Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Wagging Tails Dogs' Home by Sarah Hope.

Boldwood Books, May 2023

Ginny ended things with her fiancĂ©, Jason, a few years ago, after catching him cheating on her. He then kicked her out of their house and moved his new girlfriend in. Ginny then moved from London to the little, seaside village of West Par, giving up her career in real estate.

At the Wagging Tails Dogs' Home, she found Flora, the owner, and a new way of life. First as a volunteer, and then as a valued employee, Ginny devotes herself to giving dogs a new start in life, and finding them new homes. She's an organizer, and very good at some of their most important fundraising activities, including organizing their biggest annual fundraiser, the Family Fun Day.

But as they are coming up on their next Family Fun Day, they realize they haven't either heard from the local reporter who normally includes the fundraiser in his weekly column, nor seen the event mentioned. Ginny heads off to the newspaper offices--and discovers that the old reporter had retired a few months ago. He's been replaced by a reporter from London, who thinks the Family Fun Day story is too minor for him.

She's determined to get him out to the dogs' home, though, and she succeeds. At first, it's not as effective as she hopes, but she doesn't give up.

Somewhere along the line, they start actually talking to each other, rather than just at each other.

It turns out, Darryl has a soft heart for dogs. Well, for the right dog.

Along the way, we get to see the workings of an independent, privately owned, small rescue for dogs. There are the two retired racing greyhounds, who can't be adopted out separately. (They've tried.) There's Ralph, the pit-type dog, who looks powerful and scary-looking, but a real sweetheart. Unfortunately, he's not likely to be adopted, and may be permanent resident dog. There's Lola, a Lab mix, taken in from the local official shelter, already full and with a large surrender of dogs coming in. There's Belle and Tiger, two small dogs dropped over the dogs' home fence, with their collars and tags still on. (I have Views on what could have happened, but it's Ms. Hope's book, and she says this was heartless owners who did this, to get rid of them without hassle. And she's the boss of her fictional world.)

Darryl starts writing about the home and the upcoming fundraiser every week, and helping out at the home. Darryl and Ginny start to, very cautiously, like each other.

But Ginny got burned bad by Jason. And in the course of this, she finds out Jason is the new editor-in-chief at the paper--Darryl's boss. 

This leads to some interesting complications. Jason wants Ginny back, or acts like he does. That Ginny used to be engaged to Jason gives Darryl entirely justified doubts, in my opinion, about Ginny's judgment and taste.

When Jason realizes that Darryl and Ginny are at least interested in each other, he's determined to break them up. Unfortunately, Ginny shares my and Jason's doubts about her judgment, and is afraid Jason might not be lying.

Can Ginny really give Darryl a chance? Will Jason, Darryl, or both men go back to London and the magazines? Will the Family Fun Day be a success?

This isn't a perfect book, but there's a lot to like here. Cute dogs. A well-run rescue. People who take the challenges and surprises thrown at them, and keep on going. And despite my criticism of her judgment, I really like Ginny, Darryl, Flora, and the other workers and volunteers at Wagging Tails Dogs' Home.

Did I mention cute dogs?

It's a fun read.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley and Rachel's Random Resources.

#blogtours #NetGalley

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