The Lovely and the Lost, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

In the note at the end of her most recent book, The Lovely and the Lost, author Jennifer Lynn Barnes acknowledges the debt this story owes to two of her earlier series: The Naturals and Raised by Wolves. Of course, lots of writers recycle their own work, although I was a little taken aback to see it so openly addressed... but, hey: at least she's reworking her very best stuff.

The heroine of The Lovely and the Lost is Kira Bennett, who was discovered in the woods as a small child, nearly feral and with no memory of her earlier life. Adopted by the woman who found her, Kira is now a teenager and fully committed to the family business: raising elite search-and-rescue dogs. When her adoptive grandfather asks the family to search for a little girl who disappeared in a National Park, Kira is determined to find her, even if the hunt brings up memories that she desperately wants to suppress.

The Lovely and the Lost is immediately absorbing, although the final product felt a little underbaked. The romantic storyline and most of the mystery elements are left dangling, and several of the side characters are only half-developed. (This is not true of the dogs. The dog characters are GREAT.) There is plenty of material here to justify a series, though, so here's hoping that Barnes writes some future installments to tidy up loose ends.
Posted by: Julianka


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