Discover more from Tropes & Cheese
by Emily Henry
I’m so excited about this one - it’s my first entry on a new release! Emily Henry’s Happy Place came out last week and this should come as no surprise, but I absolutely loved it.
Before we dive in, I want to share a quick article that I think will resonate with many of you. A lovely and talented writer pal of mine, Julia (you should check out her Substack here!) sent it my way and I immediately knew I wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!
(Side note: immediately planning a trip to San Diego to visit Meet Cute.)
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Okay, here we go!
Book: Happy Place by Emily Henry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Spice Level: 🔥🔥🔥
Content Warning: Loss of a parent, painful breakups.
Tropes: Friends-to-Lovers-to-Enemies-to-Lovers, Second Chance Romance, Fake Dating, Forced Proximity, Only One Bed, Ensemble Cast, Slow Burn. (SO MANY TROPES 😍)
As per usual, Emily Henry invites us into an impossibly charming world filled with the most wonderful people you’ve ever met. She has a special way of making an ensemble cast so endearing that they feel just as much like main characters as the protagonists, without pulling too much focus from the main story.
The lovable townspeople and Charlie’s delightfully hippie parents in Book Lovers.
Poppy’s sweet, hoarding parents and Alex’s fabulous brothers in The People We Meet on Vacation.
Modern-day lesbian fairy godmothers Pete and Maggie in Beach Read.
All of Emily Henry’s ensembles are fantastic, but Happy Place takes the cake.
What’s It About?
Happy Place is presented much like The People We Meet on Vacation in that we know there must’ve been a bad breakup because our protagonists are at each other’s throats, but we don’t know why. The story slowly unfolds as the chapters vacillate between present-day “Real Life” and flashbacks to Harriet’s various “Happy Places.”
We meet Harriet and her chosen family as they embark on one last trip to friend Sabrina’s family cottage in Maine. Unbeknownst to her, her ex-fiance is there too, so rather than a relaxing week with her BFFs, Harriet has to brace herself for a week of awkwardness, pretending to be madly in love, and basically just trying to hold it together for the sake of her friends.
Happy Place is a beautiful example of how, while life changes are inevitable and we can’t stay in the “glory days” forever, it doesn’t mean your friendships and relationships have to end - it just means they evolve.
And to all my chronic people-pleasers out there, you may feel brazenly called out in this book, in the best way. It’s a great reminder that your happiness can and should come first you beautiful, selfless, heroes.
If this book doesn’t make you want to rent a gigantic AirBnB in Maine with your BFFs, I don’t know what will.
As I mentioned, there is a big breakup that happens, and it’s obviously sad but WOW is it REALLL. It’s not salacious or sensationalized in any way, it’s just a very real example of what can easily happen to great couples - life stuff gets in the way, people drift apart, and a lack of communication can drive a wedge between lovers that sometimes can’t be undone.
One of the “life things” that happens is that our hero loses his father suddenly. We only meet him in a few of Harriet’s “happy place” flashbacks, but his presence makes such an impact that losing him hits the characters, and us readers, pretty hard.
Now, how to make your reading experience a bit more fun?
🥂 Drink Pairing: This one is an easy one: Prosecco! While the 6 friends drink a wide variety of beverages while on vacation - everything from Corona, to margaritas, to Fireball shots, to fancy wine from Sabrina’s Dad’s wine cellar - the party starts with an announcement from Sabrina and Parth, and the popping of a bottle of Prosecco! My favorite is probably La Marca or Mionetto but here’s a list of the 10 Best Proseccos According to a Sommelier.
🦞 Activity Suggestion: While I don’t actually eat lobster myself, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the excitement and buzz around Lobster Fest, the festival happening in the adorable Maine town in which the crew is spending their vacation. Come to find out, it’s a real thing! So if you find yourself in the New England area, and you’re free August 2-6, please go and let me know how it is!
🛍 Etsy Listing: In the book, the gang debates getting matching tattoos. They can’t decide what to get, and someone jokingly suggests “Wicked Pissah.” While the phrase doesn’t end up permanently on anyone’s body (thankfully,) it does end up on a wedding cake, which is hilarious. So, without further ado, I give you, this 8x10 Wicked Pissah Lobster work of art.
As always, I encourage you to see if Happy Place is available from your local, indie bookstore. Don’t know where one is? Try this Indie Bookstore Finder! You can also purchase it directly from Emily Henry’s website.
Your local library is also a great place to look for this and other books. And, of course, all the big-name booksellers will certainly have what you’re looking for.
I hope you enjoy this sweet story of chosen family and finding yourself. It’s a great reminder to cherish those who are important to us, and know that growing up doesn’t ever have to mean growing apart.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!