The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is filled with all things Christmas, along with love, romance, and rescue dogs. I could sit by the fireplace, sipping my hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream all day while embraced by such a wonderful small town.


The Description

Publication Date: October 17, 2023

The ultimate holiday gift from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs: a delightful novel about a Christmas transport of rescue puppies that’s guaranteed to warm readers’ hearts.

Brenda Malloy wants nothing to do with Christmas ever again. Last year, Brenda and her husband rushed their beloved dog Tim to the emergency vet on Christmas eve. The good news: Tim survived after the vet cleared the obstruction—a pair of women’s lace undies. The bad news: the undies were not Brenda’s.

A year after the breakup, Brenda has put her life back together. She’s trained for a marathon, is writing a children’s novel, and she’s found purpose and healing as a volunteer with a dog rescue organization in Houston, Texas. The rescue partners with a program in Avalon, New York—a small, snowy town deep in the Catskills. Now Brenda is arranging the transport of rescued dogs from Houston to Avalon—just in time for a merry Christmas with their forever families. Brenda’s friends worry about her driving a van two thousand miles with twelve dogs in crates, but she shrugs off their concern. How hard can it be? She knows the way, and she’s just looking to escape the Christmas overload for a while.

But a blinding snowstorm, an escaped mutt, and a life-saving encounter with Adam Bellamy—a single dad and paramedic—means Brenda has to stay in Avalon longer than she planned. As she drops off each precious pup at their new homes, some of the comfort and joy of the season begins to creep up on Brenda despite her determination to avoid the holidays. Perhaps you can bring Christmas into your heart after all…if you have the right furry friends to guide the way.

The Review

What more would you want at any time of year but a Christmas book from a favorite author filled with lots of rescue dogs finding their forever homes? How about reuniting us unexpectedly with characters we’ve met before in Author Susan Wiggs’  The Lakeshore Chronicles series in the picturesque town of Avalon, New York? This book is filled with good feelings, family, friends, love, romance, and more, especially when Christmas is front and center and often over the top in its celebrations.

I loved The Twelve Dogs of Christmas from the minute I started it and savored the words as I read. There was some sadness and sorrow, but there were so many touching and warm moments to offset the pain.

Brenda is anti-Christmas due to some sad and heartbreaking events that have happened to her during that time of year since she was a young girl and also more recently. She’s tossed into situations with people who love Christmas and want to share their good cheer and the magic of Christmas with her. This is her and Adam’s story, and it caught her off-guard when she’s two-thousand miles away from home and seemingly living in a snow globe that embraces all things Christmas!

There are several storylines within the overall arc of the story. Even the sad parts seem filled with good feelings and holiday vibes. The characters all have a depth to them that molds them into who they are. There are dreams reached for and attained with hard work and actions that take them out of their comfort zones and make them want to try for a different life. Will love conquer all? Will the magic of Christmas change Brenda’s thinking and actions at this time of year, especially when she and Adam seem to have instant chemistry when they unexpectedly meet?

The story had a wonderful flow and was vivid with descriptions. I could picture the town and its businesses, the lake, the decorations, the dogs, and the cold. I could taste some of the goodies and feel the wonder of Christmas. The story has lovely closure in several ways and gave me the happily ever after I always look for in a contemporary or holiday romance. The epilogue was beautifully crafted, leaving me sighing and hoping that one day, we’ll return to this small town and see how everyone is faring! The cover definitely drew me in, as did the title.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is filled with all things Christmas, along with love, romance, and rescue dogs. I could sit by the fireplace, sipping my hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream all day while embraced by such a wonderful small town.Buy Links

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About The AuthorAfter graduating from Harvard University, Susan Wiggs became a math teacher. Her first novel was published in 1987. She has written numerous bestsellers since then, including The Lost and Found Bookshop, Home Before Dark, Family Tree, Summer by the Sea, and Map of the Heart. Her notable series include the Lakeshore Chronicles and the Bella Vista Chronicles. Her novels have been published in dozens of languages in many countries around the globe. Her latest titles are The Lost and Found Bookshop and The Oysterville Sewing Circle, published by William Morrow Books. She loves connecting with readers on social media.



JoAnne Weiss, nee Montalbano, was born and raised in NYC until moving to CT with her family when she was 16 and she's never left. Married for 41 years with one grown son, she works in an elementary school office where she's been since it opened in 2003. Prior to that, she was an accountant in several corporations before becoming a stay at home mom for 12 years. JoAnne enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her family, and extended family as well as with friends. She enjoys cooking and rarely uses a recipe the way it was intended but instead uses them and cooking shows to give her new ideas and suggestions. JoAnne has a huge bucket list of places she'd like to visit but has been lucky enough to travel to England, Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and many states in the U.S. including Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Maine among others. Some of JoAnne's favorite genres include contemporary romance, chick-lit, romantic suspense, and historical romances including regency and those set in the west. JoAnne is on several author's street teams and enjoys interacting with many of them on Facebook as well as reading their newsletters. She has been lucky enough to meet some of her favorite authors among them Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Meg Tilly, Beatriz Williams, and Marie Bostwick. JoAnne took a road trip with her sister in the fall of 2019 and visited Nora Roberts' bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland for an authors' signing. She hopes to do more of this in the future. JoAnne leaves reviews for all books she reads on Goodreads and her reviews can be found at JoAnne currently reviews for - and which is on hiatus. Previously she reviewed for which has since closed. Payment is in the form of receiving free books to read and review. Her mantra is too many books and not enough time!


  1. JoAnne, you are a writer’s writer! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my first Christmas book in 10 years. I’m beyond thrilled with this thoughtful and beautifully-written review. Happy Holidays! Susan


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The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is filled with all things Christmas, along with love, romance, and rescue dogs. I could sit by the fireplace, sipping my hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream all day while embraced by such a wonderful small town.5-STAR REVIEW: THE TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS by Susan Wiggs