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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Rags-to-Riches Romance Far-fetched, But Fun

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  I realized only after finishing In Dog We Trust that it is the fifth book in a series.  While the installments do not appear to need to be read in order, characters from earlier books do make cameo appearances in the newer ones.  In order to remain completely free from all possible spoilers, you may want to read the series in order. 

Jocelyn Hillier's mother always told her never to get personally involved with the summer people who flock to Black Dog Bay, Delaware, every summer.  Doing their laundry in order to pay your bills is one thing; canoodling with a tourist is quite another.  In the 27 years she's been alive and living in the resort town, Jocelyn has always obeyed her mother's rule.  Then, a chance meeting puts her in the middle of a squabble between two of them.  Before she knows it, Jocelyn is working as a dog walker for one Richie Rich and dating another.  

When Jocelyn's cantankerous boss dies unexpectedly, leaving his vast wealth to his three prize Labs, and naming Jocelyn as their legal guardian, she's stunned.  As the dogs' primary caregiver, she's suddenly living in the lap of luxury with access to millions of dollars.  Of course, some people—including her boss's estranged son, Liam Sheridan—are angered by Mr. Allardyce's ridiculous dying wishes and will do whatever it takes to get the money to which they believe they are entitled.  While persistent Liam starts out as a thorn in Jocelyn's side, it's not long before she's feeling a deep, unsettling attraction to the enemy.  Even as he schemes to take away every penny his father bequeathed to his pups and their spirited guardian, who isn't about to take Liam's duplicity lying down ...

I didn't realize until after I'd finished In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick that it is the fifth installment in a series.  The setting of the romantic comedy seemed familiar, which makes sense since apparently I read—and really enjoyed—the second book in the series, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, back in 2015.  Although In Dog We Trust is lighthearted and funny, I didn't end up liking it as much as I did its predecessor.  The situation in which Jocelyn finds herself just seems far-fetched, her antics silly and immature.  Because our heroine has no real story goal, the novel's plot seems episodic and meandering, with no real focus.  I get that it's a rom-com that's supposed to be light and diverting, but still, I would have appreciated a little substance from In Dog We Trust.  In the end, I enjoyed this cute romance enough to finish it, but I can't say I loved it.  It turned into just an okay read for me.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Black Dog Bay series by Beth Kendrick.  Also reminds me of On the Same Page by N.D. Galland and a bit of other small town romances by Robyn Carr and RaeAnne Thayne)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs) and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of In Dog We Trust from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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