Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Earnest

Earnest by Kristin Von Kreisler

Publication Date: 01/26/2016
Publisher: Kensington
Imprint:Kensington Books
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: 256

(Received for an honest review from Kensington Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Kristin Von Kreisler on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Earnest, courtesy of Kensington Book's tumblr page.


From the bestselling author of An Unexpected Grace comes a richly insightful novel of matters of the heart—both human and canine—in an uplifting story of love, loyalty, and new beginnings…Earnest. It’s the perfect name for a sweet, eager-to-please yellow Labrador retriever. Anna and her boyfriend Jeff fall for him the minute they see those guileless eyes gazing up from behind his gate at Seattle’s Best Friends Shelter. In no time at all, they’re a pack of three, with Earnest happily romping in their condo on Gamble Island.

During the day, Earnest keeps Anna company in her flower shop, located in a historic gingerbread Victorian on the island’s main street. Anna hopes to buy and restore the house, once owned by her beloved grandmother. But when that dream is threatened by Jeff’s actions, Anna’s trust is shattered. For so long, the house has encompassed all her ideals of security, home, and family. Yet Earnest’s devotion to his two people, and theirs to him, make it impossible for them to walk away from each other. And when a crisis hits, it’s Earnest—honest, stubborn, and uncannily wise—who will help Anna reconcile her past and embrace what the future can bring…


Author Kristin Von Kreisler brings readers a tale of love both human and canine in her latest novel, Earnest. This is a heartfelt story about two people at a crossroads in their relationship and how the love of their pet changes everything. Kreisler's knowledge of human nature and canine antics is inspiring. Readers who love both a good love story and a story about the relationship between people and their pets will love this one. A good story about finding the path that leads you to those you love.

What I liked:

Jeff and Anna have been together for awhile and are considering taking their relationship in a new direction. Anna wants kids and a home to call her own. She has her own successful business but there is more on her mind than just the flowers in her shop. Jeff is an up and coming architect who needs just the right project to get his career headed in the right direction. Both characters are looking to their own needs and agendas. Where they come together is in the love of their rescued dog named Earnest. Earnest is the glue that holds this couple together. 

What I found interesting in the beginning of the story is that Anna looked at adopting Earnest as a precursor to having kids and getting Jeff to propose, while he looked at Earnest as a buddy or a just a companion of sorts. They both obviously love him dearly. As a character Earnest captivates the story. I appreciated the fact that the author didn't give us too much information. Earnest remained a normal dog. He didn't have moments where his thoughts were projected into the story or where he became more than what he was... he was a dog and a great one. A totally lovable character that epitomised the relationship between pets and people. The best part of the book by far. 

Kreisler did a wonderful job of allowing readers to see how the relationship between humans and canines develops. She used her knowledge of dogs and even breeds to bring Earnest to life. Earnest is a Labrador Retriever and Kreisler showed all of the qualities of the breed by making Earnest loyal, smart and energetic. She also excelled at showing the human frailties and faults of her other characters. Where some might consider Anna and Jeff's characters to be self-serving and even shallow, I found them to be realistic and an unfortunate parallel to a lot of young people today.

What I didn't like:

This was a good story. The main premise was a bit over the top. Jeff and Anna end up splitting up for a while because of the fact that Anna wants to buy the Victorian house which belonged to her grandmother and Jeff wants to tear it down and build something new. Anna has her heart set on owning the building that houses both her flower shop, "Plant Parenthood" and the shops of two other friends. It belongs in the family and it symbolises to her, home and security. Jeff has a totally different view of what it can do to boost his career if he razes the building and redevelops the area. It would mean success and pride. But neither seems to want to consider the others stance on the subject. 

I felt like the author made a bit of a mountain out of a mole hill. Not sure this is something that would be a deal breaker in a relationship. Communication was obviously the issue with these two and were it not for the mutual love of their dog, they wouldn't have survived it. But the end is one of those that is tried and true and tied with a ribbon. A little too pat and perfect, but still a good story of love and devotion to pets and how our stupidity often causes our pets to suffer. 

Bottom Line:

Kreisler did a good job with certain aspects of the story while missing the mark a little bit on others. I loved Earnest. Any dog lover with fall for him in a heartbeat. I appreciated Kreisler's knowledge of the breed and that she didn't make Earnest a superdog with special canine powers. Her other characters were a bit static. They were not as well developed but probably pretty realistic. Today's society is all about what I need and what I want. It was nice to see these two characters come together in their love of their pet. A quaint ending that was a little predictable but I stilled loved the fact that Earnest got the family he deserved.

Earnest is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Kristin von Kreisler writes articles and bestselling books about animals. To get her stories, she followed a grizzly bear for a week, went hang gliding to see how an eagle felt soaring through the sky, and watched in awe as millions of bats emerged from a cave at dusk like clouds of smoke.

After writing three acclaimed nonfiction books, Kristin made a smashing fiction debut with the bestselling novel An Unexpected Grace. Kristin's books have been translated into twelve languages.

She lives on an island in Washington with her husband and their rescued German shepherd, Bridget. From her desk she watches ospreys and seals, and every day an otter wanders through the yard to go for a swim. Visit her on Facebook or