Are you looking for a sweet romance with endearing characters and the opportunity to laugh in sympathy as two lovely women navigate the clumsy beginnings of a relationship? L. T. Smith’s Puppy Love (Ylva, 2013) will fit the bill. You will likely be drawn to this story when you learn of the author’s commitment to donate all her royalties to Dogs Trust in the UK and her publisher’s commitment to do likewise with their profits in Europe. How can you resist?
Puppy Love is described on Amazon as follows:
Ellie Anderson has given up on love. Her philosophy is “Why let someone in when all they do is leave?” So instead, she fills her life with work and dodges her sister’s matchmaking. Then she meets Charlie—a gorgeous, brown-eyed Border Terrier. Charlie is in need of love and a home, prompting Ellie to open the doors to feeling once again. However, she isn’t the only one who is falling for the pup’s charms. Emily Carson is her rival for Charlie’s affection, thus starting what can only be classed as a working relationship. By allowing herself to love Charlie, can Ellie open her heart to anyone else?
Ellie has experienced abandonment and her response is to be especially cautious about entering into relationships – until she is introduced to Charlie. Her reaction to this ward of the local dog pound is coloured by her loss and continued grieving of Toby. From the age of 13, Toby provided her with unwavering support through parental rejection and the consistency she needed as she began a life ill prepared for. Her initial meeting of Emily is hilarious and perhaps a little overdone, but it retains enough realism that I cringed in sympathy as they try to regain their footing. Ellie vacillates from total fascination with Emily to avoidance as her internal doubts and misunderstandings create bumps in the road. It is not only Ellie who misreads signs, finds difficulty in communicating her interest and in maintaining pace. Emily is also intrigued, but needs to protect her heart as she tries to investigate this electric attraction. There are not too many secondary characters but they are relatable and fit into the setting quite believably. Abbie is determined to ensure Ellie experiences love and while you might identify with the latter’s frustration at her sister’s meddling efforts, you could also join me in cheering Abigail on.
When reading, I seldom laugh out loud or cry. This story had me giggling and covering my mouth in glee, then tearing up in empathy over the very believable descriptions of Ellie’s responses to grief. Neither are overblown and the internal processing Ellie does as she works through her attraction to Emily is very well written. Some reviewers have expressed frustration at the vacillation described. I found it very plausible and absolutely loved the descriptive self-dialogue Ellie has – even seeing myself in much of it. While the plot is relatively straight forward, the characters are very strong, the love scenes potent and the pace pleasing.
After See Right Through Me, this is the second of L. T. Smith’s stories I have enjoyed. When The Clock Strikes Thirteen is downloaded, a reward awaiting me as soon as I submit this review. I am eagerly anticipating Hearts and Flowers Border that will be released in 2014 by Ylva and would encourage you to pick up any of Ms. Smith’s titles currently available.
You can download a sample or purchase Puppy Love by clicking here.