|Elizabeth Young: A Girl's Best Friend|
Avon (Trade Paperback), ISBN 0-06-056277-3
Isabel "Izzy" Palmer enjoys less-than-wonderful luck with men. But through it all, Henry, her mixed breed mutt of a dog, never leaves her side, always there with love and devotion. Her current boyfriend, Leo, treats her as a distant third in his life -- second to his children from a previous marriage and to most of his huge extended family. Leo frequently rushes off to a birthday party, wedding, funeral, etc. -- usually at the last minute -- leaving Izzy ticked off and alone.
Izzy's friend Felicity plans a murder mystery party, but Leo remembers another family obligation at the last minute, so Izzy semi-dumps him in a fit of anger. At the murder mystery party, she finds herself somewhat attracted to Nick, a coworker of her long-time friend, Rob. But at the same time, Nick repels her, mostly because he insulted dear old Henry, and because Nick comes across as somewhat arrogant. But Izzy and Nick get along well, especially when their characters at the mystery plot nefarious deeds. Then Leo shows up unexpectedly, and his jealousy wins Izzy back.
Izzy and Leo get along well until just before Christmas, when Izzy calls his flat early one morning and a woman answers it. So much for Leo. Izzy and Nick meet again at a New Year's Eve party, where Izzy wins a week-long trip to Barbados in February. With way too much champagne under her belt, the attraction between her and Nick flares in the middle of the night when she gets up to let Henry out. But Rob, in a quest for midnight munchies, unknowingly interrupts their passion.
While Izzy relaxes and lives it up in Barbados, tragedy strikes at home. During her absence, torrential rains flooded the area, and Henry, who can't resist chasing a Frisbee, falls in a stream and vanishes. Izzy doesn't learn of his disappearance until she returns. Numbed with grief, Izzy does everything she possibly can to find her beloved -- and in the process, learns who her human friends really are.
Elizabeth Young writes an unexpectedly different romance. Though the two human men play a significant part in Izzy's life, underneath it all lies a deeper romance -- the love between a pet and its owner. The tragic scenes become tear-jerkers, and anyone who ever befriended an animal understands the depth of grief behind Izzy's frantic search. Young also includes a large cast of supporting characters, all of them crafted with good detail, making them well-rounded additions to the story. An excellent read.
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