Who Rescued Who
By Victoria Schade
Author Website: victoriaschade(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
A few rough breaks lead a woman at the end of her leash to journey across the pond to fetch a surprise inheritance–but the dogs she rescues along the way have other ideas.
The plan was simple: Elizabeth would suffer through a quick trip to her late father’s family homestead in the English countryside, try not to think about how she was unjustly fired from her dream job, claim her inheritance, and hop on the next flight back to Silicon Valley where she can get her life back on track.
The plan does not include rescuing an abandoned black and white puppy. Or bonding with her long-lost aunt and uncle, their Border Collie, and their two very opinionated sheep. Or falling for the handsome local who runs the town’s craft brewery. As Elizabeth’s brief visit to Fargrove turns into an extended stay, she discovers that she has more in common with the new puppy than she realized. (Goodreads)
I loved reading this! From Uncle Rowan’s first hug to the gorgeous English countryside, this story is rich with narratives that invited me into each scene. Animals, including a border collie, two spoiled ewes, and especially a tiny puppy, are as essential as the human cast. The characters are beautifully depicted and memorable, and the plot has interesting twists and turns that beg for eager turning of the pages.
Elizabeth Barnes, the chief marketing officer at Duchess Games and unaccustomed to failure, found her life in San Francisco turned upside down. Due to a faux pas at a trade show, she was unemployed and without her stock options. She struggled to find a new company to call home and watched her social media standings with an anxious eye multiple times a day. In the gaming world, however, she is being shunned, with no employment future in sight. She then received a call that could change her life. Or at least, the next few weeks.
Elizabeth’s mother, who had doted on her, passed away when she was only twelve. Her father, who was distant at best, died only six months ago. She had no siblings and no other family members. When a call came from a man in England claiming to be her Uncle Rowan, brother to her late father, she was skeptical and expecting a scam. Rowan was from the same town her father was, and knew her middle name, but couldn’t someone find that if they looked hard enough? Rowan said he had inherited what should have gone to her father, and as his heir, Rowan and his wife Trudy want to give it to Elizabeth. Rowan promised to email the documentation to her, then discuss her plans to claim the land. As promised, Rowan sent a copy of the document regarding the property and a couple photos, one of Trudy and Rowan, who had some of her father’s features.
Elizabeth made travel plans with a tight itinerary so she could get back to her real life and find a new position. She would spend a couple days in Fargrove, get the paperwork initiated to sell the property, then take a short tour of England and hurry back home. She would have many new photos for her social media to keep building her brand as a businesswoman.
From the moment she arrived, William, who picked her up for Rowan and Trudy, called her Bess. Nobody ever called her Bess! But Bess is to Rowan and Trudy. They are the most welcoming people she has ever met; she is not used to their warmth and welcome. She meets their dog, Major, and is immediately terrified. She has been afraid of dogs since she was a child, and is convinced that this dog is going to do her in. And sheep – why does she have to meet the ladies? To her horror, there is no service in the rural area for her phone! She must walk to town to find a coffee shop to upload photos and check her accounts.
Her first delay in leaving was for the party celebrating Rowan’s retrospective, 50 years of his famous paintings put on display at a London museum. When she thinks she might get some excellent photos with impressive people to post, she changes her itinerary. The night of the party was interrupted by a heavy storm. Trudy fell and had to go to the hospital. Elizabeth found a tiny, trembling, soggy puppy, and had to figure out what to do with it until Rowan and Trudy returned. She couldn’t take a puppy on her trip, much less back home.
It’s true that our pets choose us. Elizabeth called the tiny puppy Georgina, and she was told that the pup chose her to be her human. Georgina loved several humans but adored only her. Elizabeth did website redesign for the owner of the coffee shop. Rowan asked her to help catalog his life’s paintings. She met a man who she felt, for the first time ever, she could love. Rowan even encouraged Elizabeth to pick up palette and brushes to begin painting, which she hadn’t done since high school. She made delightful friends who genuinely cared about her. All these and more made it hard when she was pursued by a virtual reality gaming company back home.
The characters are defined as richly as rural England. At first, I didn’t like the driven social-media queen Elizabeth was. Her insecurities and fears were peeled away one by one and seeing her depths were eye-opening. I began to like her more as the story continued. James, the man Elizabeth wants in her life, even if long distance, is very much an enigma at first, other than being an incredibly handsome brewery owner. I especially liked Rowan and Trudy, who should have counterparts in every family. They are so wonderfully loving and kind.
The plot was unpredictable, keeping me engaged once I got past my initial dislike of Elizabeth. There were times when I wanted to reach in and tell her don’t do that! At any given time, there is humor, drama, sadness, and hope. For women who prefer sweet romance, the spicy scenes are mostly short and can be skimmed past. What Elizabeth will do when the siren song of her career cries out seems simple, to return to real life rather than the fairy tale of Fargrove. I highly recommend this delightful women’s novel!