Second Chance Romance Gets a Little Help in Lizzie Shane’s ‘To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before’ [REVIEW]

Australian Shepherd
(Photo courtesy Canva)

In a small town, it’s hard to avoid people. Especially when one of those folks dumped you. But when you have an adorable dog with a mischievous streak a mile wide, these encounters are going to happen more often. Will this couple be able to bury the hatchet and give love a second chance? Find out in Lizzie Shane’s latest Pine Hollow novel, To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before.

Lizzie Shane's TO ALL THE DOGS I'VE LOVED BEFORE
Forever

What is it about pets that makes us go all gushy, say “Awww!” and then talk in baby talk to them? I like to call it “the cute factor.” I’m not sure if author Lizzie Shane would agree with me or not, but throughout her Pine Hollow series, she has introduced us to adorable canines who practically snuggle their way into our hearts. If you’re a dog person, you know how they do! The result is a series that is as heartwarming as a long cuddle with our favorite pooch.

In this third installment in the franchise, the doggie in question is a nine-month-old rescue dog, an Australian Shepherd named Dory. She’s a runner, one who bolts out of the gate anytime she gets a chance, eager to play and corral together anything she can. (If you know the breed, that’s what they do. They’re fast little balls of fluff!) She seems to have made a habit of getting out, much to her pet parent’s chagrin.

It isn’t so much that Elinor Rodriguez holds Dory’s boundless energy against her, but she would prefer not to have to run into the local lawman every chance the dog escapes, such as when Dory decides to herd cars on Main Street. You see, Elinor and Levi have a complicated history. Lifelong friends, she was the smart girl, and he was the bad boy. Over time, they even got engaged… until they weren’t. And that’s the trouble. Somehow, though, Dory seems to sense that Elinor and Levi belong together, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring the couple back together in this uplifting second chance romance.

If you’ve read Shane’s previous two novels in the series, you know that she has a real gift for writing small town feel-good romances that should practically come with their own mug of hot cocoa and mini marshmallows. In fact, you would do well to make yourself a cup before you sit down to read this heartwarming story. Yes, lots of folks write about small town America, but Shane does it right. She makes us care, and she populates the whole community with people we want to spend time with and get to know, people we want to cheer for in their pursuit of happiness. I mean, even the dogs have huge personalities!

When it comes to Elinor and Levi’s romance, she delves into their backstories enough that before you know what has happened, we as readers are invested and we simply have to see how things work out between the characters. Levi wasn’t really a bad boy, he was misunderstood. He has dyslexia. He needs therapy, because he’s just never felt worthy of love. Meanwhile, Elinor has been a caregiver for years and is trying valiantly to overcome the grief of losing a parent. So they both have work to do to learn to cope with their individual challenges. If they are ever to move back into the friend zone, and hopefully back into romantic territory, they both have got to lay all their cards on the table.

This is a story that is on the surface very sweet and “fluffy.” But at its core, it is quite layered, and the author does a great job helping her characters find their way in this mesmerizing tale. She uses humor and the aforementioned cute factor to propel the story as she explores what is going on in the hearts of these beautiful souls she introduces us to.

If you enjoy stories by authors like Debbie Macomber, RaeAnne Thayne and Debbie Mason, you definitely need to add Lizzie Shane to your list of must-read authors. She writes a wholesome story about authentic people who must overcome real problems, even if they live in an almost Norman Rockwell-esque type community. I promise (especially all you pet lovers out there), you’re going to love this book. Enjoy!

Includes the bonus novella I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Hope Ramsay.

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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 BachelorSurvivor, and So You Think You Can Dance.

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

Lizzie Shane
Lizzie Shane

TO ALL THE DOGS I’VE LOVED BEFORE
By Lizzie Shane
400 pp. Forever. $8.99

Purchase To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

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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