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?
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Emily Henry can do no wrong!!!
Be prepared for some rambles that will hopefully read as a coherent full review, but know that these are my exact thoughts thirty minutes after devouring Happy Place. And for those interested, I did get a (signed!!!) B&N edition of the novel with Emily Henry’s vacation read book recommendations in the back (I think there’s only 2 books included that I haven’t read).
I’m really about to start rereading PWMOV and Book Lovers (I reread Beach Read right after Book Lovers last year) because I already feel a book hangover coming on. I truly don’t care what Emily Henry’s books are about BECAUSE I will read them regardless. I really kept my blinders on with the Happy Place hype since I wanted to know nothing going in. All I knew was that this was another lovers- to enemies set in Maine, based on EH’s post Book Lovers announcement last year.
Her books just work!!! Again, I don’t care knowing what Emily Henry’s books are about because I know I will be fully wrapped up and engaged with the writing style alone. Her writing is sharp and funny, but also has such detail of setting and also doesn’t need to spell out the character’s every single emotion or thought because her writing makes it so easy for the reader to infer & understand!!
What makes Happy Place unique to Emily Henry’s other three romance books is the focus on friendship . This doesn’t mean that the book was filled with Hallmark-like sentiments on the power of friendship and blah blah, but the ensemble cast worked so well with their chemistry and yes, humor. And yes, you do really feel the love and importance this cast has for each other by the end & throughout.
Happy Place follows five college best friends & the partner of one of the best friends (we love Kimmy), who have their annual week at Sabrina’s Maine cottage. ALSO shoutout to anyone still debating if they want to read this book that if you love a college romance, here’s another reason to pick it up. Happy Place alternates between ‘real life’ (title of the chapters) at the cottage and the lead’s (Harriet) Happy Places in the past, such as when she was living with her college roommates, Sabrina, Cleo, & Parth, and when she meets Wyn in the college and the development of their relationship.
The conflict? Harriet and Wyn have been separated for months & haven’t told anyone. When Sabrina delivers some surprising news at the start of the trip, Harriet and Wyn agree to pretend that they haven’t broken up, for the sake of holding their friend group (really family) together.
I’d say romance and friendship take the center stage, but family is definitely a theme of the novel and is and isn’t explicitly thrown in our faces. Part of the reason why Harriet and Wyn have separated (as we begin to piece together by the end of the novel) is her devotion to her work, as she is finishing up her surgeon residency, and her career aspirations are partly (but mostly) in thanks to her parents who didn’t get what they always wanted in life and Harriet feels she owes to them to establish a successful career for them. Harriet’s (dysfunctional) family is contrasted with Wyn’s loving and loud family in Montana, where his family always thought Wyn would stay to help out the family business. There’s also a lot surrounding that the friend group is a family in itself, and some cracks are coming out between each other while together for the week.
In conclusion, please, please read Happy Please. I don’t know where it falls quite yet on my Emily Henry rankings, but rankings don’t matter when it comes to her work; we love them all! Now I’m off to go do some rereading while I ignore my TBR and wait for an Emily Henry new book announcement.
Have you read Happy Place yet? What are your thoughts? Share in the comments!
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[…] it being my busy season, I read 11 books. My FAVORITE to no one’s surprise is Emily Henry’s Happy Place, which is again, no surprise, my favorite book of 2023 so far. That being said, right after, I […]