Review: One Careful Owner by Jane Harvey-Berrick

 

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

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Take me, all of me, broken and in pieces, or say to hell with me.”

WARNING!
This book will break your heart!
From the best-selling romance author of THE EDUCATION OF SEBASTIAN comes a sexy, heart-breaking and heart-warming story about one man and his dog. 

Alex is lost and alone, with only his dog, Stan for company. He doesn’t expect kindness from anyone anymore, but sometimes hope can be found in the most unlikely places. He has a second chance at happiness, but there’s a dark side to Alex, and a reason that more than one person has called him crazy.
Single mother Dawn is doing just fine. Except that her ex- is a pain in the ass, her sister isn’t speaking to her, and her love life is on the endangered list.
At least her job as a veterinarian is going well. Until a crazy-looking guy arrives at her office accompanied by an aging dog with toothache. Or maybe Alex Winters isn’t so crazy after all, just … different.
Dawn realizes that she’s treated him the same way that all the gossips in town have treated her—people can be very cruel.

Contains scenes of an adult nature.
This is a standalone novel with no cliffhanger.

 

My Thoughts:

One Careful Owner is a signature piece by Jane Harvey-Berrick. Every story by Ms. Harvey-Berrick is unique and gut wrenching, but the one is particularly moving.

Dawn, a veterinarian, is a careful owner of her heart and of her delightful daughter, Katie. Alex is a careful owner of his lovable dog, Stan, and his tortured past.

Dawn, and her sister, Stella, have a complicated past. They have long entertained the town with their bitter feud and the outcome, and that has made her particularly sensitive to other’s opinions. Dawn is a strong, single mom who puts who daughter first. Katie is a adorable nine-year old who steals the show. She is tender and kind-hearted. Her adoration of Stan and easy acceptance of Alex provides the bridge for Dawn to give Alex a chance. Alex certainly deserves a chance. Devastating losses led Alex to give up on himself and people in general. He has found animals to be much more reliable than people, and Stan, his dog, is now his only friend.

One Careful Owner is leisurely paced, giving author Harvey-Berrick time to richly develop her characters and explore a complicated relationship between mature adults who both have a lot of baggage. Local sheriff, Dan, who fills his long-time friend’s head with misleading information, creates most of the angst. Dawn doubts her own judgment every time Dan warns her off Alex. I appreciated her wariness stemming from concern for her daughter, but it was particularly frustrating that she never thought to confront Alex with Dan’s allegations. The on-again/off-again relationship was a little too much for me. Alex’s actions and erratic behavior are intentionally left unexplained until the end to create more story and relationship tension.    Between Dan and Stella’s interference, and Alex’s unexplained behavior, I wasn’t sure that there would be a happily-ever-after ending for Dawn, Katie and Alex!

In addition to the obvious message of “don’t judge a book by its cover”, Ms. Harvey-Berrick has included a sub-theme of animal cruelty. Some of the scenes are difficult to read, but the harsh realism shines a light on an issue close to the author’s heart.

Seth Clayton admirably narrates the audiobook.  I loved his performance as Katie and Stella!

 

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Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (DANGEROUS TO KNOW & LOVE, SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM); mental illness (THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE, SEMPER FI); life after prison (LIFERS); dyslexia (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN).
She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play LATER, AFTER with former veteran Mike Speirs. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk1CyB8c0xA )

 

Tour host: Ardent Prose
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