Spotlight Review: HAPPY PLACE by Emily Henry 

From the publisher:

A couple who broke up months ago 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.

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 five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.

Which is how they find themselves sharing a 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, blissful 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?

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by BuzzFeed ∙ Paste Magazine ∙ Elle ∙ Southern Living ∙ SheReads ∙ Culturess ∙ Medium ∙ Her Campus ∙ Readers Digest ∙ Zibby Mag and more!

“Once again, Henry dazzles and delights by brilliantly deploying her considerable skills in comic timing and crafting characters with relatable, realistically messy lives. Effortlessly toggling between the present-day fauxmance playing out between her protagonists and the origins of their love a decade earlier, Happy Place is a romance that delivers on both style and substance.” Booklist (starred review)

“A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.”Kirkus Reviews

“This sexy and profoundly romantic novel will satisfy fans of best-selling Henry’s thrilling trademark mix of witty banter and intensely emotional storylines.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Exes must pretend they’re still together in this delightful Summery rom-com from bestseller Henry…This has the makings of a rom-com classic.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

I’ve read Henry’s last few books, and all were excellent, but I think may be her best yet. It’s certainly her most emotional read to date.

Harriet and Wyn have been together for years, and got engaged several months prior to the start of the book. They have a group of friends they are close to; in fact, that’s how they met – Harriet’s best friend and Wyn’s best friends were roommates, and along with two other couples, they have been meeting at this beach house in Maine every summer for years. But the house is being sold, so their two best friends plan a last week-long party, culminating with their wedding.

What Harriet and Wyn haven’t told their friends is that several months earlier, they broke up. Harriet was devastated; she only got a four-minute phone call and a box of her stuff delivered a few days later. She ends up blocking him on her phone just so she can stop checking it every few minutes to see if he has changed his mind.

They met in college and moved to San Francisco when Harriet scored an internship in neurosurgery there. Wyn barely got through college and is working in a bookstore. Then Wyn’s dad dies suddenly, and Wyn is devasted and depressed for months. When his mom falls ill with Parkinson’s disease, Wyn moves home to Montana to care for her. Harriet & Wyn figure they’ll do long distance for a year or so until his sister finishes college and can come home to help out their mom. But not everything goes according to plan, and he dumps her. When the invitation to the last week at the house in Maine comes, their friends refuse to take no for an answer. They both agree to go and, as always, share a room – but this time, instead of the room with two single beds, they get the room with one big bed. Harriet is far from over him, but she doesn’t realize that Wyn isn’t over her, either. This week they are forced to spend together with their best friends will prove to be challenging in a myriad of ways.

I loved the relationship between all six of these friends and how they formed their own family, especially as several of them come from unhappy homes. We learn their backstories and see how they coupled up. There is some humor throughout the book but more drama and angst, and I was so caught up in their lives that I could not put this book down. This is an engrossing romance with enough ups and downs and emotional entanglements to make me incredibly anxious until the requisite happy ending – I couldn’t figure out how they would work it out until they showed me. Another excellent read from a terrific author!

4/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HAPPY PLACE by Emily Henry.‎ Berkley (April 25, 2023). ISBN:‎ 978-0593441275. 400 p.



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