Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Who Rescued Who, by Victoria Schade

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780593098837, March 2020

Elizabeth Barnes's father, a professor of English, died six months ago, leaving a will that required that his ahses be scattered in a particular river in England. This request was a complete surprise to her and she has no real notion of what to do about it. She was also, until quite recently, very busy, as the Chief Marketing Officer of a video gaming company in San Francisco. Now, though, she's unemployed and her reputation is toast, because she was working for a company that run by a completely unethical woman she used to think of as a friend. No one even wants to interview her for a potential job.

And she gets a call from a complete stranger, who claims to be her uncle, her father's brother, and he says that she has an inheritance, some property in the little English town of Fargrove. Reluctantly, she heads off to England, to meet the uncle her father never told her about, and hopefully sell that property to give herself a cushion while trying to rebuild her life.

She's not prepared to like her English relatives, the little town of Fargrovc, a local brewery owner, or the abandoned puppy she finds.

She finds a lot of surprises in Fargrove, some of them about her father and his family, and some of them about herself. It's a whole different way of life she discovers, in  Fargrove, with at best spotty internet access, while trying to rebuild her old life, which depends on maintaining her social media presence and not letting the followers and influencers she needs forget about her.

There are points at which I wanted to give her a good shaking. Elizabeth arrives in Fargrove thinking that every sound a dog makes that isn't barking is growling, and spends weeks being terrified of Major, her aunt and uncle's herding dog, who is all too clearly trying to charm her. This is, though, an essential part of Elizabeth's education. She's honestly quite a decent and kind person, if one with habits and assumptions about the world that could only work in certain subsets of the tech industry.

James Holworthy, the brewer, Reid the beekeeper and coffee shop owner, and Harriet and Des, along with Rowan and Trudy Barnes, are well worth getting to know. Rowan, we learn, is a very successful artist, with a long career, and a collection of his own works that needs to be organized and cataloged. And I've only barely mentioned the puppy Elizabeth rescues in a rainstorm, Georgina, he is delightfully charming and manipulative, as all good puppies are.

Be patient with Elizabeth through the first part of the book, and this becomes a very rewarding story.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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