Thursday, May 11, 2023

Book Review: Happy Place by Emily Henry

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: April 25, 2023  
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: Beach Read,
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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 six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends. Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest 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, blue 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?"


Wyn and Harriet have always been a part of an amazing friend group since college. This group takes a vacation to their "happy place" every summer: a cottage in Maine. Except they find out that this year will be the last year there as the cottage is up for sale, so they are determined to make this the best summer yet. Major problem though. Wyn and Harriet have been together for years, but they broke up six months ago and haven't told their friends, because they know it will devastate them. They can't tell them now as it will for sure ruin the vacation. So, things get awkward when Wyn and Harriet have to share a room and pretend for the entire week that they are still together. As Harriet spends more time this week with Wyn, she realizes she still has strong feelings for him. Plus, there's more issues in the friend group and things are inevitably changing for them all. Emily Henry's Happy Place is one of my favorite books of the year. It's snappy and witty dialogue had me laughing out loud and the plot was swoon-worthy, not to mention the perfect location of the cottage in Maine. A stellar beach read!

I really liked Harriet from the start in Happy Place. I think Henry creates such a realistic character in Harriet. She is a surgical resident and is constantly stressed, so she is really looking forward to her vacation in Maine, but is shocked to see Wyn there. This obviously complicates things and brings her romantic feelings for him to the surface. She tries to so hard to make things perfect for her friends as this is there last summer there and managing everyone's emotions takes a toll on her. Plus, there's the underlying issue of does she really want to be a doctor? Is this what she wants for her life or is this what her parents want for her? Does she want to be with Wyn? I couldn't help but wonder what happened to their relationship? I was hoping they could get a second chance at love.

Then there's Wyn. He is perfect. He is flawed, don't get me wrong, but he is a perfectly developed character that I was rooting for. I adored Henry's portrayal of their relationship and how it evolved in Happy Place. The then/now narrative really worked in giving us the full picture slowly. Wyn is such a complex character; he feels such a strong responsibility to his family and is dealing with a lot. Just like in Meet Me at the Lake, Henry tackles mental health issues that many people face and can relate to.

The best part of Happy Place was Henry's depiction of coastal Maine and the vacation. The restaurants, the cold white wine, the lobster, the quaint shops, and rowdy bars were so much fun and reminded me of my lazy days at the beach with friends. Combine all this with a wonderful romance and you've got yourself a winner of a beach read. I have to say that this is my favorite of Henry's novels to date. 

Have you read Happy Place? Are you a fan of Emily Henry? Let me know in the comments below.


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