Title: Happy Place

Author: Emily Henry

Rating: 4 stars 

Publication date: April 25th, 2023

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format read: Audiobook

Find the Book: StoryGraph | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book from the Libro.fm audiobook influencers program

I became an Emily Henry fan at some point last year, and since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting her next release. Henry has a gift for telling romances in a way that borders on cliche but doesn’t fully give in to the predictable nature of other books in the genre. That, combined with her penchant for writing bookish, relatable characters, means she’ll always be on my “must-read authors” list.

Happy Place did not disappoint, except for perhaps in the way my emotional state while reading it did not live up to the title. I absolutely adored the book, but it made me inextricably sad as well. The basis for the novel is that Harriet, our protagonist, broke up with her long-term fiancé Wyn months earlier. Now, she’s going on a vacation with her best friends! That would be exciting, except for the fact that she hasn’t told them about the breakup yet. Not only that, but Harriet and Wyn are in the same friend group, and despite them privately agreeing that they’d take turns on friend vacations, Wyn is there too!

Of course, this is the obvious setup for lovers to enemies to lovers again, but what I loved most about this book is the way it simultaneously told the story of Harriet and Wyn getting together, them breaking up, and them in their current state. As someone who quite literally followed the same path as them in my current relationship—secret dating a member of my friend group to public dating to long distance dating—each of these stages hit way too close to home. I found myself rooting for Harriet and Wyn at times not because of who they were as individual characters, but because they were a proof of concept for my own relationship.

That being said, Wyn and Harriet did have an undeniable chemistry, but I just want it to be clear that my feelings are all tied up in my own personal life!

As is necessary for a good book, there is drama surrounding other character’s relationships with each other as well. Harriet feels tension with all of her best friends. Her two best friends are fighting with each other. Nobody seems to be communicating well, and this creates an added layer of tension among a group of friends who rarely see each other anymore, having graduated from college and gone their separate ways years ago.

If I were forced to rank the Emily Henry books, this would be my least favorite of the bunch, purely because of how sad and panicky it made me while reading it. It wasn’t a sad book! I am just a sad person at the moment and certain non-sad moments hit me harder than they would. That being said, it is still well worth the read. The audiobook is narrated by fan-favorite Julia Whelan, my audiobook queen, and as always she kills it.