Novella Review: Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson


May Contain Spoilers


Christmas in Dogtown is a short, sweet read of about 30 pages.  Protagonist Resa is having a rough year.  She lost her job when her company downsized, her boyfriend dumped her shortly after, and now her house is about to go into foreclosure.  When her ailing uncle asks her to help with the family business during the holidays, she can’t refuse him.  Though she’d rather do just about anything  other than help him make sausage, she doesn’t have the heart to deny him when he needs her help.  She has avoided her rural hometown and hates going home with her tail between her legs, but family is family.


When she arrives back home, she learns that her childhood friend, Chan, has recently moved back to town.  She dreads getting the small town rumor mill cranking by seeing him again.  She has resisted efforts to force the two of them together, and she doesn’t want to give her relatives a reason to start trying to pair them up now.  When she sees him again, though, she’s helplessly attracted to him.  She’s only in town for a few weeks and doesn’t want to start anything, but does she really want to turn her back on the only positive thing in her life in a long time?

I  wish this had been a longer story, because  I really enjoy Suzanne Johnson’s writing style.  There’s a lot of humor here, and the pressure Resa feels from her family to hook up with Chan puzzles her.  She can’t understand why they are so hopeful that the two of them will be an item.  She doesn’t realize that there’s more at stake than she can possibly understand, and when she learns the truth behind her uncle’s illness, she has a big decision to make.  Does she go back to the city and ignore the history between her family and Chan’s, or does she trust her feelings and give him the chance he so obviously wants?

This is a sweet story with quirky characters , just a touch of paranormal, and lots of Christmas spirit.  

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours

Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson

Genre: Sweet Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Story Vault

Date of Publication: December 2012


Number of pages: 30

Word Count: approx. 11,000

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Book Description:

A woman who spent years escaping her rural past learns that Dogtown, Louisiana, hides more family secrets than just the recipe for boudin blanc…..

Resa Madere’s on the verge of losing it all. The boyfriend’s gone. The job’s history. Her beloved house is on the brink of foreclosure. She’ll do anything to save it—even spend a long Christmas holiday working in St. James Parish, Louisiana, helping her uncle run the family meat business. But the community of Dogtown, which has been home for seven generations of the Madere and Caillou families, has deep roots and deeper secrets. For Resa, going home is one thing.

Getting out might not be so easy.

Short Excerpt:

“You are stupid,” Resa told her reflection in the tiny, scratched mirror of the White Castle’s rose-pink bathroom. “Stupid, ridiculous, and absurd.”

She’d been wrestling with her curly black hair for a half hour, and the brown eyes that stared back at her from beneath freshly plucked brows and carefully applied eyeliner looked more jittery than sexy. “And idiotic.”

First, it had been almost a week since Chan had asked her to the Saturday night community dance, popping the question almost shyly as they hacked at the bodies of gigantic dead fish. They’d both been covered in blood and smelled like they’d been rolling in bait, which should have tipped her off that anything in Dogtown reeking of romance, well, reeked.

Second, her potential date had left immediately after asking her out so he could catch an alligator that had eaten somebody’s poodle in one of those backwater houses near the swamp. He burned rubber out of the Madere’s driveway after making sure he had enough duct tape to wrap around the gator’s jaws. Adequate duct tape was not an attribute she’d ever sought in a man.

About the Author:

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance (under the name Susannah Sandlin) from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series.






One thought on “Novella Review: Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson

  • December 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    This sounds sweet and short. I love a book with humor, and I am glad you liked the author’s writing style.

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