Shane, Lizzie. Pride and Puppies (Pine Hollow #4). Forever, 2022. pp. ISBN 978-1538710319 $15.99
This Jane Austen-themed romance centers on orthopedist Charlotte and her search for a Darcy. After a breakup, she declares she will stay single for 6 months and lavish her attention on a dog instead, and gets a golden retriever that she names Bingley. George, a physical therapist at the complex where she works, assists with many things dog-related as he has a dog, himself, and proves to be a steadfast and loyal friend, respecting her dating moratorium even though he’s had a crush on her for ages. Once they realize they have feelings, they act on them very quickly, with all juicy details left behind closed doors. When Charlotte overhears George, who is a transplant from Colorado, discussing a job offer, she panics and old demons about being simultaneously too much and not enough surface, which George, aware that he isn’t lightning for most women, begins to doubt he’s a choice and not just someone Charlotte is settling for.
Austen quotes precede each chapter, and the backstories and subplots are rich; both characters are real and honest about their flaws. Charlotte’s mother loved Austen, and she and her sisters treat Austen’s words as gospel. George also grew up with sisters and has been struggling to be away from his family and find his fit in Pine Hollow, a charming small town in Vermont. He makes friends and forms a band with seniors, who share relationship advice. The dogs steal the scenes with their antics, and puppy parenting is real and realistic (you mustn’t love dogs to read). I haven’t read the other titles in the series, but didn’t feel like I was missing any key plot points.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #Pride&Puppies from #NetGalley.