Happy Place

Emily Henry

Quick Synopsis

A couple who broke up months ago 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.

Publisher’s Synopsis

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?

Book Review

Happy Place is Emily Henry’s latest romance book and a bit of a departure from her other adult novels. While Happy Place is ultimately about a group of friends, the focus is Harriet who is vacationing with her two best friends and their significant others at their happy place in Maine. But when she arrives, she discovers they invited her her ex-fiancé, Wyn, who no one knows broke up with her 5 months prior.

To me, this felt like a different kind of novel for Emily Henry than her previous four, and not just because the main tropes were fake dating and potential second-chance romance. I found this story more emotional, the relationship deeper, and in some ways, the tone more mature.

Let me start by saying that Happy Place is not a happy book. It broke my heart over and over again. The middle of the book and the inherent conflict is stretched out and full of tension. I felt like Henry was repeatedly poking a festering wound that was my heart. The plot kept pouring sadness on top of sadness until all happiness and hope were deeply buried. Of course, the ending provided much-needed relief. However, I almost felt like it was too little too late. I needed relief sooner, and the HEA did not quite redeem the heartache and leave me feeling delighted.

I found Henry’s writing to be as strong as ever. It is often hard for me to emotionally connect with characters. But I assure you I had no problem bawling for Harriet. While there are some witty conversational quips, I missed Henry’s signature fun, humorous banter. In fact, I really needed something to lighten the torturous heartbreak that I felt for a majority of the book and think the funny banter would have helped.

I think Happy Place captures the complexity of adult friendships. The friendship and missteps they take are relatable and honest. Despite this shining part of the narrative, there were a few things I think were not done as well. Some bits became repetitive like the descriptions of Wyn’s eyes and signature scent. I will also say that Harriet’s horniness was too much for the situation and did overshadow a bit of the emotion in a way I found unrealistic. And let me not forget the ending and most things regarding Harriet’s career.

In Happy Place, Harriet and Wyn shine as well-developed characters with intricate back stories. However, the other four friends mostly just play their little roles in the story without being more than an outline of a character.

While I wanted to hate this book based on how sad it made me and the amount of tears I shed while reading it, I will not rate it out of spite. Overall, I did enjoy Happy Place and acknowledge that I felt all the feels. I just expected a storyline that was more flirty and fun from Emily Henry. Despite the book working for me, I can see other readers becoming frustrated with the two protagonists and their deep-seated need for therapy. So while I recommend it, just note that not every book is for every person.


Overall Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Character Development

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Happy Place



Publication Date
April 25, 2023


Storygraph Rating
4.42 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.31 stars

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