by Nancy Madison

July 2001
ISBN: Not Available
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I was excited about reading this book. Billed as a “romantic comedy”, I read the blurb and was ready for an adventure featuring dogs, a Harley-riding grannie and a Stallone-wannabe!! Well, to my disappointment, this turned out to be a classic case of an overenthusiastic blurb writer waxing poetically, but inaccurately, about the book itself.

Were there dogs? Yes. Napoleon the pekingese was important to the plot, but makes very few appearances, and the black Lab has scarcely a cameo role. Was there a Harley-riding grannie? Yes. However, she gets the bike late in the book and rides it only once! The Stallone-wannabe? Stallone doesn’t have to sweat it! Was there comedy? Weeeellll....

Jake Malone is trying to hang on to his incredibly busy professional life, while handling a crisis involving his ex-wife, their daughter and their dog. His ex-wife is about to fly off and remarry, and asks Jake to take Deb and the dog while she does so. Problem number 1. How did this woman get custody? Flighty and man-hungry, she’s everything a twelve-year-old girl shouldn’t be growing up with!! Enter Carly Anderson, dog groomer. Wearing jeans, and an old shirt, she looks about seventeen, and Jake has difficulty understanding why he’s attracted to her. Problem number 2. Jake is an idiot and a snob. Prejudging an attractive woman because of what she does for a living is inexcusable, and when Carly realizes Jake doesn’t know that she actually owns the business (along with a couple more) she maintains the fiction, out of pique. Unrealistic and basically dumb!!! And - memo to Jake - insurance sales isn't exactly the most glamorous occupation, either!

Problem number 3. Jake spends large amounts of time thinking about Carly and her suitability as a date – he even goes out with other more appropriate women, like one from his office (extra demerits for inter-office dating. Tsk Tsk!). As we all know, men spend at least 5 seconds out of every minute thinking about sex! So what’s Jake doing? Musing on Carly’s attractive butt? No – he’s wondering if a dog groomer can be a compatible companion. Now THAT made me laugh. Buy another dog, Jake!!! When they do get to share a steamy kiss and then deepen their relationship to the passionate level, it takes Jake all of two minutes the following morning to revert to idiot-hood and get himself kicked out of Carly’s door! Sigh!

This is certainly a romance, but beware the blurb, there is not as much lighthearted comedy as the write-up would like to have us believe. I was happy to see Carly and Jake resolve their problems, but next time – let’s give Napoleon a starring role. I have a feeling the Peke would make a better hero than Jake!!

Reviewed in July 2002 by Celia.

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