Happy Place by Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s new book Happy Place is a sweet and steamy love story with a happily ever after. After several difficult months, Harriet is ready for some time away in her happy place. Every year she and her best friends spend a week together in a cottage in Maine. They leave the world behind for just a while.
This year is complicated for Harriet. Her fiancé broke up with her without much explanation and she still hasn’t told her friends. To make matters worse, her ex, Wyn, is part of her friend group. He’s agreed to skip the trip this year to give Harriet some space. She knows her friends will have questions she doesn’t know how to answer.
When Harriet arrives at the cottage she discovers the situation is much worse than she thought. It will be their last year visiting the cottage, because the owner has sold the house. Because it’s their last trip, one of the other friends pressured Wyn into attending, too. Not awkward at all, right?
Harriet and Wyn agree this last week at the cabin has to be perfect. To keep the spotlight off of their relationship, they will pretend they’re still together until after the vacation. There’s no need to fake the chemistry between them, that’s definitely still there. It’s much harder to hold down the hurt and anger to make sure their friends don’t suspect they’re over.
The story alternates between flashbacks to Harriet and Wyn’s romance and their present day charade. The book slowly builds the love story and raises the stakes. One of Henry’s strengths is writing three-dimensional, flawed characters we actually care about. You’ll cheer for Harriet and Wyn, and root for their impossible (or maybe not so impossible) love story. Happy Place just might make you think about your happiness and what you might change in your life to find what feels right to you.
Check out these heartfelt reads while you wait for your copy of Happy Place, or if you’re looking for more happily-ever-afters that will make you cheer for love.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
This is a fabulous story of second and third chances, and lasting, true love. Georgie McCool has a lot going for her. She’s a respected television writer making good money writing funny scenes with her best friend, Seth. She’s married to a wonderful, supportive man who happens to be one of the best dads on the planet to their two girls. Just before Christmas, Seth and Georgie are offered an opportunity to pitch their own show, the show they’ve been dreaming of for years. The only catch is they need to write four episodes and submit them just after Christmas.
Georgie decides to try to make her dream happen, which means canceling her family’s trip to Nebraska to visit her husband Neal’s family. Neal decides he’s going home anyway, and taking their girls. Georgie can’t disagree — she’s going to be holed up writing for hours every day, anyway. It doesn’t feel good to sit in her empty house knowing she’s missing Christmas with her family, though. To make things worse, Neal seems to be dodging her calls.
Georgie’s mom thinks the two have broken up, and Georgie starts to wonder if she’s right. Then she makes a call from her mom’s landline, using a rotary phone, and the Neal who answers is straight out of the ’90s — literally. Somehow, Georgie connects with her husband back in college, when the two were figuring out if they would stay together or not. Can Georgie figure out what she needs to be happy in the present and future by connecting with her husband in the past? This is a quick and delightful read. Like Happy Place, it got me thinking about what changes over time, what remains the same and what happiness means to me.
Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
I loved this one so much I might read it again when I’m done with this blog! Georgina is a warm person who is good to others and loves dogs. She’s been a little off-center since she lost her dad, though. She has good friends and she manages to pay the rent. However, she left university and has no serious job prospects or pension (which her mother reminds her of OFTEN).
Her life veers completely off the rails when she loses her job and catches her boyfriend cheating in the same day. Out of work and skint, she takes the first job that opens up, tending a brand new bar. One catch — one of the owners is her first love, Lucas, and he doesn’t remember her. Meanwhile, her ex just doesn’t want to let go. He is bordering on criminal in his efforts to change her mind.
I loved Georgina! If you like fiction where you just want to sit down and have a glass of wine with the main character, this one’s for you. You’ll enjoy seeing her get the happily ever after she deserves. Available with no holds as an ebook or audiobook on Hoopla.
Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake
Another knockout sapphic romance from Blake! I loved her novel Delilah Green Doesn’t Care so much I preordered this romantic spin-off about Delilah’s step-sister set in the same small Oregon town. Astrid is a perfectionist, just like her mom raised her to be. She’s driven to succeed in her career as a designer, especially since she had to break off her engagement the year before. Astrid needs to prove to her mom, and to everyone else, that she’s a winner.
She gets an opportunity to show her strength when the local Everwood Inn offers her the opportunity to design their big renovation, which will be featured on a popular home improvement show. Astrid knows how to bring the inn into the modern age. There is one catch. The owner’s granddaughter Jordan is the lead carpenter and she has very different ideas about how to renovate her family’s inn. The two have scrappy chemistry on camera that the show’s producers love. They play up the rivalry for ratings. It’s not a problem, since the two can’t stand each other. Right?
Blake has penned another funny, warm, memorable romance. I’m already excited for the third book in her Bright Fall series, set to publish in October.
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
I absolutely loved this story and want everyone to read it! It’s heartwarming, different, sexy and so hard to put down. There’s a bit of a stretch with the male lead here, but stick with it and I promise good feels and a happy ending.
Florence Day is a ghostwriter for a major romance author, but she no longer believes in love after a betrayal and breakup in her own life. She’s struggling to meet the deadline for her next romance novel and receiving no mercy from her hot new editor. Then her dad dies and she heads home for his service. It’s not an easy homecoming.
Florence was a weird kid whose family ran a funeral home. She saw ghosts and told people about it, so she dealt with a lot of teasing. Now she’s back and she sees a ghost right away, but it’s not her dad’s spirit as she might have expected. This ghost is oddly handsome, and was just alive and glaring at her from across a desk at the publisher’s office a couple of days ago. Why is she seeing the ghost of her editor? Is her unfinished book his unfinished business? Florence will have to face up to the ghosts from her past and the ghosts of the present to move on from heartbreak and find her happily ever after at last.