Pros: Sappy, indulgent, fun, romantic, sweet, and tear-inducing
Cons: As with most anthos—there’s bound to be a story or two you aren’t thrilled with
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group.
Tails of Love is an anthology edited by Lori Foster and Stella Cameron, of romantic stories involving animals. More specifically, couples somehow brought together by the intervention of animals. Since a couple of the books I’ve read recently have had highly arrogant, aggressive, and even abusive male leads, it was nice to have some sweet romance for a change. And if you’re looking for sweet, sappy romance, you won’t get much better than Tails of Love! I lost track of the number of times this book brought tears to my eyes.
As always when dealing with an anthology you’ll probably find one or two stories that won’t suit you. However, I was amazed at the consistent quality in this particular one. I only found, I think, one story that I didn’t particularly like.
Man’s Best Friend, Lori Foster: Erin Schuler is the last to leave work, and as luck would have it, there’s a storm raining down on top of her. Her car won’t start, and she just found a shivering, abandoned puppy alone on the road. If it was just her she’d walk the distance… but the puppy needs to get warm, dry, and fed. Erin swallows her pride and calls Gary, a man she’s loved since forever but has been trying to avoid. And he’s determined to make the most of the opportunity to win her heart… Seriously, what can I say about this one other than, “awwww! *sniff*”
A Knotty Tail, Stella Cameron: Dogs Dickens and Madeleine have just been adopted, and they want to make sure their lady keeps them—so they’re determined to behave. Just once, however, it would be nice if she’d let them stay in the house with her. Cat Clawdia is tired of her man’s moping over the woman across the street, and she’s hatched a plan to get them together. It’ll require the help of the dogs, however! This one is cute, fun, and whimsical, particularly enjoyable for the amusing interactions between cat and dogs united by a common cause.
Norah’s Arc, Kate Angell: This is one of my favorite tales of the book! A construction contractor and the keeper of a petting zoo clash over her constantly-escaping miniature goat, Houdini. As Norah tries to find ways to keep Houdini in, Houdini finds more ways to get into trouble, and Mike ends up helping her, much to his dismay—and delight. This one is hilarious, sweet, and delightful. The writing is warmly visual, easy to picture.
The Pursuit of Happiness, Dianne Castell: This one story just didn’t click for me. Jane is a Southern gal with a quirky family, and Rex is her loyal lover… and were-dog? Or is he? Normally I enjoy ambiguity, but for some reason this time it just felt too flippant. I also didn’t like being dropped in medias res into a sex scene at the start; it didn’t give me any chance to develop a feeling of sensuality before the sex started, which meant the sex was just kind of… off-putting.
There are several stories that have painful or sad aspects to them as well as the sweet and romantic, and both Ann Christopher’s Atticus Saves Lisa and Sarah McCarty’s Danny’s Dog made me cry my eyes out. The former is about a woman who’s a caregiver for her brother, the man who loves her and wants her to live for herself as well, and the monkey that finally allows her brother to have some measure of independence. The latter is about an estranged couple who lost their infant son, brought back together by a sick, rescued dog. Definitely don’t read this last one if you aren’t ready to shed some tears! (Urk, got something in my eye again there… really… *sniff*)
The rest of the stories, by Marsha James, Donna MacMeans, Patricia Sargeant, and Sue-Ellen Welfonder, are a wonderful spread of sweet, romantic, funny, endearing treats. Rescued back-alley hounds, determined tabbies, and haggis-eating dogs do their wonderful best to bring new couples together and old couples back together.
If you love animals and are in the mood for romance, please do give Tails of Love a try! I’ll be over here sniffling.