Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: Stepdog by Nicole Galland

Sometimes plots are too far-fetched to be believable right from the get go. But we tend to love these crazy stories in movies and books. They make our own lives seem normal and also offer us a feel-good escape from that same normality. And when the unbelievable is wrapped together with a lovable dog, an overly organized museum employee, a kooky Irish actor, and a dognapper, well, that story becomes downright appealingly readable.

Rory O'Connor is an actor working part time as the visiting guest musician at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (although that's not what his visa authorizes him to do) when his boss, Sara Renault, has to let him go because of a lack of funding. Rory has a response unlike most people's. He leans across her desk and kisses Sara. This doesn't save his job but it does start a very promising relationship with the sexy Sara. And in the usual way of life, when one major thing happens, a whole cascade of things happen at the same time. Rory's Hollywood agent friend calls him just after his wonderful night with Sara to tell him about a part that is all but guaranteed to be his if can get his green card. To do this, he needs to get married. Completely impulsively and in an act that is certainly out of character for her, Sara offers to marry him. Although they've known each other for quite a while as work colleagues, their relationship is a new one and throwing a marriage, even one just for a green card, into the mix is sure to hit some road bumps. In Rory and Sara's case, the road bump is a lovable reddish dog named Cody. Sara loves Cody with her whole heart, devoting herself completely to her sweet, furry companion. Rory has a much less inclusive view of dogs. To him, they are pets, not family, and they shouldn't be the driving force behind your decisions. He likes Cody well enough but he certainly doesn't love her as he is coming to love his wife and the way that Sarah treats Cody makes him a bit mental.

Their differing ideas about caring for a dog come to a head when Rory is in fact offered the acting job, lead role in a tv series, and they need to move across the country from Boston to Los Angeles. Sara doesn't want to subject Cody to flying and plans out a careful driving itinerary instead. But when Sara has a job interview in California before the cross-country drive commences and then Cody is dognapped because of Rory, everything goes cockeyed and Rory must try and get his wife's dog back safely while learning to love Cody not just as Sara's dog but as his own.

The novel is narrated from Rory's point of view, giving a charming bit of the blarney tone to it. Rory is clearly frustrated by Sara's catering to what he considers a nice dog, but just a dog, and that comes through clearly, as does his giddiness and pure delight in this relationship and over this woman he's married. Sara is very much a stereotypical American dog lover although she is, at times, a little over the top (and this comes from a woman whose dog has always shared her bed). The first third of the book develops Rory and Sara's relationship and Rory and Cody's as well. The second and third sections focus on the dognapping and the crazy, madcap happenings along the way to fulfilling Rory's promise to Sara to get her dog back to her. Once in the second and third sections, the narrative takes off on a mad gallop until the reader comes to the resolution panting and breathless. There are bits that are easily predictable and a few occurrences that are over and above the unbelievable level of the rest of the tale but over all, this is a cute, offbeat, and funny story that will appeal to animal lovers in general and dog lovers in particular for sure.

For more information about Nicole Galland and the book, check out her website, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter. Takes a look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a really fun read with some crazy goings-on - right up my alley!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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