Rating: 4 stars
“Lawyer for the Dog” by Lee Robinson features an unusual protagonist: a 49-year-old single attorney. Sally Baynard isn’t a young woman — she’s been divorced for many more years than she was married (five). She started off as a public defender ready to save the world and has ended up doing divorces and family law, often appearing in front of her ex-husband, who is now the family law judge at the local courthouse.
When her ex-husband fancies himself not in love with his second wife, and wants to rekindle things with Sally, he appoints her the guardian ad litem for a cute schnauzer — the precious “child” of a divorcing couple. Although Sally doesn’t have a dog, she ends up spending more time with her four-legged “client” than she thinks necessary. And surprisingly, she enjoys it.
While there are few twists and turns, the story is one that will resonate with women of a certain age. There are parts that are touching, humorous and sad. Robinson deals beautifully with how Sally feels about her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Sally has moved her mother in with her, but when her full-time caregiver quits, she is forced to deal with the guilt about putting her mother in a nursing home. Even though the caregiver, a friend, points out that her mother really needs round-the-clock care, Sally feels intense guilt.
Sally also feels attracted to the handsome (and available) veterinarian of her client. Things heat up there, but she is still on the fence about her ex-husband. The ending brings it all together beautifully.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Thomas Dunne books for review purposes.