Title: You Lucky Dog
Author: Julia London
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Date of Publication: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Berkley Romance
An accidental dog swap unleashes an unexpected love match in this new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Julia London.
Carly Kennedy’s life is in a spiral. She is drowning in work, her divorced parents are going through their midlife crises, and somehow Carly’s sister convinces her to foster Baxter–a basset hound rescue with a bad case of the blues. When Carly comes home late from work one day to discover that the dog walker has accidentally switched out Baxter for another perkier, friendlier basset hound, she has reached the end of her leash.
When Max Sheffington finds a depressed male basset hound in place of his cheerful Hazel, he is bewildered. But when cute, fiery Carly arrives on his doorstep, he is intrigued. He was expecting the dog walker, not a pretty woman with firm ideas about dog discipline. And Carly was not expecting a handsome, bespectacled man to be feeding her dog mac and cheese. Baxter is besotted with Hazel, and Carly realizes she may have found the key to her puppy’s happiness. For his sake, she starts to spend more time with Hazel and Max, until she begins to understand the appeal of falling for your polar opposite.
This is a sweet romance with some laugh-out loud funny moments. Carly is a publicist for a fashion designer, and she has to wear his outfits as a part of her promotion–outfits that get her into some truly hilarious trouble when she has to do, well, anything.
The theme of dogs carries throughout the story, and it is a definite strength of the novel. Max and Carly are brought together because of their nearly identical dogs, who are seemingly smitten with one another. Max’s research at the university deals with the neuroscience of the brain and he uses dogs in his research. His younger brother has autism, and he loves dogs.
This book also has strong family themes, as both Carly and Max have complicated personal lives. Max’s love for his younger brother makes him a sweet and caring character, despite the fact that he may come across as aloof and overly “scientist-y” to others.
While the tone of the novel itself is sweet, it has a bit of a gloomy feel to it. It’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s because of their personal lives, but I felt quite sad while reading it, even during the funny bits. Both Max and Carly are under a lot of pressure–Carly with losing her job, her parent’s divorce, the ever-increasing rent of her home, and Max with going up for tenure against the department’s star researcher. The one highlight in their lives seems to be each other, and of course, their relationship isn’t easy. There’s a major twist about halfway through the book that really puts a wrench in what they have found together, and while it seemed like it was intended to be funny, it did fall flat to me a little.
I recommend this book to lovers of romance novels that have a strong dog-lovers theme.
*Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for the arc to review*
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