Romance Novels Have Gone to the Dogs….

I was recently asked to review Sit! Stay! Speak! This is the debut novel by Annie England Noblin. Ms. Noblin teaches writing and communications at Arkansas State University. She also volunteers in animal rescue. She weaves her experiences in small town America throughout the novel.


To be clear, this book is a romance novel. It uses the tried and true format used by many a romance writer before: Addie Andrews moves to the Arkansas Delta after she inherited her late aunt’s home. Her plan is to fix the place up and sell it, but her rescue of an injured pit bull pup set her on an adventure that includes meeting Jasper Floyd, a former lawyer who’s now working the family farm.

Ms. Noblin’s writing style is crisp and clear. For those who enjoy the genre, this would make a comfortable read on a rainy weekend.

Annie England Noblin
Annie England Noblin

I, however, do not care for romance novels. Addie reads like the typical helpless heroine in need of a man to rescue her. UGH!  And while I’m sure the rescue of Felix the pup was supposed to be the hook that reeled me in, it kinda turned me off. In trying to make the book appealing to all animal lovers, Ms. Noblin glossed over the aspects of the very animal cruelty she is trying to use to engage the reader. It didn’t work for me.

I honestly think that using dogs to sell romance novels is a little over the top, but hey, dogs sell! So if you’re into buying (and reading) all things dog, this book is for you!

11 thoughts on “Romance Novels Have Gone to the Dogs….

  1. thanks for a good review. I sometimes like to read romance novels ( but I never read 50 shades of whatever I SWEAR), I like it when my heart and
    my eyes need a break from hard reality.

  2. If this is a commercially published romance they have writer’s guidelines (I used to be a member of Romance Writers of America) that set everything from content to pacing of the story (introduce main protagonist within x number of pages, introduce…) and that includes glossing over things like animal abuse, because it would turn a reader off.

    So it is a girl encounters new situation, girl meets boy, girl likes/dislikes in equal parts boy, girl loses boy, boy proves himself to girl and they live happily ever after. (more or less)

    I looked it up on Amazon (still pre-release) and it is a “cozy” which means easy to read, no overt sex or violence, something that’s supposed to be a comfortable read with an afterglow.

    There are good books written by dogs (The Chet and Bernie Mysteries) but even they do not get into hard-core animal abuse (although Chet has problems with mean people from time to time).

    It was nice of you to agree to give the author (her only book, I think) a read and an evaluation. The doggie in the window will help sell some books. It’s a hook. Just like vampires are a hook. 🙂

  3. There are some dog books I enjoyed that weren’t about animal rescue. Marley and Me comes to mind. Perhaps it’s autobiographical nature helps but it was all about the dog. There are a few others and some cat books too. Sounds like the dog was just a feature (or a hook as you say) rather than integral part of the plot.

  4. The cover of the book looks so cute which makes me want to read it but…..I am not interested in romance novel…..what a shame…..

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