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Review: Happy Place by Emily Henry

Title: Happy Place

Author: Emily Henry
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 400 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (MT, CA, ME)

SummaryA couple who broke up months ago pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.
They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?

Review: Emily Henry does it again. I get sucked into her books from page one and find time slipping away as I get lost in her characters and stories.

I liked the way this story bounced around a bit between REAL LIFE (now in Maine) and other times (California, Indiana, Montana). The other times give background to Harriet's life, her friendships, her family, her anxieties. Other times help us know how the group became friends, lovers, and a group. We get peeks into their families and life goals. 

The chapters set in the present show the reader how all of the before is coming together and falling apart at the same time. We see the misunderstandings (both individual and group) as well as the hopes and dreams of each of the characters.

What I liked best is that in the end, it's about figuring out what will make each of them happy, admitting it to themselves (and others), and acting on it. I know we can't be 100% happy all the time, but this book made me think about the goal of finding happy each day; in the big or the small.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Big Summer Book--400 pages
  • Literary Escapes--Montana

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