The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell

The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, chick-lit
Length: Full Length (344 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

A couple’s best friend?

Stylist Jessica Champlin knows it takes more than a darling goldendoodle to save a marriage. She and her ex-husband, investigative journalist Sebastian Hess, had too many irreconcilable differences for even their beloved dog, Baxter, to heal. So they’ve agreed to joint custody, and life has settled into a prickly normalcy.

But when Baxter heroically rescues a child and the video footage goes viral, Jess and Sebastian are thrown together again, and her life takes some very unexpected twists. The line of dogwear she creates becomes wildly successful, and suddenly she’s in the spotlight with everyone watching — the press, the new guy she’s seeing, Sebastian and the past she never imagined she would face again. Soon there’s only one person by her side — and it’s the person she least expected. She’s willing to open up to a new normal — just as long as Baxter approves.

I have a weakness for any book featuring a cute animal so I was immediately hooked on this one. The animal in question is Baxter, a goldendoodle. Baxter’s the fur baby of Jessica and Sebastian, now divorced and sharing joint custody of him.

The story is told in the first person, through Jessica’s viewpoint. She’s an interesting character and things get more interesting for her when Baxter saves a child and the video goes viral. All through the story you have a strong feeling that her relationship with Sebastian isn’t quite over, but then Gavin enters her life. He was a fun character but deep down I kept hoping that maybe, just maybe Sebastian would win the day.

The story is full of twists and turns regarding Gavin, and also Jessica’s past. I won’t give away the last half of the book but let’s just say it had me turning the pages and reading on longer than I intended just to see if this story has a happy ending.

The dialogue is natural sounding and pacing is fast so it’s actually a quick read. I wouldn’t categorize it as a romance per se, but more about couples finding second chances and moving into the second part of their lives with a new perspective type of book.

Most readers won’t have a past like Jessica’s but she dealt with lots of emotions that most of us can relate to and that’s what made this a compelling read.

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