It was my absolute pleasure to receive an advance review copy of House Trained by Jackie Bouchard, published today.
Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep…with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their savings. Meanwhile, the arrival of the girls stirs up old insecurities, and Alex can’t help but worry that Barry’s ex will make an entrance too. With her tidy life a distant memory, will Alex be able to learn from her dog the true meaning of love and acceptance?
My review: this is a cleverly constructed story with careful characterization and some great plot points. Whether you’re house proud, a dog-lover, a woman who’s chosen not to have kids, or simply prefer life to run smoothly, you’ll find something here to identify with. (I myself score 3.5 out of those 4, incidentally.) I enjoyed Bouchard’s fluid writing and clear subject knowledge. And I appreciated the tactic of almost – but not quite – allowing canine character Marie to steal the show.
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