19 November 2009

Book Review: Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

Rachel is a bit horrified when she finds out that her Aunt Dot has died and left her entire estate to her. Dot's legacy is a boarding kennels in the middle of nowhere, a huge house and a lot of debts to go with it, and Rachel doesn't much fancy moving and becoming at one with the dogs and their owners. However, when she arrives, she finds the people are nice folk with hearts of gold, and that the dogs quickly grow on you as well. Rachel soon begins to make friends with George, the dishy local vet; Zoe, a single mum of 2 young boys struggling to cope with them and new puppy Toffee; Natalie and Johhny, a couple who subsitute a baby for a dog for the time-being whilst they hide a painful secret, and of course Megan who helped Dot run the whole show. Will Rachel be able to settle down and mend her lonely heart once and for all?

I read and adored Lucy's debut novel The Ballroom Class when it was released last year, and I've been really eager for her to bring a second book out! When I found it was about dogs, I was a bit unsure as I'm  not the biggest dog lover in the world, but the cover won me over with its lovely winter setting, and I think it's going to be a big seller in the run up to Christmas.  The book is published on 26th November, and it's one that will be worth the wait and is perfect for the cold winter nights.

Anyway, back to the book. It begins with a narrative by a dog, which was interesting and not at all what I had expected. Soon after though, the book begins with Rachel at the solicitor's office finding out that she's inherited the kennels from her Aunt. If I'm honest, I did find the start of the book to be a little bit slow-going and I did wonder how it was going to pan out for the rest of the book. I did of course stick with it and I'm glad I did because it definitely picks up as it gathers momentum, and by the end I was hooked once more. I do wonder if I didn't get into it at first because as I say, I don't especially love dogs and therefore the subject matter wasn't one I was too fussed about reading about, but either way, it did get better for me.

The characterisation in the book was fantastic. Rachel was a great character and I liked her very much, but for some reason I kept thinking of her as a twenty-something  rather than the 40 year old she was! She doesn't come across in that way, but it doesn't make it too problematic for me when I was reading it. However, it was the other characters in the book that I liked best. Zoe, the single mum of 2 was my favourite - her ex-husband was written so horribly you can't help by feel sorry for her and I liked her progression as the book moved forward. Natalie and Johnny were also such a likeable couple, and the storyline between them was so touching and emotional, it was so well done by Lucy and I congratulate her for tackling such a difficult storyline with real compassion for her characters. Their friend Bill was a good male character although I would have liked to have seen more from him, and the other man in the book is George the vet who I also really liked.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was how I could picture in my mind the village they lived in, the kennels, Zoe's house and all the other places mentioned in the book. Dillon has a real knack for descriptive writing - not the sort that goes on and on and ends up boring the reader a little bit, but she weaves it effortlessly through the story so you're imagining it with every word you read and it unfolds perfectly as the book progresses. I loved her descriptions of the dogs, and the little letters "written" by the dogs to prospective owners were very emotional and well done. You can tell Dillon has a passion for dogs, and this really comes across throughout the whole book.

It is a wonderful read, and definitely a nice one for the winter nights if only for that glorious cover but I still find that the  beginning really did hinder my enjoyment towards the start which was a shame. It did drag on a little bit and took a while for me to get into the characters but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed. There are a lot of complex issues wrapped up in the book which are written very emotively, and all of them relevant to society today and I enjoyed how everything felt realistic and didn't feel like it was going to be rushed to the typical happy ending. I loved the characters, and think Dillon did a great job of making the reader care not only about the humans in the book but the canine ones too :) Definitely one to pick up if you can, I really enjoyed it - it's gentle, charming and a lovely read.

Rating: 4/5


  1. sounds like a great book - will look out for it next week

  2. This is one of my favorite sites. Great job moderating. And insightful articles. Rarely does a site cause me to tell my friends about it. Happy Holidays.

  3. What a useful article! Thank you for sharing. I have 3 dogs and I always like finding interesting news about dogs.

  4. I love this book to death..not only it has a very interesting book cover BUT it has da best love story between human and a lost dog..the best! It is all about some lonely hearts found some lost dogs to be their companion..and how dogs could change their lonely hearts that eventually will lead them to true love..wow!! Unbelievable.. remarkable stories!I could never leave home without it..:)

  5. One of my absolute favourite books, loved everything about it and have also kept my copy of this book to read again in the near future!!

  6. I bought this book mainly because of the cover and the title which seemed really bittersweet. It was one of the best purchases I've ever made, and it became one of my favourite books. I am a dog lover,I do believe in second chances and the love stories from Zoe,Rachel and Natalie were very real and beautiful, I enjoyed the book very much, the way the characters lonely hearts got fixed thanks to the adoption of lost dogs is heart warming. I laughed a lot,cried,I couldnt put it down, and I really miss all of the characters and doggies.