Happy Place by Emily Henry | Review

Posted October 2, 2023 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments

Happy Place by Emily Henry | ReviewHappy Place by Emily Henry
Also by this author: Beach Read, People We Meet On Vacation
Published by Berkley on April 25, 2023
Genres: Romance
Pages: 395 •Format: E-BookSource: Overdrive

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?

This was an interesting one for me. I thought I’d really enjoy it (second chance romance is a sub-genre I’m interested in exploring more) and I remember enjoying The People We Meet On Vacation quite a bit. However, this story was sort of…a downer?

Protagonist Harriet arrives at her annual summer trip at her wealthy friend Sabrina’s family’s summer house in Maine (because of course) and immediately has a secret to hide- her fiance, Wyn, broke up with her months ago but she hasn’t told her friends since she doesn’t want to rock the boat and dissolve their mutual friend group with their drama. However, she is surprised to find that Wyn is in attendance this summer too, after promising to skip the trip to help keep up their ruse.

What follows is a week of Harriet and Wyn having to pretend to still be engaged in front of their friends to not kill the vibe of the trip. While this does lead to some interesting interactions and situations (which is obviously meant to reignite their feelings for eachother), the whole premise of WHY they broke up and are hiding it just felt flimsy to me. There’s really a sense of melancholy that permeates the whole trip, as everyone is hiding issues but pretending to put on a happy face for the others until it all comes to a pressure point and inevitably everything comes tumbling out by the end. I get it, I really do (trust me, once you hit your 30s it’s hard to ever completely unplug and leave your adult worries at the door, even on vacation) but considering I was reading this on vacation it just kind of bummed me out, lol.

In terms of the romance itself, it was FINE. Harriet and Wyn definitely didn’t have the worst or most boring chemistry of the many literary couples I’ve read, but they were both just so unsure of themselves. Which is totally valid- you don’t have to have your life figured out by your 30s. But that sort of internal, finding yourself narrative is something I prefer more in YA or even New Adult, and I felt like it was a more prominent theme here than the romance itself. I honestly got more contemporary than romance vibes from this one.

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