Sit! Stay! Speak!
By Annie England Noblin
Narrated by Joell A. Jacob
Publication date Apr 5, 2016
Published by Tantor Media
Running time 10 hrs
Audiofile provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!
People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next-door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.
Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog: a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.
This charming debut novel tells the unforgettable story of a rescue dog that helps a struggling young outsider make peace with the past. (https://tantor.com/sit-stay-speak-nnie-england-noblin.html)
This is a love story and, a letting-lost-loves go story, and something of a thriller. The writer certainly understands the bond between a companion animal and a human. She knows that in a situation where there is danger that
pets* dogs and their people will protect each other. Unless they are people with no moral compass like the psychopath and his minions in this story. This bad guy, Redd, blames someone who bought (in foreclosure) the farm his parents abandoned years and years before, for it’s loss. The conflict between Redd and the rest of the world, but in particular the love interests here, brings in the thriller aspect of the story.
By the end of the book I wanted this guy to be killed, preferably by his own mistake but I would have been happy to settle for anyone taking him out. And, this is not something I usually wish for in a book.
There’s the regular boy, girl, and obstacles to overcome love-story with some really hot hook-ups. The couple Addie and Jasper are instantly attracted and ambivalent to each other. I wasn’t really sure why Jasper was antagonistic towards Adelaide at the beginning. He, like most men seem to get upset when a woman doesn’t just follow directions.
The real love story, for me, was between our heroine and the dog she rescues, Felix. I remember a person who saved a cat from similar circumstances and they did all his routes together from that day on. I would have liked to see the story of their relationship developed more, because as an animal lover that is the story that was the real meat of the book for me.
Joelle does a lovely job with a pleasant alto voice and what this Yankee thinks is a passable accent. I don’t know what someone from Arkansas will say but it worked for me.
When we see the label “debut novel” it sounds as if the author has sprung up from the pages of a book like Venus in her clam shell (only with clothes). Of course, this is not the first thing this author has written and, she has worked in the field a while. That is probably why this is such a professional, polished and delightful debut.
If you are an animal lover, like me, and hate to see how thoughtless, his story will have some difficult to read/listen to scenes. But they are not gratuitous and do serve to advance the story and define the characters.
I have often put books down when there is unwarranted animal cruelty but I did not feel the need with this one.
I recommend this to anyone who likes a heated love story with a small town feel and an adorable puppy!
*My cat just gave me a look that says, I would SO not protect you, hence the strikethrough.
Author on FB: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieEnglandNoblin