From bestselling author Jackie Bouchard comes a heartwarming story of loss, love, and finding hope in unexpected places.
If you lost both your husband and your dog within weeks of each other but were more devastated by the loss of the dog, would you tell anyone? Maybe your closest friends…Unfortunately, introvert Jane Bailey hasn’t made many friends in Philadelphia.
So when her aunt and uncle ask her to come to Prescott, Arizona, to help at their B&B, Jane packs up and makes the move. On her way, she finds a scared stray at a rest stop. But Jane can’t bear the thought of ever loving and losing another dog. She’s determined not to let the mutt steal her heart. She’s also determined to have next to no interaction with the B&B’s demanding guests and its annoying (yet handsome) handyman. As the dog works her charm, soon Jane must admit that just as much as she rescued the dog, the dog has rescued her.
Revised edition: This edition of Rescue Me, Maybe includes editorial revisions.
Source: Review copy from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley
This is one for the dog lovers out there. Jane is an introvert. She likes dogs a whole lot more than people, and she loved her old dog, Barnum, more than her husband. And since she’s just lost both of them to cancer, she’s had plenty of time to think about it. I liked Jane, I could see a lot of myself in her introverted, private-space seeking ways. She won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but at least she’s honest (with herself) about her feelings. She didn’t love her husband – in fact she was planning on leaving him until he got his diagnosis – and she feels guilty that he knew that, but she owns her feelings. There are reasons for why she fell out of love with him and no matter what she felt, she stuck by him right to the bitter end.
But despite the rather grim beginning, this book is actually full of a lot of warmth and plenty of humour – even if the latter is sometimes a bit dark, such as with the ashes. Jane might be unfriendly to people, but she’s got a good heart, especially where dogs are concerned. I loved her relationship with Maybe, the puppy she rescues almost by accident. Maybe is the complete opposite of Jane, with her people loving, friendly ways, but they’re both fighters and make a great pair.
I also really liked Jane’s list making habit – mostly because they’re very funny. She’s got a very snarky sense of humour that I really enjoyed and was a perfect balance for the sometimes sad twists that the plot takes. Because starting with a funeral isn’t the only thing this book throws at the reader. There are memories to think back on and present woes as well as future worries. Yet Jane manages to cope surprisingly well through it all, whether it’s dealing with her in-laws, accidentally making friends with her co-worker or pelting irritating B&B guests with mini-muffins, Jane has an interesting and sometimes unique way of dealing with the things life throws at her.
I loved how she changes as the book progresses, without actually changing too much. It’s almost more a case of relaxing and learning to accept the life she has, since she spent almost her entire marriage waiting to move back home. This time, although she still wants desperately to get back home and away from the B&B, she also has so many other things to think about and plan for that she learns to value what’s right in front of her rather than what she had before. It’s not always an easy lesson for her to learn, but I liked how it subtly wove its way in through the story in the small changes before the big ones arrived. There is a romance too, but it’s a very quiet one that is definitely secondary to the love story between Jane and Maybe.
I do think certain things about the ending felt a bit brusque and it might have been nice to have seen at least some of it come about in conversation, rather than a round-up paragraph from a few weeks later. Having said that, I did actually like the last few pages and their forward-thinking nature. I really liked that a book that started at a funeral ended with a lot of hope, even if everything wasn’t all quite tied up with a pretty bow.
So if you’re looking for a tale about an introverted woman who faces grief and loss by learning to love and make (a few) friends, then this should fit the bill. Though it’ll be best if you like dogs. And don’t mind a bit of dark humour amongst some sadder moments. I really enjoyed this book for its wit and its hope and its honest portrayal of Jane. She’s strong and she’s grumpy and she’s unfriendly, but she’s also brilliant and I’m so glad I got to read the story of her and Maybe. I will definitely be looking out for more books from this author.
Rescue Me, Maybe is out August 25th!
Visit Jackie Bouchard for more details.