This is an honest review in exchange for the ARC from NetGalley. I don’t remember why I requested Puppy Christmas from NetGalley, but I’m so glad I did.
Lila Vasquez and her sisters train puppies to be service dogs. They have donated a puppy, plus six weeks of service training to a nonprofit, who have awarded the puppy to Emily Ford, a 6 year old with a degenerative hearing condition and her single father Ford. We won’t be discussing the fact that Lucy Gilmore named her character Ford Ford, because pretty much everything else about the book was lovely and adorable.
Lila thinks she always has to be in control, but her ex boyfriend has told her she’s cold and unapproachable. Ford keeps everyone at bay by being flirty and never seeming to take anything seriously. Lila and Ford glimpse beneath each other’s masks, but their lack of faith in themselves is their biggest hurdle. Lila doesn’t trust Ford’s attentions because she doesn’t believe she is likable or lovable. Ford assumes the worst when Lila wants honesty from him because he judges himself and his lack of financial stability harshly.
The obstacles for Lila and Ford are themselves, which means there doesn’t need to be an external villain, and there is not. There are no bad guys, just run of the mill irritating people. The ex boyfriend does a couple of jerk things, but he apologizes fairly early in the book. The pushy neighbor has a good heart. Gilmore doesn’t even vilify the ex wife for leaving to pursue her career passions.
We have plenty of real life villains right now, and I do love a good villain in fiction, but it was nice to spend some time in a place where everyone is doing their best and our biggest obstacles are us. Truth be told, we all need to work on how we open ourselves up to the world and showing compassion to people who are struggling. This was a lovely puppy pile of a read.