The Pet Boutique by Suzie Carr is a lesbian romance with a great message that will change the way you live your life: everything is about how we see ourselves. Such a simple idea can make us shine or get ourselves surrounded by darkness. Because it has to be with how deserving we think we are, if we believe we deserve for good things to happen to us and, therefore, we fight for them, we look for them and we pursue them.
The book starts with a heartbreaking situation, a young woman giving up her daughter in order to give her the best chance at life motivated also by the fear of telling her parents that she has failed them by getting pregnant at eighteen. Years later we find Taylor going through a very dark moment after losing her husband and later her beloved dog Oscar, becoming a lone woman who has nothing else but her writing. Of course, after losing her family, her writing starts failing her too and she has to face a severe case of writer’s block. Luckily, this princess in distress has a fairy godmother in the form of her editor, Maya, who is not willing to stay put while Taylor destroys herself. So she comes up with a great idea, fight Taylor’s block by putting her to work on her new project, The Pet Boutique. There is nothing that working on a devastated place to transform it in a fancy and welcoming pet boutique can’t do.
Then we have Lexie, Maya’s niece and photographer, unemployed at the moment and looking for a place where she, her partner and her beautiful dog Cashmere can settle down. Lexie knows something is happening with her partner, that their relationship is not in a good shape, but she is not ready to face the reality yet. As things usually go, it doesn’t matter if you want to accept the reality or not, life has a way of showing you that you can’t avoid what’s there even if you don’t want to acknowledge it. Soon Lexie finds herself lost, still unemployed and single so aunt Maya’s crazy idea of Lexie helping restoring the place where The Pet Boutique will be is not that crazy anymore. Maybe the hard work will help her find her path and place.
Mix an introvert with an extrovert in a small place with spiders and an overflowing-with-energy dog and the sparks are guaranteed. Add Maya, her children and Goldie, a psychic, and you will have characters with an amazing vibe that keep you alert and smiling the whole journey.
Suzie Carr has a way of portraying her characters that makes them alive, close and real; and the stories she comes up with are full of feelings and meaning. Add to that a nice dose of love and you have a book that will stay with you for days. A dog, a psychic, a woman tortured by her past and another one who is willing to give a second chance at love after being deeply burdened by it. Beautiful second characters, imperfect people full of love and a woman that makes this crazy bunch a team that will stick together forever.
Life can be chaotic and far from perfect but there are things that make all the heartache and the pain worth it and in order to find a safe harbor we have to be willing to put ourselves out there again and again, risking what we know and have for the promise of something new we deserve despite our mistakes.
*Received an ARC edition in exchange for an honest review*