The Truth About Love and Dogs by Lilly Bartlett
Publication Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher : Notting Hill Press
Read Date : May 14th 2019
Genre : Romantic Comedy / Women’s Fiction
Pages : 332
Stars : ★★★★ /5
Four little words, uttered by her husband…
‘Oh my god,’ he gasped into her shoulder. ‘Shannon!’
There’s just one problem: her name isn’t Shannon.
Rewind six months and Scarlett and Rufus aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore so much as the honey-should-we-bother phase. Desperate to get their sparkle back, Scarlett has plotted, planned and waxed more than any woman should have to, but none of it is working. Which makes it very hard to start the family they want.
At least her business is going strong, even if her marriage isn’t. She and her best friend spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur. Scarlett/ is the fairy dogmother, training hopeless pets like compulsive eater Barkley, impulsive Romeo Murphy and bossy Biscuit. Meanwhile, her best friend walks the dogs and pines for the man who doesn’t know she exists. Thank goodness the women have each other.
If only Scarlett could work out how to get her marriage back on track. But Rufus isn’t sharing his feelings with her. He is, though, sharing with her best friend. Her best friend, Shannon.
The Truth about Love and Dogs was a lovely romcom that revolved around Scarlett, her perfect business as dog behaviourist and not so perfect married life. It was about love, friendship, companionship, couple having difficulty in conceiving and its impact on their relationship, and of course, dog and their peculiar owner.
Scarlett was a fairy dogmother for her clients who turned struggling, suffering dog owners’ life into happily ever after, but when it came to her marriage, she couldn’t figure out how to get it on the track on happy married life. She was clever, smart and lovely person. I loved the way she handled her business and clients. She was amazing with dogs. I couldn’t help but feel for her. Her emotions and thoughts were genuine and relatable. She was strong. In her situation, most of people could drown in depression. I loved how her relationship developed with Rufus, Shannon, and her clients.
Rufus was Scarlett’s husband. At first I didn’t know what to think about him. It looked like he never took things seriously. He was tired of Shannon and their efforts of being parents and he was totally ignoring Shannon’s feeling. But I could see why he felt constantly pressured how it could suck out all the love from a person if the feeling is not shared. But I didn’t appreciate his behavior after test. His development by the end of the book was good.
Shannon was dog walker, business partner, and best friend of Scarlett and childhood friend of Rufus. She was shy, awkward dresser with wild imagination. She was wonderful character and friend. She was pretty supportive and knew the right thing to say to Rufus. Initially, I thought she was being partial but I loved the way she kept her loyalty and sided with a friend who was right. I liked her in the end.
All side characters Gemma, dog owners and Scarlett’s parents were great.
Plot, setting, characters, emotions, and dogs everything was nicely balanced and executed. The writing was charming. The story was narrated alternatively from Scarlett and Shannon’s POV. Their voice was refreshing filled with humor, wit, and emotions.
When I started reading this book I didn’t know how deeply I was going to invest into character’s emotions. I thought it would be all humor, dogs, and romance, little I knew it going to have theme of infertility, couple having difficulty in conceiving and its impact on their relationship, male ego, how easy it is for man to accept the problem from women’s side but not the other way around.
From the very beginning we see the strain in Rufus and Scarlett’s relation because of difficulty in conceiving. As I read more I could see their relationship coming to end even before Rufus’s stupidity. It was bad enough they couldn’t have their dream of being parents as they planned but it was worst they were shutting other out not being able to share their feelings or make things normal between them and when they got GP results all the pent-up emotions, disappointments and pressure snapped. And things got worse to disastrous when Rufus stupidly uttered wrong word at wrong time.
I could see from blurb where it would end up and still I was curious what Shannon thought about it all. How she felt for Scarlett and what she thought about Rufus’ stupidity. And I must say she surprised me at the end.
What I loved most was dog training sessions. It was fascinating to read all little tricks Scarlett showed to dog owners, advices about the dog behaviors, how it is so closely related to their owner’s behavior, and how to train them in right direction. Max and his Irish Setter Murphy, Barkley- yellow Labrador and his owner Charlie, Margaret and her Spaniel Biscuit. All owners and dogs were wonderful, I loved to read their life story and their issues with their dogs and how they worked hard to make their relationship even stronger. I specially loved development in Margret and her dog.
Another most favorite thing about the book was emotions. I could feel Scarlett at all the stage- her agitation when she failed to conceive, her relief on receiving GP results, betrayal when she thought there’s no more pressure between her and Rufus, agony when Rufus refused to work on other options. All Scarlett’s reactions were understandable and might be relatable to many but at the same time I really felt bad for Rufus, well, in the beginning then he started being jerk. I almost hated him.
There was a strong female friendship in this book. I loved Shannon’s proposal at the climax, her efforts to help her friends and appearance of Mr. Darcy was most surprising. I do agree with Scarlett on that matter. I loved how things worked out at the end. This is perfect book-to-screen story.
I kind of guessed there will be problem between Scarlett, Rufus and Shannon very early in the book. In fact, synopsis gave it away. I was just looking forward to Scarlett’s decision at the end.
Overall, it was fun, relatable, sweet romcom with amazing characters and happy ending. Dog lovers will definitely enjoy it.
Michele writes books packed with heart and humour, best friends and girl power. Call them beach books, summer reads, romantic comedy or chick lit… readers and reviewers call them “feel good”, “thought-provoking” and “laugh out loud”. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London with her husband. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films.
Michele also writes cosy chick lit under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, romance, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***
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