HAPPY PLACE by Emily Henry

I’m a huge fan of Emily Henry’s writing. Here’s one sentence I pulled at random from HAPPY PLACE: “I drain my soda like it’s my last shot of moonshine before an 1800s doctor pries a bullet from my arm.” Fab!

As with her previous novels, HAPPY PLACE is a love story with heart and humor and a touch of darkness. Her main characters, Harriet and Wyn, haul plenty of emotional baggage: shame, low self-esteem, depression, and more.

They met as undergrads, fell in lust, but for the sake of their close-knit friend group, tried not to fall in love. And failed. After college, Harriet focused on her future as a surgeon, while Wyn struggled to figure out a career. When she landed a residency in San Francisco, he followed.

Eight years in, things started unraveling—slowly, in ways neither of them understood. They were engaged, but had no wedding plans; she was exhausted from daily life in a hospital; Wyn moved back to Montana to help his mother. Then he ended their relationship during a five-minute phone call.

That was five months ago. They haven’t spoken since or told anyone their news. Now they have to fake it through their annual vacation in Maine with their friends. Cancelling isn’t an option, because the cottage that has been their happy place since they all met is for sale. It’s a huge moment for the group, but as tensions develop and secrets spill out, one fact becomes obvious: Harriet and Wyn still want each other. Despite the hilarious ground rules they set for touching in public.

As chapters weave between their past and present, I found it impossible to put the book down. What a wonderful story about finding the family of your heart, learning to fight with people you love, believing you matter, and taking responsibility for your own happiness.

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