Must Love Dogs: Bark & Roll Forever
Once again we are invited to the quaint, fictitious seacoast town of Marshbury, Massachusetts, and into the lives of the Irish close-knit Hurilhy family.
Daughter Sarah, teacher at the Bayberry Preschool, and her lover, John Anderson, along with his beloved pooch Horatio are looking to move their relationship to the next level. John has leased his Boston condo, and they are looking to purchase a home to share in Marshbury. They are not able to decide on a perfect place, and Sarah still must sell the home she once shared with her ex-husband, Kevin.
Sarah becomes dismayed when Kevin's new wife Nikki enrolls her ill-behaved twins at the school, wanting them in her class. Sarah vehemently vetoes this for these two rug-rats, aptly named duplicates of their narcissistic parents, have no manners. In addition, Sarah does not want to deal with Kevin's new family; their presence seems to be a slap in the face. When married to Kevin, he did not want children, yet as soon as he dumped her, he took up with a younger woman and had the twins.
Nikki somehow learns of Sarah's decision to put her home on the market. She brings her a buyer before the house is even listed. Sarah believes it is kind of creepy that Nikki insists on worming her way into her life. Is she gloating that she and Kevin have children or what's her story?
When Sarah visits her dad, she sees a vehicle in his driveway with turquoise-and-white signs reading "Bark & Roll Forever." Filled with apprehension, she wonders what crazy Billy is up to now. It seems he now is in the dog-walking business with three older women. Is this a new venture to prevent him from spending time in his recliner in front of his 72-inch flat screen? Or this giving him the incentive to date three new women? Her lovable, yet eccentric Irish father brings humor to light when he constantly misnames Horatio and comes up with antics that keep his children shaking their heads.
Billy's common vernacular is shown in this instance: "All blarney and taradiddle aside, I'm fairly sure I can reel him in as a client."
Billy's job is to drive the colorful truck, selling ice cream, and Sarah states: "Eventually the humans caught up [to the new business] and my dad started handing out cards and treats while he talked up Bark & Roll Forever. He joked, he flirted. . . . 'Billy Boy Hurlihy's still go it,' my father said once the crowd had moved on."
The siblings always share Sunday dinner at their dad's house, and Sarah finds her sister, Carol appearing unusually upset. Her 17-year-old daughter Siobhan is displaying common teenage angst, or so it seems. Sarah intervenes due to the closeness between them, though Sarah perceives something very amiss with the young girl. Her niece is withholding troubling facts from her—facts Sarah is determined to learn.
Sarah, busily dealing with her frenzied life considers her future. Will she and John find a new home and will they be able to conceive a child, something they both want? Considering her job, house search and her family, all that keeps her hopping, this uncertainty establishes the crux of this tale.
Must Love Dogs: Bark & Roll Forward is the fourth installment in the Must Love Dogs series, and this edition is sure to please. Cook displays uncanny humor and draws the reader into this uproarious family. This totally delightful novel reads like a Hallmark movie.