One Good Thing by Alexandra Potter

Liv’s husband has left her for his (much younger) yoga instructor. Needing a new start, she buys a run-down cottage in the Yorkshire Dales, where she spent many happy holidays with her grandparents. At first she feels lost and alone, wondering if she has made a huge mistake, when a chance encounter leads her to adopt a rescue dog called Harry. On their daily walks they meet Valentine who has shut himself away since his wife developed Alzheimer’s and had to go into a home, and eight-year-old Stanley who sees the world outside his gate as a noisy and scary place. Harry is the catalyst that enables them to engage with the wider world again. Liv may have rescued Harry, but Harry helps everyone else.

After a bit of a slow start, where I was not immediately gripped, the story picked up and I read the rest in one sitting. One Good Thing features a cast of well drawn and believable characters, and a photogenic setting in the vividly evoked Yorkshire countryside. There is a subtle balance between the sad and touching moments, and the fun and hilarity, but it is never overly sentimental. I particularly enjoyed the chaos of the house renovations, the day trip to Whitby, and the various outings Liv takes with Maya trying to help her prepare for her exams.

Having enjoyed a lot of Alexandra Potter’s earlier books, I thought I’d give One Good Thing a try. This is a more mature work where the sole focus of the narrative is not on a romantic relationship, but features a cast of characters who are all suffering in one way or another and just need ‘one good thing’ to help set them on the path to enjoying life again. Although I am more of a cat person, I thought Harry was wonderful, absolutely ‘man’s best friend’. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.