Love comes in so many different forms and degrees. We have a certain kind of bond with our animals; and romantic love just never goes out of style.
For a “Freaky Friday” twist for canine lovers, try Elsa Watson’s DOG DAYS. Madrona is a dog crazy town in the Northwest; so much so that every year, they hold a festival honoring their treasured pooches. Jessica Sheldon is one person who doesn’t particularly love the four-legged companions, but volunteers to act as the chairperson of the event so she can boost business for her café, The Glimmerglass. One evening, Jessica crosses paths with Zoe, a woebegone white shepherd. Jessica decides to rescue the stray to boost her street cred as a dog lover. However, a flash of lightening changes everything; Jessica and Zoe switch bodies. The book is written alternately by both females, and is sure to appeal to the dog enamored reader.
FALLING FOR ELI: HOW I LOST HEART, THEN GAINED HOPE THROUGH THE LOVE OF A SINGULAR HORSE is Nancy Shulins’ story of how she dealt with the heartbreak of infertility. Shulins had a great husband, a terrific job, and wonderful friends. But after attending one too many baby showers, and receiving nothing but bad news about her fertility treatments, she became severely depressed. When a friend invited her to meet her horse, Nancy remembered her childhood dream of learning to ride. A year later, she found herself head over heels for Eli, the scrawny, rather eccentric horse she now owned. Author Shulins was the first woman special correspondent in the Associated Press; she has two Pulitzer Prize nominations, and a Clarion Award.
An entire town works to save two abandoned horses in THE RESCUE OF BELLE & SUNDANCE. The harrowing story, as told by Birgit Stutz and Lawrence Scanlan, is at times difficult to deal with, and may not be for younger or more sensitive readers. The two Canadians have included photos of the rugged terrain where the owner of the horses abandoned them on a mountain to what, at first, seemed a terrible fate. But brave villagers banded together in below zero temperatures to dig the horses out and carve a “tunnel of freedom.” The compassion shown by these people, and the strong bond the animals had with each other, go a long way to restoring faith in the idea that goodness and kindness will prevail in the end.
Romance novels never go out of fashion. In fact, as Jill Shalvis reminds us, love should last FOREVER AND A DAY. When blonde, brainy Grace finds herself needing to start over, she lands in the town of Lucky Harbor, famous for its quirky characters. Grace gets a job dog walking for Josh Scott, a harried Emergency Room doctor. Before long, Grace takes over caring for Josh’s son when the nanny fails to show up; she also starts taking care of Josh.
If you’ve been watching the new “Dallas” series, you’ll have no trouble being able to BLAME IT ON TEXAS where mischief is concerned. Christie Craig provides plenty of heat writing about two firebrands bound to set each other on fire. Zoe Adams goes from leading a quiet life to becoming obsessed with figuring out why the televised inquiry into the kidnap of a young girl has brought her own suppressed memories to the forefront of her mind. She meets a sexy PI named Tyler Lopez, and the two face both peril and their undeniable attraction to each other.
Elizabeth Hoyt has written one humdinger of a “bodice-ripper” in THIEF OF SHADOWS. Lady Isabel Beckinhall finds herself inextricably drawn to Winter Makepeace, the stoic headmaster of a foundling home. A man living a double life, when the moon rises he becomes the Ghost of St. Giles, a mysterious avenger who is rescued by Isabel when he’s wounded. When little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, the Ghost must risk everything to get to the heart of the matter, even if it means giving up the one woman he can’t live without.
Love trumps all, and we’d certainly be the poorer if we didn’t have it in our lives- and our books.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com