Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published by Berkley, Penguin Audio on April 25, 2023
Genres: Life Fiction
Length: 11 hours, 2 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
Emily Henry and Julia Whelan are an author/ narrator combination that I really enjoy. Happy Place gives us a long term couple where each loves the other, maybe more than themself. There is also the insecurity of not being enough for the other person. These feelings are based on both family and personal history. We get some flashbacks to their college days which show how they all became friends, started their yearly getaway and how Harriet and Wyn get together.
Harriet has always been an excellent student and planned to go to medical school. Her parents are not happy in their marriage, having married when they got pregnant with her older sister. The older sister has always been a problem, rebelling and going against her parents wishes. Harriet, on the other hand, has tried so hard to be good to make things easier for her parents who work hard to make sure the two girls have everything, especially things they didn’t get to have. Harriet also developed the habit of cleaning to help her parents.
Wyn has a lovely family who support him and his siblings in their choices. Wyn is not a good student and had difficulties in high school and college. His talents lie in other areas than academic. But poor academics make him feel like he is not good enough.
Harriet became life-long best friends with her diverse and talented roommates from college. Parth and Wyn are also part of their friend group and apartment sharing friends from college. Every summer the friends go to a vacation home in Maine which is Harriet’s happy place. Now it’s going to be sold so this is the last year. Wyn and Harriet broke up six months ago and haven’t told any of the others. So they both end up on the holiday.
There is SO much happening here with emotional situations for all of them. The vacation finds them learning their truths and savoring their deep connections. All the friends end up finding support for their changes to take them into the future. I felt this emotional journey.
Julia Whelan is a favorite narrator because she has a terrific ability to infuse emotion into her performance. Her voices for both male and female characters feels comfortable. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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