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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

Vacationland


Happy Place by Emily Henry

2023 Frenzied Bibliophile Challenge Category: PopSugar Challenge - Book set during a vacation

Ratings:4 of 5


Will you like this book? You might if you like:

  • Second Chance Romances

  • College Sweethearts

  • Maine

  • Realistic take on trying to maintain relationships

I remember when I got Beach Read as my Book of the Month in April 2020 and I was like, looks fun. I need a good book while I am stuck inside during a pandemic. And it was fun, but I was also blown away. Henry wrote a great romance but she also refused to gloss over the hard parts of relationships. I know I’ve said it before, I love a good billionaire, insta-love romance that is all spice, all the time. But I also love seeing Henry and other romance authors dealing with romance in a more realistic way. Happy Place is the story of two people who have broken up but still love each other very much, but they have let fear and miscommunication get in the way.


The story begins in the present, as Harriet and Wyn, once engaged and part of a tight friend group, have to spend a weekend at their group’s annual weekend in Maine, pretending they haven’t broken up. Henry flashes back to the story of how they fell in love and became a couple. I know this is a common narrative style, and it contrasts what once was with what is now and how heartbreaking that is for not just for Harriet and Wyn but also how their breakup will devastated this entire group of friends.



I loved Harriet, there are a lot of good reasons why she has chosen to be the good child, the striver, the perfectionist, but she hasn’t really ever examined them. Or asked herself, am I happy? And Wyn is a love, he is sweet and funny and part of the issue is Harriett isn’t sure she really deserves Wyn. Henry creates complex characters, ones that readers can identify with. And she reflects on not just romantic love and how it changes, but friendship and how as we “grow up” it morphs and transforms as well. And not always for the best.


Happy Place is a great book, but I am not sure it is exactly a light book, but then I don’t think Henry’s books are meant to be light. I think she writes stories that reflect what it is like to love people, romantic or otherwise, and that keeping that love alive takes work. But, it is worth it. And so is reading this book.

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