November 2016

‘The Christmas Guest’ by Daisy Bell

A puppy for Christmas. A friend for life. The story of a homeless puppy with a huge heart who healed a family . . .

When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he’s far too excited to worry about what lies ahead. But all too soon Teddy realises just how cold and scary the world really is, and what was supposed to be the perfect adventure now seems like a terrible mistake.

Then Teddy is discovered on a snowy doorstep by the Woods family. With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Claire, Ben and their daughter Emily are the family Teddy is desperate to have. But Emily is ill, her parents are stressed and, with Christmas around the corner, raising and training a well-meaning but unruly puppy is hardly a priority.

Teddy knows he and little Emily have a once-in-a-lifetime bond, and that he can be the best friend she needs in this dark time. If only he can prove to Ben and Claire how much happier he could make them all, Teddy might just find the family of his dreams this Christmas.

I am the proud owner of two gorgeous (but very loopy) Labrador girls and I regularly get dog magazines.  Whilst reading one of the magazines I happened to come across a competition to win a copy of ‘The Christmas Guest’, which was highly recommended by the reviewer.  I didn’t win a copy but then I was offered the chance to read and review ‘The Christmas Guest’ so naturally I jumped at it.  What a flipping fantastic book it turned out to be.

For a start the cover immediately appealed to me with a picture of a Golden Retriever looking all cute on a snowy doorstep.  I just knew that when I picked up this book, I just wouldn’t be able to put it down and so it proved.

A lot of Teddy’s behaviours certainly rang a bell with me (as it will with most Labrador Retriever owners) and I couldn’t help but chuckle away to myself.  For example Teddy is at times a little bit destructive.  On more than one occasion Teddy destroys something (in one case a pair of designer shoes) and he is so proud of his actions that he finds it confusing when he gets into trouble.  He can’t understand what he has done wrong.   Not giving too much away, Teddy’s first set of owners really don’t deserve him.  Teddy was bought as a gift for one part of the couple but they underestimated how much love, care and attention puppies need.  The underlying message that comes through in the first part of the book is that ‘a dog is for life and not just for Christmas’.  At the start of the book, Teddy is anxious to be allowed to go out and about to explore the world for himself.  Naturally when he gets an opportunity to escape he takes it.  Teddy sees it as a big adventure but he soon realizes that the outside world can be very terrifying indeed.

Teddy lands on a snowy doorstep and he really has fallen on his paws.  Although, he does get scared as the adults of the family say that he can’t stay with them and that they will take him to the dog pound after Christmas.  The adults are parents to a little girl called Emily, who has been ill and they don’t think that having a dog around her will be a good idea.  However Teddy has his own ideas on that score.  Teddy senses that Emily is vulnerable and he becomes not  only her best friend, but also her nursemaid so to speak.  This sort of behaviour certainly rang true for me as the very same has happened with me and our youngest Labrador Daisydoo.  Without going into too much detail I have back problems as well as suffering with depression and anxiety.  When Daisydoo knows that I am having a bad day, she just will not leave my side until I am feeling better.  I don’t really want to give too much away about the rest of the story as I really do think that you need to read it for yourself.

In short I really did love reading this book.  The beginning of the book was quite sad and at one point I thought I was going to urgently need some tissues as I felt ready to blub on Teddy’s behalf.  ( I really am a softy when it comes to dogs).  However, I didn’t need the tissues and by the end of the book I had laughed more than I have laughed in a very long time.  I would definitely recommend ‘The Christmas Guest’ to others and if you are in need of an upbeat, feel good story then this really is the book for you.  I would definitely give this book 5* out of 5*- in fact I would give this book more stars if I could as I enjoyed it that much.

(Many thanks to Quercus for allowing me the chance to review this book).


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