I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion of the book.
Dan arrives home to a letter from his girlfriend, Clara. He finds she has left him, vanishing and not telling family and friends where she has gone. She has taken most of her belongings but has left behind one, her rescue dog, currently known as Doggo, until a better name comes along. Dan attempts to return Doggo but on learning he would only be taken back if 'certain parts were missing' he changes his mind. Dan, currently unemployed, finds a job that will also accept Doggo. Soon the rescue dog alters Dan's view of the world and brings welcome changes to his life, helping him learn to love again.
This is a lovely novel. I soon found myself charmed by Dan and Doggo and was wrapped up in their tale. It is only a short novel, just 213 pages and I found myself zooming through it.
Dan is a great character, someone who has flaws but recognises them. He appears to be easy-going, intelligent and funny and I was left wondering what Clara was looking for elsewhere. Mark Mills manages to convey Clara as a not very nice character in a short letter and brief mentions by other characters. His strength at creating well rounded characters continues in the rest of the story, Edie is lovely, Tristan, not so much and J adds an element of comedy. The standout character is of course Doggo, an ugly mutt who works his way into everyone's hearts and who's own story is touching.
Overall this is heart-warming, filled with love, laughter and friendship in all its forms. My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough.
Mark Mills is also the author of The Whaleboat House, The Secret Garden and The Long Shadow. Having only read The Secret Garden I can say this is different from that novel but continues to show his story-telling ability. I look forward to reading more from him in the future.