Title: The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A couple’s best friend?
Stylist Jessica Champlin knows it takes more than a darling goldendoodle to save a marriage. She and her ex-husband, investigative journalist Sebastian Hess, had too many irreconcilable differences for even their beloved dog, Baxter, to heal. So they’ve agreed to joint custody, and life has settled into a prickly normalcy.
But when Baxter heroically rescues a child and the video footage goes viral, Jess and Sebastian are thrown together again, and her life takes some very unexpected twists. The line of dogwear she creates becomes wildly successful, and suddenly she’s in the spotlight with everyone watching—the press, the new guy she’s seeing, Sebastian and the past she never imagined she would face again. Soon there’s only one person by her side—and it’s the person she least expected. She’s willing to open up to a new normal…just as long as Baxter approves.
The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell is an absolutely delightful novel about an adorable dog named Baxter and his dog mom, Jessica Champlin. This sweet and light-hearted read is also a wonderful journey of self-discovery and healing for Jessica after she and Baxter unexpectedly become an overnight sensation on social media and in the press after Baxter saves a young girl’s life.
Jessica and her ex-husband Sebastian Hess adopted Baxter as a puppy in an effort to save their marriage. Although both fell madly in love with Baxter, their marriage ended in divorce and now they share joint custody of their lovable dog. After the video of Baxter’s heroic exploit goes viral, Jessica begins a wildly successful dogwear line while Baxter remains everyone’s favorite canine hero.
Since Jessica and Sebastian share custody of Baxter, they continue to see one another on a regular basis. They still have some of the same arguments that led to their divorce but when Jessica becomes involved with her new business, a lot of her animosity towards Sebastian lessens. She also begins a new romance and she is surprised by how much she enjoys her new life. But a shocking betrayal by someone close to her exposes her long hidden secrets and leads to a long overdue reconciliation with someone from her past. When another calamity strikes close to home, Jessica finds help from unexpected people in her life, but her most startling discovery is the hidden strength she finds within herself as she takes charge of a frightening situation.
The Dog Park by Laura Caldwell is an engaging novel with a charming cast of characters and a refreshingly unique storyline. While there is a bit of a romantic element, it is not a traditional romance. Instead, it focuses mainly on lead protagonist, Jessica, as she heals the wounds of her past. It is a fun, heartwarming read that I absolutely loved and highly recommend to everyone who enjoys stories with animals.