Happy Place

by Emily Henry
First sentence: “A cottage on the rocky shoreline, with knotty pine floorboards and windows that are nearly always open.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: April 25, 2023
Content: There are a couple sexytimes and swearing, including multiple f-bombs. It will be in the romance section of the bookstore.

Harriet and Cleo and Sabrina have been friends since their freshman year of college. They’re an unlikely trio from vastly different backgrounds with different ambitions, but they make it work. As they get older they add more: Parth, whose house they moved into their junior year, and then Wyn, Parth’s friend, got folded in. Except Harriet and Wyn felt an almost-instant attraction. They eventually got together, thinking it would last forever.

Fast forward 8 years and Wyn and Harriet have broken up. Harriet’s in a medical residency in San Francisco, and Wyn just… wasn’t happy. So he left. Then he broke it off. But, they’re both at Sabrina’s family’s cottage in Maine for a week in the summer, with everyone, for one last fling. Can they pretend everything is fine, for the sake of old times?

This one is less focused on the romance, though Henry intersperses chapters of Wyn and Harriet’s getting together and falling in love, with the present week in Maine. It was an effective tactic: we got to see the fallout before we read about how they got together. But it worked. Mostly because this book is less about the Romance Tropes than it is about friendship – as important as Wyn and Harriet’s breakup is, the feeling that the friendships are falling apart because everyone is getting older, and things are Changing – and about making your own happiness.

It was the last thing that struck me the most. Harriet had spent her life trying to make her unhappy parents happy, making the choices that landed her in San Francisco. But, over the course of the novel, she realizes that she can’t do that, that the one thing she can control is her own happiness and her own choices. It was something that resonated with me.

So, while this was not my favorite Henry (that remains Book Lovers), it was a very, very good one, one that resonated with me quite a bit.

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