Title: Pupcakes by Annie England Noblin
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Sit! Stay! Speak! author Annie England Noblin’s novel takes one woman starting over, adds an aging pug named Teddy Roosevelt, and proves the power of a well-baked dog treat.
All she wants is a settled-down life.
What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . .
There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.
And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?
Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!
Pupcakes by Annie England Noblin is a charming novel about new beginnings and coming to terms with a painful past.
Brydie Benson was blindsided by her divorce and she is starting over in Memphis, TN where her best friend Elliot Jones lives. Brydie is struggling to let go of the future she expected to have with her ex and with a little nudging from Elliott, she finally manages to become more engaged in life. Her progress in moving on does not really begin until she moves into a house where she receives free rent in exchange for taking care of home owner Pauline Neumann’s laconic but lovable pug, Teddy Roosevelt. When she and Teddy visit the local dog park, Brydie is surprised by her interest in another dog lover, Nathan Reid. After their rather memorable first meeting, she hopes to avoid him for the foreseeable future but as luck would have, she runs into him when she goes to the nursing home where she and Teddy are visiting Pauline. When their paths continue to cross, Brydie reluctantly agrees to go on a date with him, but will her unresolved issues from her divorce derail their chance at happiness?
Brydie is a bit of a contradiction due to the vast difference in her behavior personally and professionally. In her personal life, she is an avoider who ignores problems and she runs away from confrontation instead of dealing with it head on. She and her mother have a somewhat troubled relationship which has worsened in the years since her father passed away.
In sharp contrast to her personal life, Brydie is quite confident when it comes to her chosen career as a baker. Before she and her ex divorced and sold their bakery, she had a strong work ethic and put in long hours to ensure their business thrived. Since their divorce, she has avoided anything do with baking. However, her new job renews her zeal for baking but instead of creating delicious desserts, Brydie now focuses on making dog treats.
Brydie’s relationship with Nathan moves in fits and starts as she overreacts and runs away at the slightest provocation. She is aware that she is deliberately sabotaging their slow moving romance but she finds it difficult to risk her heart again. When everything is going well between them, she and Nathan are a well-matched couple who have a surprising amount of interests in common despite their very different careers. When trouble arises, Brydie continues her frustrating pattern of running away then avoiding any contact with Nathan. While her fears are understandable, Brydie’s continual overreaction to minor difficulties becomes extremely irritating.
Brydie’s friendship with Pauline is absolutely heartwarming and the older woman remains quite feisty despite her failing health. With a wealth of experience and more than a few regrets about some areas of her life, Pauline offers sage advice to her young friend, but will Brydie be open to the her well-meaning suggestions?
Featuring an adorable pup, a thought-provoking storyline and a colorful cast of eclectic characters, Pupcakes is an uplifting journey of healing. Despite the sometimes uneven pacing of the storyline and Brydie’s tendency to self-sabotage when she feels threatened, this latest novel by Annie England Noblin is an enjoyable tale that fans of the genre are sure to love!