Monday, May 22, 2023

Happy Place by Emily Henry

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?

A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.

Hardcover, 385 pages
Published April 25, 2023
 by Berkley
2.5/5 stars

This was one of my highly anticipated books of 2023. While I have not read all of Emily Henry’s previous works I did love her last one Book Lovers.

As with her other books, I was expecting a rom/com and sadly that is not what I got.  I loved the setting, the blurb and the friendships but, not wanting to sound too harsh, instead this felt like a bunch of 30 year olds acting like teenagers. With a good chitchat everything would have been out in the open. This trope isn’t always a favourite of mine but when done well it does work. For me it was the repetitiveness and characters I couldn’t feel any empathy for. I wanted some fun bantering and laugh out loud scenes,  it just didn’t happen.

This book was less about the rom and com and more about insecurity, family dynamics and even unfulfilled expectations. The last part did pick up (and even highlighted some valid points) but by that point I finished off with the audiobook (perfect timing for my CloudLibrary hold to become available).

But please take my feelings with a grain of salt, the vast majority loved this read. Even though I didn’t I will read Emily Henry again - People We Meet on Vacation soonish.

This book was part of my 2023 reviewing off my shelf challenge and is book number 39

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