Sunday, August 22, 2010

THE DOGFATHER, by Susan Conant

The Dogfather is subtitled, "A Dog Lover's Mystery," and indeed it is. Emphasis more on "dog lovers" than mystery, at least in the case of The Dogfather.
This story was fun to read, as are all of her books. Conant writes with humor and special insight into the life of a dog owner. In The Dogfather, protagonist Holly Winter has received an offer she can't refuse: help a Mafia boss train his new Elkhound puppy.
Before long, Holly finds herself in the middle of a family vendetta between two rival mob bosses. Mixed in with the likable owner of the puppy are parodies of mob stereotypes, and a potential romance with an old boyfriend.
Holly's own dogs of choice are Alaskan malamutes, Rowdy and Kimi. Since I'm a dog person, the scenes with the pups kept me chuckling. It took a while for the mystery portion of the book to kick in, but with the humor in Conant's writing it almost didn't matter.
I've read several of Conant's dog lover's mysteries, and enjoyed them all. The books are intended for the general market, and as such contain a sprinkling of salty language. If that's not an issue for you, by all means read The Dogfather, or any other Susan Conant books you come across. You'll enjoy them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A HOPEFUL HEART, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I've been out of town for a few weeks on a family matter, and am now resuming my "writing life," including blogs. It's with pleasure that I take up blogging again to review Kim Sawyer's A Hopeful Heart.
A Hopeful Heart is a gentle story of healing and forgiveness. The protagonist, Tressa Neill, is sent west to Wyatt Herdsman School as a dowryless girl. Her guardians, an aunt and uncle, believe that second best is good enough for their orphaned niece. The events that shape Tressa's life, as well as the lives of the other girls at the Herdsman School, run full spectrum from cooking for ranch hands to branding cattle. Sawyer's novel captures the essence of Kansas ranch life in the late 19th Century.
Since "Aunt" Hattie Wyatt's purpose in starting this school is to train girls to be ranchers' wives, there’s plenty of matchmaking going on while the girls learn ranching skills.
In A Hopeful Heart, Sawyer has woven a tale of a loving God's plans for each girl's future. The reader gets to participate in Aunt Hattie's faith as she shares her beliefs with those around her. This novel is a sweet romance with a strong Christian element, suitable for tween girls as well as their moms and grandmas.
My thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a copy for review.