Being asked to kick off the blog tour for the next instalment in one of your most favourite book serials, is an honour. But, being asked to kick off the blog tour for a favourite book serial by one of your all-time favourite authors, is not only an honour, it is an absolute joy. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Jill Steeples back to TWG, as I review the latest book in the ‘Dog and Duck’ series. Big thank you to Aria for both the blog tour invite, and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:
Ellie Browne, landlady of The Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and her partner Max’s baby in the New Year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.
After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s huge country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans!
But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.
What does TWG think?
If you haven’t read a book from this series yet, where the hell have you been? If you were feeling rebellious, you could probably get away with reading the books in a haphazard order, but, having read all of the books in order myself, I fully recommend that you start with book one. Not only is the series brilliant, I really do think that if you read the books out of sync, you’ll be missing out on some character information which you might find useful later on in the series.
According to Ellie’s dates, Dog and Duck Jnr isn’t set to arrive for a couple of weeks, but, as I’m sure those with babies know, they pretty much come when they want! Of course after being told that by a friend of hers, Ellie is convinced that she still has time. Ahem, but does she? I mean, it’s a snowstorm outside, traffic has come to a halt, OH and the fact it’s Christmas. Surely baby will take that into consideration before attempting to arrive, right?
That said, a new baby is the least of Ellie’s concerns….if you can call having a baby a concern, obviously, but I’m sure you know what I mean. A lot of family drama is threatening to unfold – NOW that is a typical Christmas!
I really didn’t think that this series could get any better! It’s not that I didn’t have faith in the author to produce an even better book, I just had no idea how Jill Steeples was going to top her previous storyline! Little did I know just exactly how much Ms.Steeples was going to top her previous book!
Despite having a little break between books, it didn’t take me long to get back in the swing of things with Ellie and Max. In fact, it was as though I had never left them! I was able to pick up where we left off in the previous book, falling in love with every character all over again.
From the very beginning, my heart felt as though it was being cuddled, warming my soul better than any fire could ever do. ‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ was an absolute joy to read – a series which I am devastated about coming to an end.
Not only was I able to lose myself in the storyline, I was also able to connect to several characters on an emotional level. It’s not often that happens because I can be a little bit of an ice queen, but when it does, it means something incredibly special has allowed me to do so.
‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ left me wanting so much more, yet reaching the end of the novel made me feel like I was about to say goodbye to some fantastic new ‘friends’.
Jill Steeples has written a book which captured my heart, made me laugh out loud, filled my heart with immense joy, and made me feel as though I was reading something incredibly precious. Like a precious stone, or a gem. Something which you would do anything to protect, yet you just want to keep hold of it and keep it near you for eternity. Honestly? ‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ is exactly like that.
This series didn’t just get better, no. The series went to a whole new level, one which I am incredibly honoured to have been a part of. I really do wish that I could bottle the feelings that this book, and the entire series, have allowed me to feel. Why? Because when you find yourself in reaching distance of something so beautiful, you would do absolutely anything to keep hold of it.
Jill Steeples really has outdone herself with ‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ and, in my opinion, this is the best book of the series so far. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series, even though it will be incredibly bittersweet also being the last.
Such a heart-warming, laugh out loud, magnetic and joyous addition to the already fantastic, Dog and Duck series. I cannot recommend this book enough – if I could give it a million and one stars just to show how much I loved this book, I would. Unfortunately I cannot do that, so I just hope that my word is enough.
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Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.