So far I’ve read all of Emily Henry’s books except for People We Meet on Vacation (which I’m hoping to fix this summer, because I own the book). Happy Place is Emily’s newest release that I read last month, but realized that I never reviewed. I was very grateful to get an eARC on Netgalley, but of course I also bought a physical copy! So keep on reading to find out more about this book and what I thought!
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 six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest 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, blue 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?
A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to 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.
“There doesn’t need to be a winner and a loser. You just have to care how the other person feels. You have to care more about them than you do about being right.”
One of my favorite romance tropes is fake dating, but before Happy Place I’ve never read a book about a couple that broke up and pretended to date, because they haven’t told their friends yet. Happy Place is more than a romance though and is filled with lifelong friendships and found family.
Our main characters have their happy place: a friend’s parents’ cottage in Maine that they go to every summer. They get away from life and spend the week together with things they do each and every year. This year is different though, because it will be the last year before the cottage gets sold and they want to make it a good one. Between that and a friend announcing there will also be a wedding this week, Harriet and Wyn decide to not let their friends know what’s going on.
In the beginning, we don’t know why Harriet and Wyn break up, only that it happened months before. It’s clear a lot went on, but we only get glimpses here and there through chapters set in the time leading up to the vacation. In all honesty, I can understand that a lot of people might not like Happy Place. There is a lot of miscommunication and if these two just sat down and had some honest conversations a lot of drama and heartache might have been prevented. That being said, I think the story also shows us that these two may have needed this time apart to find each other again, and also find themselves.
Harriet is on her way to becoming a surgeon, but it seems this isn’t something that’s really making her happy. I loved seeing her think about this in the past and present chapters. In many ways the break up and this vacation got her thinking about what she really wanted in life. Wyn as well. A lot happens to him and he had to find happiness again as well. I really wish we would’ve gotten his POV though (I think most books with relationships should have this honestly), but I still loved this journey.
On top of that I love the found family story we got. A lot of our characters don’t have the greatest relationship with their families and have really leaned on each other over the years. We also see quite a bit of this dynamic and some bumps along the way. All in all, I really couldn’t put this story down!
Emily Henry is definitely an auto-buy author now and I can’t wait to see what she writes next! Have you read any Emily Henry books? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.