Review: Christmas in Blue Dog Valley


For anyone who ever loved All Creatures Great and Small, Annie England Noblin’s newest novel–about a big city vet transplanted to a small Wisconsin town–is pure delight as we meet aging alpacas, stump-tailed cats, goats in tutus, a vagabond border collie named Kevin, and the people who think they own them. And through it all, Goldie McKenzie, DVM, navigating the small town of Blue Dog, Wisconsin.

Welcome to Blue Dog Valley. Home of the Fighting Elk. Population 3,411.

When Goldie McKenzie, DVM, vet to the L.A. pet stars, arrives from Los Angeles to Blue Dog Valley she realizes three things.

Never agree to upend your life when you’re hungover. Pot-belly pigs are not true farm animals. She’s going to need a warmer coat.

At first, Goldie is nothing more than a fish out of water with few clients and few friends. But after a less than pleasant encounter with a man whose dog is suffering from a possibly fatal case of bloat, she’s finally earning the trust and goodwill from her fellow Blue Dog Valley citizens. Her clientele grows to include the many farm animals in the town, including a horse named Large Marge, a cape-wearing therapy alpaca, and a yard full of sweater-wearing goats. Add in Kevin, the “worst sheepdog in Blue Dog Valley,” and a Sphinx cat named Airport, and Goldie is having the best time a vet can have. . . aside from the annoying attractive town grump, Cohen, who seems intent on making sure she always feels like an outsider.

With her newfound goodwill, Goldie comes up with an idea to reinvigorate the once flourishing Blue Dog Valley: a Christmas carnival. A petting zoo, pictures with Santa, a baking contest, what more could they want? After only some brief resistance from Cohen and his father, they begin the great plan to reinvigorate Blue Dog Valley.

Will Christmas be enough to salvage this dying town–and be enough to bring Goldie closer to a certain grumpy man?

Rating: 4-stars


Christmas in Blue Dog Valley is a charming new novel by Annie England Noblin. She has a passion for helping animals in need and it shows within her writing. I fell in love with all of the animals. Each of the animals had their own quirks that made the novel more interesting. The small-town vibe can be felt throughout the book. The town people at first give the new outsider, a female veterinarian, the hardest welcome.

It does remind me a lot of All Creatures Great and Small as well as that of Dr. Poll. The similarities between the Masterpiece show and this novel include: a vet from a big city moving to a small-town, the vet falling for a farmer, and the vet having to prove to the community he/she can do the job. But the difference is that the vet in this story is a female and not a male. The farmer is the male versus a female. It is interesting on how a similar story can be so different when the gender roles are switched. I laughed a lot as Goldie dealt with the various issues.

There is enough humor and drama spread within the tale. The only downside for me was the pacing of the story. It is a bit slow in pacing. Otherwise, it makes for a great adventure. I love the spin on the vet being a female and from a big city. It is definitely full of heart, humor, drama, and trouble. If you love the Christmas vibe, small-town drama, and animals then this is the best read! I did enjoy following Goldie as she waded through the intense, yet fun filled journey called Blue Dog Valley.

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