Book Review: Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples

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So my latest book review is of Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples.

Ellie Browne, landlady of The Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and her partner Max‘s baby in the New Year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.

After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max‘s huge country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans!

But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.

Firstly I have to admit that I have not read Winter at the Dog and Duck or Summer at the Dog and Duck. If I am entirely honest I think this was a mistake.  Although there are explanations to the many references to previous events, I feel like I really should have read both of those books in the Dog and Duck series before I started on this one.  It’s not a deal breaker, but I think it would have made my reading experience a little better.

However, all that said, do not be put off if you haven’t read the rest of the series! It is just my personal opinion that I should have read them, and I fully expect to go back and read them in the future.

So, onto the story.

Ellie is the very pregnant landlady of the Dog and Duck.  Along with her partner Max, she is looking forward to a relaxing but fun Christmas and New Year before their new arrival joins them in January.  With the onset of heavy snow, a mysterious visitor to the village and an unexpected delivery, Christmas does not happen in the way she expects!

This novel is very much based around family and loved ones.  Ellie is someone that wants to please her friends and family, and make them feel loved which is why she jumps at the chance to arrange her best friend Polly’s wedding.  It does though highlight her own lack of wedding, despite her and Max now having a beautiful son.

This story is full of love and relationships, with Max and Ellie, George and Polly and Ellie’s parents to name just a few.  It explores long term relationships, new relationships, broken relationships and family relationships.  I enjoyed reading about them all, and found all of the supporting characters to be believable and likeable.

At times however I found Ellie frustrating – she clearly adores Max and he adores her yet following events early on in the book (I don’t want to give them away, sorry!), she seems to spend the majority of the book confused as to why he won’t propose to her or agree to marry her!  Personally I found this a little irritating but having had children myself I can fully appreciate that having a baby can often make you a little irrational (us Mums would obviously never admit to this, but it’s regularly true in those first few months!) which would explain where she is coming from.

All in all this is an enjoyable book, and a pleasant way to while away a few hours on a rainy day!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📗

Thank you to Netgalley and Aria for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

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