Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan is a wonderful novel that encompasses love, loss, grief, moving on, and even more importantly the amazing connection between dogs and their humans. I first discovered Jacqueline Sheehan when I read Now & Then which I loved (my review) and so of course I was excited to read this one. Jacqueline is fast becoming a favorite author of mine as I loved Picture This as well. My only regret is that I didn’t read Lost & Found first as Picture This is a sequel to it. I have to say though that I wasn’t confused or lost at all not having read it; it just would have been nice to have the background on a few things. That said Picture This can stand alone with no problem.
The novel opens with Rocky still living on Peak’s Island where she retreated after the sudden and unexpected death of her husband Bob. While she hasn’t been accepted by the community as a whole yet she has made a few good friends in Tess and Melissa. Not to mention she has her constant and most faithful companion – her black lab Cooper. Back in her old life she was a university psychologist and while she loved her career she just can’t see herself ever going back to ‘what was’ and all those memories. So she makes a huge decision to stay on the Island and buy an old ramshackle of a house that nobody else wants.
While Rocky still mourns her husband’s passing she has over time opened her heart to Hill who had been her archery instructor. She wonders though if she really can ever love again and when she learns something about Hill that hurts her she thinks that she’ll never trust anyone again. So when the call comes from eighteen year old Natalie telling of a horrific life in the foster system and then discovering that Rocky’s husband is her father or so she thinks, it seems to be the perfect outlet for Rocky to focus on something other than herself and since Rocky always has had a hard time turning away anyone who needs help she invites Natalie to come and stay with her until they sort it all out. As more and more secrets and lies come to light things become dangerous for Rocky and all those she now holds dear.
I really enjoyed the characters in this novel for different reasons. I liked Rocky as she seemed to be such a genuine person and her love for animals endeared her to me immediately. My favorite character by far of course was the dog Cooper. Being such a dog lover myself I love how the author involves Cooper in every aspect of the story but the thing that struck me the most is the truth in how a pet helps us heal when grief strikes us. They help us to get up each day when we think we just can’t go on. They love us unconditionally and are always there with a lick and such excitement. They are definitely one of life’s greatest pleasures!
I do want to say though that while this book looks like it may be a light read by the cover, it really isn’t. It deals with some pretty heavy topics and is quite dark in some places but it is a great read that had me hooked until the very end. I can’t wait to go back and read Lost & Found now and will definitely read anything else that Jacqueline Sheehan writes in the future!
I read Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan for her book tour with TLC Book Tours so be sure and check out the other tour stops to see what everyone else is saying about the book. You can find Jacqueline on her website and Facebook page and you can pick up your own copy of Picture This here in the US and here in Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours via the Publisher/Edelweiss. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.