Book Review

Book Review: Happy Place by Emily Henry

Rating: ★★★★☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 25th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.

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?

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC.


I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this one. I do think it’s Henry’s heaviest book and that you should definitely be aware going in! Not in a lengthy list of trigger warnings way, just the real life can bring you down way. The happy place ideal is oddly ironic for this book and by the end I liked how it was all portrayed.

The romance is a little more at the forefront than Book Lover (but not as much as BR/PWMOV). I liked seeing more of it and watching Harriet and Wyn’s story unfold. There was just the right amount of flashback chapters to add to the plot without feeling like everything was stuck in the past. Harriet and Wyn had some great banter, truly tender moments and I was loving the raw communication and anger that came out in the end.

Friendships are another main focus and, at times, over shadowed Harriet’s journey. The last 20% really hit me in the feels though with the many sentiments expressed. Life is hard, feelings are hard, and the parents you have truly play a part on how you view your future self and relationships. I am satisfied with how all of the friendships worked out too though. It’s something special to have that type of bond with others.

An impactful read that had me thinking and reflecting a lot. Do I still wish the romance was even more at the front? Yes. And there were a few scenes here and there that I thought slowed down progression. A glory days atmosphere I could have been cool without.

I loved the core of the story and the messages it left me with. And I thought Harriet really came into her own in the end and I LOVED that journey for her.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one full open; medium explicit + some almost scenes and fade to black
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: losing a parent, grief depression and anxiety depictions, use of recreational drugs, alcohol use

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