Provided by the publisher
"The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service" is by Beth Kendrick.

"THE LUCKY DOG MATCHMAKING SERVICE," by Beth Kendrick, Penguin Books, $15, 320 pages (f)

If you like dog stories, romance, a little kick to characters and a story with a happy ending, try this book.

"The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service" doesn't require any serious devotion to the animal kingdom, but it can certainly be entertaining and enlightening for dog lovers.

The rest of us can understand why big puppy eyes and wagging tails appeal and sympathize with dogs who need some special understanding along with some rules.

As Lara Madigan struggles along trying to deal with her "talent" for rescuing and sorting out dogs, she loses the love of her life and her home.

She also finds people who appreciate what she can do, people who not only admire and respect her ability to read a dog and match it to a good home, but also people who will pay for her skills.

Here is a story with a heroine who recognizes the flaws in the people and dogs around her and straightens things out by being honest, firm and — well — dogged in her approach.

She doesn't apologize for who she is, but she doesn't pretend it doesn't cost her as well, as she takes in more dogs than is wise and spends money she doesn't have to treat and tend to them.

Along the way, she works out problems with her mother and her somewhat deadbeat father.

She attracts attention.

She finds natural ways to make what she does pay the bills.

She teaches.

Her no-nonsense approach is one every pet owner and even parents of teenagers can learn from.

Add in some dog-show details, some rich people oddities and hair-and-skin-care tips and it's a different sort of book.

As a bonus, the book is clean, free of any bad language or behavior, unless you count dogs slobbering and raking their nails across expensive wood flooring.

It all makes for a funny, pleasant story with a somewhat predictable outcome but a welcome one.

It also makes one want to go and seek out other Beth Kendrick books.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at

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