Summary: Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you're still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life--with Holly's ex!
Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting 30ish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She's soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.
From the author of The Big Love, Secrets to Happiness is a big-hearted, knife-sharp, and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal--and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy. -- Little, Brown & Company
I think I wanted to read SECRETS TO HAPPINESS by Sarah Dunn based on the cover alone. I mean, who can resist this adorable little puppy who looks so contest? I also had heard some good things about the author and her prior novel THE BIG LOVE; and I thought this novel sounded like the perfect, light read for the summer!
When I read the description for this book, I was thinking that this book would be more of a chick-lit book or at least a mature chick-lit type book. In a few ways, it did have some of the features that I've grown to expect in chick-lit books such as humor, a quirky main character, and romance troubles; however, I can say that SECRETS TO HAPPINESS was a deeper and more thought-provoking book than normal chick lit fare!
I thought Holly was an endearing character, although she certainly came with a lot of baggage. I was impressed with how Ms. Dunn developed her character, and I loved how complex she made her. I wasn't surprised to find that Holly had a lot of issues with men; however, I was surprised to see that the author included some conflict for Holly concerning her spiritual beliefs. I actually found myself examining Holly and her outlook on God, and I kept thinking about her insecurities and how they might be different if she just approached her life differently.
While I really liked Holly, there were lots of other characters who I didn't really appreciate quite as much. I think that their side stories definitely enhanced the novel and complemented Holly; and they did give me a lot to think about though. I think the author did a nice job of showing how different all of the characters were and how they were all ultimately looking to find happiness in their lives -- each in their own way. I think there is a really big message in this novel that each person needs different things to be happy and people have to chose to be happy -- it doesn't just happen. (Having said that, I didn't always find myself agreeing with all of the characters' choices.)
I was happy to see that there is a companion reading guide available for book clubs. The more I think about this book, the more I realize that it is a perfect summer book to discuss with your friends. It is a light, fun read while also touching on some deeper issues such as faith/religion, marriage, infidelity, friendship, and (of course) finding happiness. I think you will find a great deal to discuss, and I think it would be very interesting to hear my book club's thoughts about Holly and her friends.
Thanks to Miriam from Hachette for allowing me to participate in this book blog tour. Check out these other blogs participating in this tour:
I have an extra copy of SECRETS TO HAPPINESS to share with one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me why this book looks good to you. To double or triple your chances, just spread the word by either blogging or tweeting about this contest with a link back to this post. I will accept entries until Friday, June 26th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you in the U.S. or Canada only. Good Luck!