Books are an important avenue for learning and relaxing. Now and then, I’m going to blog about a book that has impacted me in some way and features animals as characters or are the principle focus of the book. Since yesterday was National Dog Day, I’m starting off with an entertaining contemporary romance called “A New Leash on Love."
Combining romance and animal rescue is something a person who enjoys reading doesn’t come across often, and since I’m stepping into that genre with the release of my first novel, I was intrigued to come across “A New Leash on Love.”
The book is written by Eliza Boyd, who has created and published several clean, contemporary romance books. “A New Leash on Love” is the first installment of her Animal Sanctuary Romance series. The story takes place in True Love, Arizona, where we meet Hannah Lockhart, who has come to the small town to help her cousin establish an animal sanctuary. Hannah promises to stay a few weeks and though she loves animals, she can’t wait to return to her big city life. Enter Luke Steiner, a man once burned by love so badly he lost his business. Now re-established in True Love, he tells himself, “Never again.” His eatery and his dog are his focus - until he volunteers at the animal sanctuary and works alongside Hannah. The undercurrent of the story is a wrong number text message.
The author writes a fun, oftentimes humorous, clean romance story with serious undertones of the determination - and need - for animal rescue. I enjoyed the tension and flirtation between Hannah and Luke, especially since the two characters don’t realize they are texting each other after a mix-up in a phone number given to Hannah by a member of the community. The two primary characters, when they meet in person, get off to a rocky start due to Luke’s concern for his dog’s health (which Hannah doesn’t know about at the time). Luke’s inner turmoil about his dog, Ralph, speaks volumes to me as a pet lover and pet parent; those of us who live with animals know the twisting of our hearts when our dogs, cats, and other critters are ill and we’re seeking answers to the issues. Reading this aspect of Luke’s life helps make him a likeable character, even with his other flaws (after all, no person is perfect).
That’s the other aspect of this book that I like: the characters are relatable. Hannah is in search of herself, even if she doesn’t realize that; many of us have been at that point in our lives once or twice. Her cousin wants to rescue animals and provide a sanctuary for them - who wouldn’t love a person with such compassion and kindness? And the people of True Love are caring and helpful to their neighbors - our “real world” needs more people like that. And, of course, as Luke and Hannah come to realize the text message brought them together and subsequent texts helped them to really get to know one another, the “real” Hannah and Luke, there’s a Happily Ever After, which we who read romance always want to see take place.
Boyd’s writing style is witty and entertaining. The story flows and the characters are enjoyable, including the animals she introduces us to, such as a group of goats that come to the sanctuary. Luke’s dog, Ralph, develops a friendship with a cow that is sweet and fun to read, weaving a subtle reminder that we don’t all have to be the same to enjoy each other’s company.
“A New Leash on Love” released earlier this summer. If you’re looking for a fun, clean romantic read with undertones on the importance of animal rescue and the joy of animal companionship, I encourage you to get a copy of this book. Or, if you’re simply looking for a fun read with some flirty yet clean romance and delightful animals as secondary characters, this could be the book for you. “A New Leash on Love” is available in print or via Kindle through Amazon.
Her next creation in this new field of pet rescue romance is “No Kidding in Love,” a story which again takes place in True Love, Arizona (Boyd has another series about this fictional community). “No Kidding…” is a brand-new release, available August 29 - I pre-ordered the book, and I look forward to reading the story. With a goat on the cover, I can tell this will be another fun read!
What book(s) have you read recently that’s animal-related? Why would you recommend it/them? Watch for more book reviews on my blog later in the year.