Christmas at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples
Publishing Date: 22nd September 2016
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 260
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Buy the Book: Kindle
A perfect, feel-good romantic novel to curl up with this Christmas. A story of new beginnings, love and friendship. Perfect for the fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Diamond.
Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton. Working shifts at The Dog and Duck and running her own doggy-day-care business, Ellie’s looking for a much simpler way of life and a good old fashioned Christmas.
But Little Leyton’s landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie’s ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding, has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie’s heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life’s looking a whole lot more complicated…
Can Ellie juggle her emotions and commitments in time to celebrate Christmas?
I haven’t read any Jill Steeples’s books before so I was really happy to start “Christmas at the dog and Duck” – the synopsis sounds so promising, and the gorgeous Christmassy cover caught my eye immediately. However, it is this kind of book that in fact only ends at Christmas, and it felt everything but Christmassy to be honest, which for me personally was not a problem.
So the story follows Ellie, who’s just opened her dog – walking business, and it also centres around The Dog and Duck pub where she also works her shifts. Quickly, I started to have a feeling that I’ve read it before, there was nothing fresh or new that took me by surprise. It was a very predictable read – and the business with the dog walking was done before by Cressida McLaughlin, and dealt with in a much better way in my opinion. Also, there was one thing that bothered me incredibly and I was so short of putting the book away and never picking it up again, and it is the refugees problem. There are so many mixed emotions around this subject and I just think that a chick – lit fiction is not a place to deal with it, and I just had a feeling that the author wanted to score something with it putting it in the book. Moreover, it was mentioned, there was one or two scenes in Calais and what? And nothing. No changes done, nothing significant happened, nobody was saved so why put it in the book at all? I’m sorry if it sounds harsh or if I am offending somebody’s feeling but those are my feelings.
Each character mentioned in the book, even the most background ones, those that entered the scenes for a moment, needed a very long and very detailed introduction including how they look like, what they wear and what they do, and I was asking myself, why? Do we need it? For me it also seemed that the author didn’t really know what she wanted to write about. There are some ideas and some sub – plots and they started and then ended abruptly and a new idea was introduced to us, so we have the charity thing, then suddenly there comes the situation with the pub, then Ellie wants to give up her dog business…
There was also something in this story that annoys me personally so much – when the characters interact, I need them to really talk, to reply to each other immediately. I don’t like it when there is a page or two of inner monologue or weighing up the answers between a question asked and a reply as it really makes me to forget the question, and it was the case here. So many words – and yes, I DO know it is a book and that books consist of words, hello – but words that I could do without.
I’d really love to give this book more stars, as the writing style was really lovely, but taking into consideration that I mostly skim – read it, I just can’t. We just didn’t rub together, me and the book, however I would love to try other books by Ms Steeples.