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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Ellie is heavily pregnant. She and Max are happy together and they are looking forward to fun and cosy holidays with friends and family in their beloved Dog & Duck. The baby is supposed to come in the new year, but while a snowstorm is raging outside Ellie's waters break. Ellie is delighted with her little one. She and Max have moved in together and while taking care of their baby they also each continue with their busy lives. Ellie is still the landlady of the Dog & Duck and together with being a mother this is keeping her on her toes.

When Ellie's best friend announces she's planning to get married Ellie is over the moon, as it means she'll be able to organize a wedding in her precious Dog & Duck. However, making arrangements for someone else inevitably leads to a reassessment of her own situation. Ellie and Max aren't married, but maybe they should be engaged as well? So far agreeing to become husband and wife hasn't gone too well. Does the usual turmoil in their everyday lives prevent them from ever getting to that stage? Will love triumph at the Dog & Duck?

Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck is another wonderful Dog and Duck story. I love Ellie. She's strong, smart, capable and levelheaded. There isn't a challenge she backs away from and her kindness knows no bounds. Ellie cares about people and she's always there for anyone who needs her, which makes the Dog and Duck books absolutely heartwarming. She and Max have amazing chemistry, but spending time together proves to be difficult with a little one, numerous house guests and plenty of problems to solve. I was curious to find out how they would tackle that and this kept me glued to the pages.

Jill Steeples writing has a nice fast pace and a great easy flow. I love the feelgood factor of her stories. They always manage to put a big smile on my face. I especially like the way she writes about friendship, family and community. Her stories are all about the interaction between people and she's incredibly skilled at describing their relationships. The dialogue is matter-of-fact, there's plenty of entertainment and charm and every story has many unexpected twists and turns. I love reading about weddings and Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck is a fantastic story about this beautiful topic. I really enjoyed this gorgeous story and highly recommend the Dog and Duck series.


If you love reading about small towns with a tight community that provides plenty of action and romance you will love the Dog and Duck series. I'd advise you to read the books in their correct order if you want to have the complete story.

About Jill Steeples

Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

From an early age she fell in love with the fabulously funny romances of Jilly Cooper, and vowed, one day, she would have a go at writing one of her own.

Jill loves writing short stories, particularly those with a twist in the tail, and her work has appeared in popular women’s magazines around the world and in a number of charity anthologies.

She is the author of seven romantic comedy novels.


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

I live with my husband and grown-up children in a small market town in Bedfordshire in the UK. I’ve had a varied career working in a number of administrative roles and even as a fashion model in my much younger years. Now, I’m very fortunate to be able to write full-time. When I’m not writing I enjoy getting out in the countryside with my dog, baking and reading.

2) What’s the inspiration behind the Dog & Duck, is it based on a real pub?

I was a regular visitor to pubs from a very early age. There is a picture of me at about 18 months old waiting standing outside a pub with my older cousin. We’d be given a bottle of pop and a packet of crisps while we waited for the grown-ups to emerge, happy and full of stories. It wouldn’t happen now, but it was the norm back then! The Dog and Duck is based on a number of different pubs that I have visited over the years. I wanted to create an old-fashioned welcoming pub reminiscent of times gone by.

3) Can you describe the main characters of the Dog and Duck books in six words each?

Ellie - Capable, determined, helpful, stubborn, funny and romantic.

Max- Practical, confident, successful, loyal, sexy and rich!

Katy - Feisty, spontaneous, emotional, vulnerable, fun and loving.

4) What do you like the most about writing about weddings?

Well, it’s been a long time since my own wedding so it’s lovely to indulge in a few fantasies about dresses, and flowers, and all the lovely paraphernalia that come with preparing a wedding. In Wedding Bells I wanted to create the perfect english country wedding for my character.

5) What’s the best thing about living in a small town and do you use your own experiences for your stories?

It’s the sense of community that comes with living in a small town, the familiarity of the buildings and the friendly faces. With that familiarity comes a sense of belonging and security. I do draw on my experiences, but hopefully disguise them enough so they’re not recognisable.

6) You love romantic stories, why do you like them so much?

I love to read them because they offer a sense of escapism from real life. I love immersing myself in the characters’ worlds, knowing that there will be a happy ending even if the journey can be somewhat tortuous. I love to finish reading a romance with a warm satisfying feeling and that’s why I like to write romances too.

7) What does true love mean to you?

It means putting someone else’s needs and desires before your own.

8) How did your writing journey start?

I joined a creative writing class because I’d toyed with the idea of writing a novel for years. It was great to be with a group of people who were all just starting out on their writing journey too. We were able to encourage and support each other along the way. My tutor persuaded me to start with short stories which was a great piece of advice. Not long after, I started submitting my stories to magazines and when I had some accepted for publication it gave me the confidence to take my writing more seriously.

9) Where do you write?

I write curled up on the sofa in my living room, overlooking the garden, with my english pointer Amber at my side.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I’m currently working on the fourth and final book in the Dog and Duck series. It’s lovely to be revisiting the characters but bittersweet knowing that I’ll be saying a final farewell to them. After that, I’m not too sure, so watch this space for news on my next projects.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Summer at The Dog & Duck, a Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck notebook and fridge magnet and champagne truffles from Jill Steeples.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. It sounds like a lovely book. I wish we had local pubs like the Dog & Duck in New Zealand.

  2. Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck sounds like a charming story depicting English village life filled with warmth, love and humour.

  3. I love feel good stories and this does sound wonderful!

  4. Sounds like a book with a delightful period flavor!

  5. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

  6. As you probably already know, I like reading books set in small towns, they are my favorite. So I feel like this series is for me!

  7. Karen hutchinsonMarch 7, 2018 at 5:32 PM

    Sounds good - like a lighter read sometimes ( normally read crime fiction !)

  8. Sounds good can't wait to read it.

  9. I've not heard of the Dog and Duck series before but it certainly sounds like something that I'd enjoy reading.

  10. Hurray! More Dog and Duck fun!!!

  11. Beautiful cover, makes me want to dig in!

  12. Definitely my type of read. Sounds fab!

  13. I've not read any of your books yet, but they sound charming, so I'm putting them on my to-read list ASAP

  14. This sounds like a wonderful series, can't wait to read it.

  15. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  16. I've not read any of your books yet, but I do love series, esp when you're drawn into a story thats so vivid

  17. Charming! I'd love to read Jill's books. They sound so lovely.

  18. You are a new author to me. I see that you have written 7 romantic comedy novels. I look forward to reading all.

  19. I'd like to visit the Dog & Duck.

  20. This book sounds like a lovely book, with a wonderful prize ♡

  21. Sounds like a wonderfully romantic read! Also I love the quirky name "Dog & Duck" for the pub!

  22. I love that silhouette of the couple on the front cover really sums up a wedding day

  23. I love that Jill was inspired by Jilly Cooper, this sounds like a fun read!

  24. These books look like that would be a great read on the beach! Need to take them up north with me.

  25. Wow, this puts a lot of my favourite themes into one book: snow, weddings, friendship and love. With a dog thrown in if the cover is anything to go by. Sounds a great read and has a "pick me up and read me cover". It's stylish but fun.

  26. Michelle FergusonMarch 29, 2018 at 9:07 PM

    This book looks like a lovely cosy read, would enjoy reading this snuggled up in bed

  27. Oh this sounds so good. I LOVE the cover!!! I have to add to my TBR list!!!!

  28. they sound like books my mom would love! now my I'm a Paranormal Romances type but she love your type of books so I'm hoping to win them for her.

  29. Looks a great book I would be very interested in reading it.

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