REVIEW: Freckles by Amy Lane
Small dogs can make big changes… if you open your heart.
Carter Embree always hoped someone might rescue him from his productive, tragically boring, and (slightly) ethically compromised life. But when an urchin at a grocery store shoves a bundle of fluff into his hands, Carter goes from rescuee to rescuer—and he needs a little help.
Sandy Corrigan, the vet tech who eases Carter into the world of dog ownership, first assumes Carter is a crazy-pants client who just needs to relax. But as Sandy gets a glimpse of the funny, kind, sexy man under Carter’s mild-mannered exterior, he sees that with a little care and feeding, Carter might be “Super Pet Owner”—and decent boyfriend material to boot.
But Carter needs to see himself as a hero first. As he says goodbye to his pristine house and hello to carpet treatments and dog walkers, he finds there really is more to himself than a researching drudge without a backbone. A Carter Embree can rate a Sandy Corrigan. He can be supportive. He can be a man who stands up for his principles!
He can be the owner of a small dog.
Dear Ms. Lane,
I had sworn to myself that I wasn’t going to be lured into reading any more books because of a dog on the cover. Okay so it was the dog and the blurb that lured me this time. That’s my defense and I’m sticking to it.
Small dogs are not my thing (I used to have Russian Wolfhounds who are born almost larger than Freckles will probably ever be) but watching Carter be sucked into this little dog’s charm is a sweet story to read. Carter is so folded in on himself and almost flattened by his assholic boss, his slightly superior mother, and his last boyfriend (whom Carter never thought he was worthy of) that when a ten year old suckers Carter into taking this bit of fluff, I wondered if Carter was up to the challenge.
Sandy, one of the vet techs at a veterinarian clinic attached to a pet supply store, has his doubts, too. Mr. Crazy-Pants seems to have no idea what to do with a living creature though he does seem attached to her, fleas and all. Yes, Carter, it’s a “she” as Sandy quickly demonstrates with a tail lift. Handed a pet supply list and lead around the store, Carter finds himself buying $200 worth of stuff (free puppy my ass) and signing up for pet insurance. His life has officially been turned upside down.
Good thing for Carter that the fine people – especially Sandy – at the vet clinic are there for him as he soon discovers all kinds of things about puppy ownership and Freckles that he never knew he didn’t know. Like about dog walking and soap allergies and puppy pee pads. Meanwhile Sandy finds that shy, average looking Carter just might be hiding a great guy under that quiet exterior.
I’m so glad that this story kept it real and included all the not so great things about owning a dog – especially an un-housetrained puppy. Carter gets a full on exposure to the less fantastic aspects of the experience. But Freckles has done her work well with her little black button nose and happy yips – she is his dog now. He’ll just stock up on carpet cleaning supplies. Freckles also does something else. She gives Sandy a chance to check up on her and Carter. She also sorta niggles on Carter’s conscience about a case he’s researching, one that seems to be sucking the last bit of his soul out.
Before Carter and Sandy can settle into a relationship, there are things that both need to face, examine and work on. Does Carter have the guts to give up insurance and bennies to get away from the human turd he works for? Does Sandy have the courage to put himself out there for a real relationship. Little by little, bit by bit both manage it. It was great to watch them both gain self confidence and come to the realization that “I’m worth it.”
The story had a good pace – nothing was too quick or too dragged out. Carter discovers strengths in himself he never imagined and sees that Sandy (and Sandy’s niece whom Carter helps with her small business) sees him as a hero. Eventually, he starts to see it too and begins to reclaim his legal soul. And because he’s a damn good lawyer at drawing up contracts, when he reaches his “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” moment, he can be free with no repercussions.
I have fun reading this kind, humorous, gentle story of two nice guys finding each other and discovering themselves. It ends with a HFN and I’m fine with that. Yeah, and the small dog is cute too. B
He went home that day to throw Freckles a ball, to remember that he had a soul, and to eat some soup with his homemade sandwich. He fed Freckles the crusts of his bread – he wasn’t sure how good it was for her, but she seemed to think he was a god when he let her nibble out of his hand. It wasn’t easy to achieve godhood in the modern world – he wasn’t looking that in the mouth.