If you are looking for a sweet tale about love, acceptance and forgiveness, look no further than Jackie Bouchard’s novel House Trained.
Alex Halstad is an interior designer who is struggling to keep her business afloat. Her husband, Barry has no idea of the dire straits they are in financially. They live in a beautiful home, impeccably decorated by Alex. Childless by choice, their sweet labradoodle Marie is the object of their love and affection, much to the dismay and thinly veiled criticism of Alex’s mother and sister.
So when Barry comes home from the university library where he works with the startling news that he has a teenage daughter he didn’t know about via his ex-girlfriend, their world is turned upside down. And Marie – yes, his daughter shares the same name as their dog – has a baby of her own.
As Marie (who asks to go by her nickname, Wren) and baby Ruthie move into their home temporarily, their world is turned upside down. Watching two slightly baby-phobic adults cope as the goth, crunchy vegetarian, non-swearing teen and her sweet toddler take over their home, and then their hearts, is both hilarious and touching.
With the hilarious opening lines and the cute puppy on the cover, I was expecting a light, fluffy story, but Bouchard delivers up a story that is layered and true. The girls moving into the house and their lives brings Barry’s ex back into the picture and Alex struggles with insecurities on every level – marital, professional, and in her relationship with her mom and sister. Ultimately, this is a story about finding acceptance, casting off judgment and opening your heart.
I fell in love with Marie (the dog) and found myself casting woeful glances at my own less-than-trained pup. This is a book that will get read again and would make a great gift for for anyone who loves fiction that is heartwarming and funny.
House Trained was published on October 20, 2015 by Lake Union Publishing and can be found on Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble and Walmart. Jackie Bouchard has authored two other books and blogs at Pooch Smooches. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and on her website at www.Jackiebouchard.com.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing, who provided me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts, opinions and typos herein are wholly my own.