Author: Annie England Noblin
Publisher: William Morrow
Type of book: Arkansas, South, friendship, mystery, dogs, rescuing dogs, romance, 2000s, cooking, learning about South, slight comedy and light banter
Year it was published: 2015
Echoing the novels of Mary Alice Monroe, Allie Larkin, and Holly Robinson, this charming debut novel tells the unforgettable story of a rescue dog that helps a struggling young outsider make peace with the past.
Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!
People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.
Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.
The main characters include Addie who inherited a house from her aunt and is seeking a new beginning in life away from all she knows. She is too curious for her own good, helpful, warmhearted, and she strikes me as a little bit naive. Jasper has his own issues with his family as well as reasons as to why he is the way he is. He has a good heart when it comes to those who need a home and love, and is more of a lawyer and doesn't dive into his passions easily. Wanda is Addie's friend who is best described as bubbly, energetic, stylish, helpful and very devoted. Felix is a puppy bulldog that was rescued by Addie. He is fearful, sweet, gentle and very obedient to Addie. There are minor characters, but they weren't well developed as the main ones were.
Home is unexpected
The story is in third person narrative from Addie's point of view. What I have to say the story's strengths are the vivid descriptions of the state of Arkansas and how people live there, which I've enjoyed reading about as well as the relationship between Addie and Felix, and Addie and Jasper and Addie and Wanda. I liked that Wanda is a true friend to Addie and isn't there just to be there; some books make female friendships seem fake, but in this one the friendship felt genuine. However, some things that do need to be worked on are the minor subplots in the story, that of Wanda's son's power of predicting weather, and why Jasper is behaving the way he does.
Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.
When a book begins the story about an elderly man jumping through sprinklers in nothing but his underwear, I knew that the book would already be a gem. While I loved the mix of comedy/mystery and a very serious issue about dog-fighting, there are some things that I felt the author didn't really address: for instance, what is the reason that Jasper keeps pushing Addie away from him? I sort of suspect that the answer is towards the very end of the book, but still, I feel that the reason was not a very good excuse. I lived in Texas area for twenty years, yet I'm still European in mind-set and I still have a slight accent from my native country (and if I am upset, my accent becomes very noticiable) thus I sort of understand how Addie seems to have an amnesia of sorts when it comes to Southern food and hospitality. I also didn't appreciate the fact that the minor villain is a brunnette girl (thanks for instilling that confidence in me) I also want that some characters would have been given more of a limelight than they were in the story: namely Wanda's son and his prediction about weather. To be honest, the author failed to convince me that he is accurate in predicting weather. Other than that though, I enjoyed the relationships, getting to know the state of Arkansas and learning that bulldogs can be very good dogs.
This is for TLC Book Tours
Annie’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, September 8th: Gspotsylvania: Musings from a Spotsylvania Dog and Bird Mom
Thursday, September 10th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, September 11th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, September 15th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, September 16th: Walking With Nora
Thursday, September 17th: Books and Bindings
Monday, September 21st: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, September 22nd: Novel Escapes
Wednesday, September 23rd: Why Girls Are Weird
Thursday, September 24th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, September 24th: Dreams, Etc.
Friday, September 25th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, September 28th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Tuesday, September 29th: BookNAround
TBD: BookNAround4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)