature dogs as main characters but you may also like to check out:

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?

@CaseyWilsonAuth @FionaGibson
@lucy_dillon  @katlyn_duncan @KendraAuthor @PatrickYearly @DavidWBerner @CathyBramley @Heidi_Swain @emilyharvale @melissahillbks @40somethingfkup


19 thoughts on “Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction Books for Dog Lovers

  1. I’ve got a lot of these on my bookshelves. I don’t really read books with dogs as main characters, I need to start after reading this. Such a heartwarming post.

    Liked by 1 person

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