Pride & Puppies

Forever: Grand Central. (Pine Hollow, Bk. 4). Nov. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781538710319. pap. $15.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Shane returns to the dog-filled Vermont town of Pine Hollow (following To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before) in a friends-to-lovers romance with just a hint of Jane Austen. Dr. Charlotte Rodriguez is terrible at dating men, always picking the emotionally unavailable Mr. Darcy–wannabes who are more scowls than substance. After another nasty breakup, Charlotte vows to swear off men and give all her love to her new golden retriever puppy, Bingley. She’s completely unaware that her co-worker (and literal guy next door) George secretly pines for her but is too scared to confess his feelings. The two forge a bond over their canine companions and binge-watching reality TV, but even though they’re spending all their time together, Charlotte somehow remains clueless about George’s infatuation. The heroine is almost too naive to be believed, and the hero can’t voice his feelings for so long that one begins to wonder how these two will ever get together.
VERDICT It’s a very slow burn, but this ticks a lot of small-town romance boxes that readers love: puppies, local festivals, nice boys-next-door, and plenty of friends and family.
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