Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn is a story about Holly Frick, a thirties-something professional searching for what she really wants out of her life and being totally mystified by events in people’s lives around her along with her own. The beginning of the book finds her newly divorced, not of her own choosing either, and with a career that’s going downhill in a big hurry.
So Holly decides that she’s just going to live life and not worry about the consequences and gets herself a young boyfriend. The kind of boyfriend you just keep around for a good time with no strings attached. In the meantime, her supposedly happily married friend Amanda is having an affair; even worse with a man Holly seems attracted to. Her other best friend Betsy is having some big issues with getting older. She’s wondering where the time went and why she still can’t seem to find the love she yearns for. It could be she keeps looking for it in all the wrong places. In among the wreckage of friends is Leonard; all I can say about him is he’s a total mess. Then there’s Spence, an old boyfriend. Holly has published a book and it seems to be based on her relationship with him and all that was wrong with him. Granted he was a jerk, still is, but he’s trying really hard to build a new relationship.
This is a story of unhappy people really, all looking for happiness. Holly being my favorite character is the one I’ll talk about. She tries by first indulging herself in a much younger man and then in an attempt at a real relationship which unfortunately backfires on her. The best thing she did was to adopt Chester, a dog who was sick with a brain tumor. She takes care of him and learns what love really is—unconditional and just plain ‘right’. Chester teaches her a few lessons along the way so that by the end of the story Holly is learning to just live her own way and to find happiness maybe in the smaller things.
I’ve got a couple of quotes to share, one funny and one serious that I liked…let’s do funny first…
- ‘”Hold on a sec,” Holly said to her. “Okay. Listen to me. I don’t want to go back into that dressing room and take off my boots and my pants and start putting on jeans only to discover that the ones you brought me are all too tight, and then when I ask for the next size up, be informed that they’re the biggest size you carry. I can’t take that today. Seriously, I’ll blow my head off. So look at me, look at my ass, look at my gut, take it all in, and then tell me honestly if you anticipate we’re going to have a problem.”‘ (pg 80)
- ‘Sometimes Holly could start to see the order in things, she got a glimmer of a pattern. And that thing everyone seems to say these days, about how things always happen for a reason – Holly was getting closer to being willing to concede that that was maybe, possibly true. That idea of a person’s life being a tapestry, and it wasn’t until late in the day that you could see all of the threads linking one part to another, all of the strange and random connections, how everyone impacts each other in seemingly small but important ways.’ (pg 269)
All in all I enjoyed the book, but it was just ok for me. I enjoyed the writing style of Sarah Dunn but I did find that there was unecessary swearing and hanky panky in the book–for me it didn’t really seem to fit the whole theme of the book. I think it could have been carried off without it just as well. That being said I would read another of Sarah Dunn’s books given the opportunity. I enjoy the carefree way she writes and the modern portrayal of her characters—they live in a real world with real problems.
Be sure to pop in and visit Sarah Dunn’s website here and you can purchase this book here in the US and here in Canada. Many thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for the opportunity to participate in Sarah Dunn’s blog tour and read the book. For more participants in the blog tour, head over here and check them all out.
I’ve got 3 copies of Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn to share with you. What do I need you to do…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you please.
- For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do-thank you-and let me know so I can make sure you get the extras.
- For 3 entries blog/tweet this giveaway to spread the word.
The giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes). I will draw for the winners on Tuesday, June 30. Good luck to all!