"Love Is A Four-Legged Word" by Kandy Shepherd

Pros: Warm and funny.
Cons: Heroine’s actions aren’t always well thought through.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Tom O’Brien is an ambitious lawyer, headed towards a partnership at his firm. Unless, of course, his new client Brutus, decides to make life difficult for him. Tom has no idea how the situation will turn out, as law school never taught him how to deal with a canine client. Brutus and his new guardian, Madeleine Cartwright, are struggling to put their life back together after the death of Walter Stoddard, but their lives are shaken up even further when they find out that Walter was a multimillionaire. Suddenly Maddy and Brutus are dodging the press, greedy relatives, and a paternity suit, while Tom finds himself cast into the role of alpha-male. And yet, despite his life having been turned upside-down, he can’t help but keep noticing how cute these two are…


 

I’ve always been a sucker for animals (especially ones with unique personalities) and so I immediately fell in love with Brutus. He’s a canine food-lover, and has no problems showing what he does or doesn’t like. His immediate fancy to Tom, despite Tom’s reservations about Maddy, had me smiling as I read, and I kept smiling throughout at least the first third of the book. The dynamic between those three is such a fun and lighthearted way to watch a relationship grow, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Tom become a dog person. His reaction the first time he catches himself talking to Brutus was priceless.

The idea of a millionaire dog was a bit of a stretch in terms of plot, but I really didn’t mind because there were other sources of conflict that arose as well, such as Maddy and Tom’s desires to each have a successful career. It seems that more and more people are running into situations like this, where after establishing most of a successful single life they suddenly need to reevaluate things because of a new relationship. Because Maddy and Tom are both in line for promotions, their positions become even more precarious because a wrong decision could resonate in their professional as well as their personal lives. Neither Maddy nor Tom want to relinquish their goals, but I was happy to see them behave as adults as they came to make the decisions that were right for them.

On the other hand, a lot of the conflict stemming from Brutus’ new wealth seemed stereotypical and one-dimensional. The antagonist who has designs on the money is trying to turn Maddy’s world upside down, but is careful to stay inside of the law. Tom even remarks about the care that they are taking to do so. And yet, later on, they seem to lose that caution and start saying and doing things that could get them in serious legal trouble. At that point, they ceased to be menacing to me because it was blatantly obvious that they would be stopped. I suspect that it was supposed to look like frustration on the antagonist’s part, but to me it simply appeared to be clumsiness and impatience.

I also became frustrated a couple of times with Maddy. It has become apparent that she is in danger and should stay where she is. Despite knowing the risks, she decides that it’s still okay for her to go out. I couldn’t believe it. I lost sympathy for her and figured that she deserved the consequences. Another time, she was so angry at someone that she completely ignored what they were trying to explain to her. This probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal to me had I not gotten so aggravated with her for not taking her safety seriously.

Despite those complaints, I really did enjoy Kandy Shepherd’s Love is a Four-Legged Word. It was heartwarming and charming, combining many different elements (food, pets, and romance) into something as satisfying and delicious as a pan of Maddy’s brownies. (Make sure you read this book on a full stomach; Maddy’s food had me constantly hungry!) The dynamic between Tom, Maddy and Brutus will keep you smiling, and the warmth in this book will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.

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