Happy Place by Emily Henry (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 11+ hrs.
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Happy Place by Emily Henry, narrated by Julia Whelan, is set in a Maine cottage worth millions of dollars (while I love escapism, there’s something about this setting that rubs me the wrong way). Perhaps it was the semi-whining about the sale of a home by Sabrina’s father. Eventually, this one wins me over once I look past the elitist nonsense.

Harriet is nervous about returning to her happy place in Maine without Wyn, who broke their engagement with her five months ago with little explanation after nearly a decade. One week in paradise might turn into torture where these two are concerned, especially as sparks continue to fly even if they are pretending to be in love. Parth, Kimmy, and Cleo round out the friends group.

Julia Whelan is an excellent narrator, and I love how she brings out the personalities of each character as she performs. She’s definitely on my very short list of go-to-narrators on Audible.

Happy Place is so much more than just a romance and book about a vacation home, it’s about friendships and how we change over time. In some cases, we leave our friends out because we fear their reactions to what we tell them and in other cases, our lives get so busy we can’t possibly keep in touch with everyone we’ve known throughout our lives. I loved that Henry parsed out the friendships throughout the novel while talking about Harriet and Wyn’s relationship — the flashbacks enriched the secondary characters and their relationships to one another.

I don’t necessarily consider this complete fluff given the relationship between Cleo, Harriet, and Sabrina and how they have coped with being “shut out” of key happenings by their best friends. It made this story far richer than a beach read often is. There are plenty of light moments, but there are some key heavily emotional ones in Happy Place by Emily Henry, narrated by Julia Whelan, but it’s a book you probably don’t want to miss this summer.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Emily Henry writes stories about love and family for both teens and adults. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the now-defunct New York Center for Art & Media Studies. Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.

Mailbox Monday #734

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Emma, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Happy Place by Emily Henry, purchased from Audible.

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?

A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss, purchased from Audible.

Annie Sharpe’s spark for life has fizzled out. Her kids are grown up, her restaurant is doing just fine on its own, and her twenty-six-year marriage has come to an unceremonious end. Untethered for the first time in her adult life, she finds a winter guardian position in a historic seaside home and decides to leave her city life behind for a brand-new beginning.

When she arrives in Willow Bay, Annie is enamored by the charming house, the invigorating sea breeze, and the town’s rich seasonal traditions. Not to mention, her neighbors receive her with open arms—that is, all except the surly nephew of the homeowner, whose grand plans for the property are at odds with her residency. As Christmas approaches, tensions and tides rise in Willow Bay, and Annie’s future seems less and less certain. But with a little can-do spirit and holiday magic, the most difficult time of her life will become…a season for second chances.

What did you receive?