Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Pub I'd Like to Visit (Christmas at the Dog & Duck Review)

TITLE: Christmas at the Dog & Duck (also found as Winter at the Dog & Duck on some sites)
AUTHOR: Jill Steeples
PUBLISHING DATE: September 22, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Ellie Browne has left her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton.  Working shifts at the The Dog and Duck and running her own doggy-daycare business, Ellie's looking for a much simpler way of life and a good old fashioned Christmas.

But Little Leyton's landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie's ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding, has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumor has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie's heart, might be sold.  Suddenly, life's looking a whole lot more complicated...

Can Ellie juggle her emotions and commitments in time to celebrate Christmas?

MY THOUGHTS:  The first thing I feel the need to say is that while this really was the perfect time to read this novel, with it being winter in my neck of the woods and the Christmas season, a whole lot of this book DOES NOT revolve around Christmas.  So if you are like me, and only like to read Christmas tales around the holidays, you can pretty much still pick this book up and enjoy it.

Ellie has returned home from London after losing her job due to downsizing.  Her parents are currently working  in Dubai, so while housesitting, she has plenty of time to decide if she wants to return to London, or perhaps settle in her home town of Little Leyton.  Ellie is dating her ex, has met a new dashing man, and not only is she working at her favorite pub, The Dog and Duck, but she has also started her own dog walking business.  During the book, Ellie's life unfolds and by the end, she has made some pretty important decisions about her future.

The best parts about this book in my opinion are the characters and the setting.  It's a nice small town in Buckinghamshire and everyone basically knows everyone else.  The pub is the center of the town as well as the community and pretty much reminds me of Luke's Diner in Stars Hollow (yep, still stuck on Gilmore Girls references).  Another plus is Ellie has her own dog walking business so the reader gets to meet some of the town's more zanier characters through their beloved pets.

I really enjoyed this book and in refection, can't really pinpoint anything about it that really bothered me.  Ellie was independent yet quirky.  While there is some romance in the book, it doesn't overtake the plot and there is no insta-love so it gets bonus points.  Maybe some authors are finally figuring it out that it doesn't really happen that often in real life.  I fell in love with Lucy Dillon's books several years ago and Steeples novels provided the same feeling.  I'm interested in checking out more of her books and will definitely be picking up the next book in The Dog & Duck series when it's released.



  1. What a great cover! Sounds like you really had a great time with this to round off the year nicely!

  2. This is the first that I have heard about this book. It sounds like a fun small town read. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Being from a small town myself, I gravitate to stories about them. Fun cover too.

  4. Sometimes, i think small towns are where I should be. This sounds wonderful -- especially because it doesn't got he instalove route.