Twelve Adorable Mutts Search for Their Forever Homes in Lizzie Shane’s Heartfelt New Novel [REVIEW]

English Bulldog being lazy
He might be 90 percent drool, but even a bulldog like Partridge deserves a home. (Photo courtesy Canva)

She’s a big city girl in search of her purpose. He’s a small town guy trying to make everyone else happy. When their paths collide, it is disdain at first sight. Will they be able to overcome their differences in time to save twelve innocent canines from an uncertain future? Find out in Lizzie Shane’s charming new novel.


Pine Hollow is the type of picturesque New England town that looks like it came right out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. There’s the mandatory town square complete with gazebo, delightful little shops offering up scrumptious treats, and the city building where the town’s resident curmudgeon works.

Okay, perhaps it isn’t fair to think of City Counselman Ben West in that way. After all, he isn’t exactly living the life he would have chosen for himself. But after his sister and brother-in-law died, he suddenly found himself filling their shoes on multiple fronts: on the board of the PTA, as the swing vote for the city counsel, and as the guardian of his precocious, dog-obsessed, nine-year-old niece, Astrid. But one must admit, that as he tries to wear all these different hats, he seems to have lost his smile somewhere along the way.

Ally Gilmore, however, is the type of woman who is effervescent by nature, always quick to smile, and eager to help others any way she can. In fact, that’s why she moved from New York City to help her aging grandparents run their animal shelter after her grandma injured her arm. Now that she’s in town, she has all kinds of brilliant ideas to bring the shelter into the 21st century. But her dreams are quickly dashed when she discovers that the city cut the shelter’s funding in order to meet budget. Now she has twelve dogs to find forever homes for, all in a matter of weeks, and she has no idea how she’s going to make it happen.

Before they are even properly introduced, Ben and Ally’s first meeting is the stuff nightmares are made of. And after Ally learns that Ben cut her funding, she is by no means his biggest fan. Still, he wants to make things right. After all, he really is a decent guy. But will he ever be able to make Ally believe that? Determined to mend fences and help with the impending doggy crisis, he vows to help Ally find homes for the dogs at the shelter and eventually they manage to bury the hatchet. But is there more between them than just a common goal? Only time will tell!

From the very first page of The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, I fell in love with Pine Hollow. Having lived in New England, I easily recognized the whole town, its colorful residents, and their keen interest in one another’s welfare. Shane does a stellar job capturing their innate kindness, even if it does sometimes get buried in gossip and good intentions. As a result, the entire story rings with authenticity, and reminds me so much of a place I still think of as home. I can also relate to the desire both protagonists have to find homes for shelter dogs. Having helped with this myself, I know that the struggle is real, and there’s always a silent clock ticking down when it comes to finding these furry babies a home.

Beyond that, this is also a very sweet, but layered story. Neither Ben nor Ally are perfect. They both have lots of baggage and are eager to find their place in this world, and that creates a natural chemistry between them even as it throws roadblocks in their paths to happiness. They both see themselves differently than those around them do, and it frustrates them both. But this is so real! After all, who of us aren’t our own worst enemies from time to time? Watching them learn to navigate life and find their way toward one another is a delight to watch though, and I was truly sorry to see the story end.

If you enjoy sweet, clean romances well suited for a Hallmark Channel original movie, you’re going to love this story. It is the kind of tale that makes us believe in humanity, community, and the possibilities of new beginnings.

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Lizzie Shane
Lizzie Shane


A movie junkie and book nerd, Lizzie Shane graduated from college and headed off to forge her way in the entertainment industry—an attempt that lasted about five seconds.

Following her brief jaunt into showbiz, Lizzie moved home to the Pacific Northwest, where she would continue to be fascinated by pop culture from the safety of her couch while pursuing her other great love—fiction writing.

She is a three-time finalist for RWA’s RITA® Award and author of A Royal Christmas Wish for Hallmark Publishing.

Lizzie currently lives in Alaska and can often be found on Facebook, gushing and groaning about her favorite books and the latest episodes of The Bachelor, Survivor, and So You Think You Can Dance.

To learn more, visit, like the author on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

By Lizzie Shane
368 pp. Forever. $7.99

Purchase The Twelve Dogs of Christmas direct from Jathan & Heather’s Beach Reads Book Shop or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, or Powell’s.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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