Last week, I saw my cat sprawled across my inside clothes drying hoist and it struck me that dogs seem to abound in romantic fiction, but I haven’t read many books where cats get their turn in the limelight. Dog lovers may say there’s a reason for this, but (although I have a massive dog) I’m very much a cat person and I think it’s high time cats get their page space.
So… I promise you that in the near future, you’ll see a book from me with a prominent cat (or two) as a character. But in the meantime, I started thinking about animals in romance novels. Not everyone likes reading about pets/animals in fiction but I very much do. Maybe it’s cos I trust and understand a character more if they are an animal lover as well. Maybe it’s cos I recall my mum reading me all the Beatrix Potter books when I was little and I love the way she gave the animals personalities of their own. When I see my cat and my dog (and the ducks we used to have) interact, it’s easy to see where Beatrix Potter got her inspiration.
My cat is probably a tenth of my dog’s size but he is most definitely the boss amongst the animals in our house. We also have a budgie in a cage and I reckon he’s plucky enough to take both the dog and the cat on. When we had ducks they used to chase my massive dog around the backyard!
A few of my favourite authors that write about animals in their contemporary romances are Kristan Higgins, Kandy Shepherd and Cathryn Hein. If you haven’t checked these ladies out yet, what are you WAITING for!?
Kristan’s books ALL (at least I’m pretty sure) feature a loveable mutt. Her first book I read was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE and it is still my fave of hers I think. It’s been a while but if my memory serves me right, the little dog in this book plays a bit of a part in getting the hero and heroine together. And I remember one awesome scene where they are both out at night searching together for the dog – okay, my memory sucks and it might not be exactly as I say it, but trust me, all Kristan’s books have the cutest dogs!
Then there’s Kandy Shepherd – an Aussie author who I have much in common with. We both love cats and are DIE-HARD Diet Coke fans. She has a number of books out but my two fave are her HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS and LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD. It’s been a while since I read these too – man I need a reread session – but once again the dogs in these books are central to the relationships between the heroes and heroines. And they’re just downright fun books to read!
Last but not least is another Aussie author Cathryn Hein. Sadly, her books are only available in Australia and New Zealand (although hopefully that will change soon) but she just writes the BEST animal characters ever. She writes mostly about horses – and very much gives them their own special personalities, but Cathryn’s most recent release – HEARTLAND – had a crazy goose called HONK and he was a delight to read about!
I’m very much in the camp that likes reading about animals in romance novels and I’d love to hear any more suggestions for other authors that include animals!
Also, do let me know… are you a fan of animals in romance novels? Why or why not?!