I am delighted to feature the first of my Christmas Reads
This is the heart-warming, inspirational story of one cheeky little dog and his beloved sister, two grumpy cats, and a family at Christmas. Bertie is alone, devastated after his beloved sister and fellow beagle Molly is adopted, leaving him behind. When Bertie is taken in by the Green family, it seems he's finally found a place to call home...Yet Bertie swiftly realises that the kind and loving Green family is in crisis. After a tragedy two years ago, they've never recovered - and as Christmas approaches, grief is pulling them apart. Never has a four-legged friend been more in need - and brave, warm-hearted Bertie must rise to the challenge. Can he enlist the help of hostile felines Kitty and Rico to help him find Molly - and can bring the Green family back together again, all in time for Christmas?
Here are my thoughts..
After the initial few pages I completely forgot that I was reading this book from a dog's perspective. Of course, I had to hide the fact that this was a book about a D.O.G - Jaffa isn't over enamoured of his canine compatriots. But as ever, I have a cunning plan and a nifty little book bag to hide the book from Jaffa's suspicious cat's eyes.
It must be said that I fell in love with Bertie from the beginning of this charming story which shares all that's good, and sometimes, bad about pet ownership.
The story starts off quite grim with Bertie and his sister Molly sharing a rather unpleasant existence with a number of other dogs and living with an owner who, since his wife died, can't really be bothered about any of them. When the dogs are taken to an animal shelter to be re-homed you can't help but form an emotional attachment to this brave little Beagle who cares so much for his sister Molly that you feel the loss when they are separated and taken away to live with new people.
The story is warm and compassionate and sensitively portrays the world from Bertie’s unique perspective so that we get a distinctively canine view of the world with all its inherent dangers and complications. Bertie is such a lovely exuberant character that it’s hard not to fall completely in love with him. His liveliness is quite infectious and the goodness of his spirit not only helps to heal a fractured family and restore hope to a sad little boy, but also shows the power of friendship, the value of loyalty and the overwhelming bond of love which exists between pets and their owners.
However, much as I loved Bertie the Beagle, I was especially drawn towards the two dastardly felines, Kitty and Rico, who show that cats are shrewd operators when it comes to the small matter of surveillance.
Bertie's Gift is a lovely heartwarming Christmas Read, just perfect reading for all animals lovers be they canine or feline..
Best Read with ...A spiced gingerbread latte and a delicious bite of stollen, heavy on the marzipan..
Follow on the author on Twitter @BertiesGift
My thanks to Rosie at the Hodder Press Office for my review copy of Bertie's Gift