"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

21 July 2013

2013 Book Review #27: The Secret of Happy Ever After

What a delightful book!

I just completed a novel that my sister Joy recommended.  My oldest daughter read it first and said it was excellent. She was correct!!

It started out a little slow to me and then picked up. Then in the middle it was a little slow again so I put it aside. I took a couple days break from it, to read some non-fiction and cooking magazines, and when I picked it up again yesterday, I finished it and loved it!  It is defnitely a "stick to it" kind of book because it is really a delightful story. It just moved slower than what I'm used to (much slower than the usual suspense or mystery novels I read).


It is set in Longhampton, England.

It's a contemporary novel.

Michelle is 30 and has separated from her very controlling husband, Harvey.  Her parents and brothers cannot understand why she would want to be living without Harvey. Michelle is a very successful businesswoman who runs a shop of home decorations called Home Sweet Home. 

 Next door, is a neglected bookstore that she decides to rent and try to upscale.  She is NOT a reader nor does she believe in fairy-tales.  She is hard-headed which makes her a good business manager.  She is trying to make this fresh start in a new town and meets another young woman named Anna who is married to Phil. Phil is divorced from Sarah and has partial custody of his 3 daughters:  Becca, Chloe, and Lily. 

 Anna is an avid reader and book lover and when Michelle suggests she runs the bookstore, Anna is thrilled!  This job will give her an escape from the demands of Phil's young daughters and their cute but hyperactive Dalmatian named Pongo.

Anna's passion for classic books is transforming the book shop!  There are regular customers who are falling under the spell of stories that feature romance, adventure and lost dogs. Even Michelle is not immune to the magic of the place.

One day she meets Rory, a lawyer for the owner of the bookstore.  And Michelle wonders if fairy tales really do happen.

Meanwhile, Anna is beginning to see that her own fairy tale ending isn't turning out the way she planned. She wants a baby and Phil doesn't want any more children, even though he promised Anna they would have a child.  He has his hands full with his 3 daughters full time because Sarah decides to move to America to work.  It is in America that Sarah becomes pregnant and gets married a second time, leaving the girls with Phil and Anna.  Anna is the stepmother who has to do all the work yet the girls don't often turn to her for the nurture that they crave from their mom.  Yet.....this changes, too!

Meanwhile, the oldest daughter Becca gets accepted into the university.  But she reveals a secret that forces her to rethink her plans.

While Becca and Anna are confronting Phil with this latest drama, Michelle is beginning to face her own secrets from her past.  With Rory.  Harvey continues to think he can win Michelle back into his life. Michelle confesses that Harvey was abusive and thus we learn more about why Michelle has such a hard time opening up to her newly formed friends.

Will Michelle and Anna get their fairy tale ending??

What happens when Michelle opens up her childhood diary and shares it with Rory?


The story was wonderful and I predicted an ending that turned out to be totally different from what I thought was going to happen. I LOVE that!!

The author's writing is kind, clear and engaging and I love how she incorporated dogs into the story. I am not a dog person but I truly fell in love with Pongo and Tavish.

The ending was neat and tidy and a little bit abrupt, but it does leave you with a sense of being happy for the characters and what they have had to deal with in their lives.

It touches on singleness in adults, teenage pregnancy, and how children are impacted after a divorce.

It also touches on manipulating parents and controlling husbands and the forgiveness and freedom that can occur when confronted with things that were left secret. It also speaks on standing up for your self to an abusive person.

The underlying theme seems to be "go after your dreams and stick with your plans".  And sometimes we can learn alot on the way, or when life has a way of changing things up, we  learn that yes....we can live happily ever after!

It truly is a modern day fairy tale for adults!!

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 9.


Susanne said...

I love the cover of the book!

Kara said...

That's a good idea to put a book aside for a few days. I have done that with a couple of books though. One I read only on the beach. In fact, I keep it in my beach bag. The other I have on my kindle.