‘Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail’ by Claire Cook Brings Holiday Cheer and Sweet Tails to Readers

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The bestselling “Must Love Dogs” series by Claire Cook allows readers a chance to enter the never-boring life of Sarah Hurlihy as she negotiates a romance with her boyfriend/fiancé John. Her close-knit family, including her very Irish and very funny father, complicate the story in the way that only family can.

In this sixth tale in the series, Sarah and John have bought Sarah’s family home and are trying to figure out how to make the home theirs. It’s difficult with sisters and brothers coming to their childhood home whenever they want, while that hilarious but very hard-to-handle dad, the clan’s patriarch, lives in the home in his own “apartment,” or man-cave, as he calls it. Sarah’s assistant from the preschool. Polly, who is recently divorced and pregnant, has also moved in.

Life during the holidays is hectic, and when still another “invader,” Sarah’s brother Johnny moves in after his wife leaves him, things are even more complicated than usual. Sarah isn’t happy when fiancé John wants another dog to add to their menagerie of four cats and Horatio, John’s dog, and she’s especially unhappy with the purebreds he’s considering.

But after laughing and cheering on the Hurlihy family through pages of their trials, tribulations, and triumphs, we find that all ends well. Cook’s superb ability to write about the minutiae of everyday life, and her ability to communicate and share Sarah’s feelings, leave readers feeling as if Sarah is an old friend — and after six books, Sarah Hurlihy really IS an old friend.

If you haven’t read the first books in the series, start them immediately. Better yet, start with the movie “Must Love Dogs,” starring John Cusack and Diane Lane. Then read the rest of the books. It’s a perfect plan for fireside reading. Just like all her books, this Claire Cook story is filled with characters that are sympathetic, realistic, and filled with the kind of good spirit and humor that graces all of Cook’s characters and her writing. Their problems so often seem like our own that we can’t help identifying — and falling in love –with them.

Please note: This review is based on the final digital book provided by the author for review purposes.

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