** Warning: This review contains mild
latest rom-com novel, Happy Place, is her best yet. The author’s seventh
novel is centered around a group of friends and the couples within the group. The
main characters Harriet and Wyn recently ended their engagement and have been
keeping this a secret from the group until both can find the “perfect” time to
break the news.
Overworked and emotionally
drained, Harriet is excited to see her long-time best friends Sabrina and Cleo at
her happy place: Sabrina’s father’s cabin in Maine. Since the three met in
college, they have been inseparable. All coming from homes where they felt
neglected, Sabrina, Cleo, and Harriet made a family of one another. Harriet’s excitement to get a break from the
hospital and spend quality time with her best friends is interrupted when she
enters the cabin and sees her ex-fiancé, Wyn.
Taken aback, she
is forced to smile and indulge her friends by seeming happy to see him. The pair,
eager to get away from one another, are forced to sit amongst their friends pretending
to be delighted at one another’s presence while Sabrina makes several
announcements. One of them being that this would be the last hurrah at her
father’s cabin before he sells it, and second: she is getting married the
following weekend to Wyn’s best friend, Parth!
Dazed by the
news, the former fiancés realize they cannot damper the mood by sharing their
sad news, so they agree to act happily engaged and in love for the week. It is
hilarious to read how the two navigate without being discovered by their
friends. I was rooting for their love to reignite at every turn of the page. Their
friendship and love for one another is realistic. It is not the “happily ever
after” fairytale Disney tries to sell us. There were moments when I would get
frustrated at them for the miscommunication written on the page, but the two
could not get it right.
What I enjoyed
about Happy Place is that it does not just focus on Wyn and Harriet, it
highlights the friendships within the group. Emily Henry delves into the
fractured relationships amongst the girls. The once tightly knit group have
seemed to drift apart over the last year. You can feel their disconnect when
Sabrina makes passive aggressive remarks toward Cleo for cancelling her stay at
Cleo’s farm. You can read the pain Sabrina feels over the rejection, and the
annoyance Cleo feels over the comments.
The pain amongst
the three friends comes to a head when their secrets are exposed. The three
have a blow out of sorts and the group, Kimmy (Cleo’s wife), Parth (Sabrina’s
fiancé), and Wyn are left aghast. For the first time, the group seems unrepairable.
You can feel sadness for the group. How did they let their friendships
This part of the book really resonated with me. It depicted the reality of friendships. Sometimes we are close as thieves and other times we are on opposite sides of the world. In any kind of relationship there is a struggle, a constant tug and pull between the people involved. You are integrating two different worlds, different sets of experiences, feelings, beliefs, etc. to develop a closeness with another human.
months, I have reconnected with two friends that I thought would be friends of
mine forever. It was my belief that nothing could ever happen that would cause
us to be strangers, but it happened. And as you read in this book, the
separation is rooted in misunderstandings and communication. In both
friendships, there were instances of miscommunication that could have easily been
resolved that resulted in the distance in those friendships. Fortunately, time
helped all parties reflect and clear the air.
Happy Place is a beautiful book about friendship and
the heartache we feel when we believe we are losing our connection with people
we consider family. It is a book about the power of love and how sometimes we
must lose ourselves to find ourselves again. It is about letting go of beliefs
that no longer serve a purpose and proving that sometimes love is worth
Photo Credit: Penguin Book Cover. Credit to the publisher, designer, and author, No copywrite intended.
Quoted text is a Mari Rey original.