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Nigel: my family and other dogs by Monty Don

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

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Susan Holmes

This is an absolutely delightful book, ideal for dog lovers and gardeners alike.

Nigel is of course the main focus here but other canine characters are described.

Monty tells lovely stories from his childhood, including his brush with the local game keepers who didn’t care for dogs in the wood where they were rearing pheasants. We learn that Monty had his dog with him at university, but I was rather shocked to read that Monty went to only about half a dozen lectures during his three years there.

We learn the history of the breed of golden retrievers and man’s connection with dogs from hounds used for hunting to domesticated pets.

It is enchanting to watch Nigel grow from a seven week old puppy to the confident friend we have all loved on his TV appearances. I love the description of the breakfast ritual in which Nigel has to wait patiently for Monty to finish his meal first.

Then the terrible accident when Nigel leapt up but twisted his body causing a spinal disc to explode. He was very severely injured, but happily made a miraculous recovery.

Monty’s deep love and respect for his dogs shines through the narrative. It’d be a real privilege to have Monty as your owner!

Derek Johnson

Monty Don leads us slowly and delightfully around his garden in the company of Nigel and the other family dogs. The whole book is a delight to read going smoothly from one subject to the other and yet seamlessly leading back to the main subject of dogs. His interesting diversions on how to garden, train dogs etc. will make sure you read and re-read this book until it becomes almost man's best friend.

Cynthia Warmington

I loved the book; it had an easy meandering feel to it. A book that could be put down, picked up, haphazardly, with no problem in continuing the story. As an animal lover there were some painful chapters but the love Monty has for all his dogs’ shines through.

Primarily the story is about Nigel his golden retriever and although there are many tales of Nigel, there were many more about his other dogs. I don’t think he would be able to exist without his four legged pals. I felt as though I were a visitor in his garden, sharing the work done there and being able to be friends with his dogs. I wanted it to continue but sadly books as in life have endings. It will now live on the coffee table for others to browse and enjoy.

Joy Byron

Nigel is a story of love, companionship and at times heartbreak. Monty Don takes us through the history of his life with dogs. He writes in a compelling style - you actually feel his anguish when, at the age of seven, he is sent away to boarding school and only sees the beloved family dogs in the school holidays. His love of the countryside is equally strong.

At University Gretl, a yellow Labrador, goes too and accompanies him to lectures, the pub and in fact everywhere. Nobody seems to mind!

Nigel, a golden retriever born in 2008, is the star of the book and likened to Bill Clinton for his ability to command attention and affection from everyone around him. With Nigel we explore the gardens of Longmeadow that have been transformed lovingly and painstakingly from a virtual wilderness by Monty and his wife Sarah.

Over the course of the book, we come to know all the dogs - past and present - of the Don family and share the heartbreak of every loss. Along the way, we also learn a lot about dogs in general.

One message is loud and clear: Monty Don and his dogs are as inseparable as Monty Don and gardens!

Jean Nicholl

A wonderful, warm story of Monty's love for all the dogs he and his family have lived with.

Nigel is very special but they have all been much loved animals.

I enjoyed the book.