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Book Review: The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon

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Back of the book:

“Michelle doesn’t believe in fairy tales. She’s a hardheaded businesswoman, making a fresh start in a new town. And when she decides to take over a neglected bookshop, she knows the perfect manager.

For book-loving Anna, it’s a dream come true – and not just because it gives her an escape from her three demanding stepchildren and their adorable but hyperactive Dalmatian. Although she’s been thinking that her own fairy-tale ending hasn’t really turned out the way she hoped, Anna’s passion for the classics is transforming the shop. The customers, and even Michelle, are falling under the spell of the magical stories of romance, adventure, and lost dogs.

But when secrets from her past threaten Michelle’s new beginning, and trouble strikes at the heart of Anna’s household, can the wisdom and courage of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends – and those they love – find their happy ever after?”

My take:

Right from the beginning, you can tell that something in Michelle’s past has severely altered her life, which you find out near the end, which has made her a hardened individual. While in a local coffee shop she runs into, or gets ran into, by Pongo, a large spotted dalmatian that is the biggest people person ever. Due to its large body and clumsiness, it isn’t exactly the most welcomed animal in some places. The owner of the dog, Anna, is a warm-hearted woman trying to start a family of her own with her husband. The two main characters, Michelle and Anna, do an excellent job of playing off each other. One, a strong person with a dark past and the other wearing her heart on her sleeve but treated almost as a doormat.

Michelle owns a store in Longhampton called Home Sweet Home and finds out the bookshop next to her business opens up, she plans to expand her shop and take over the bookshop. She speaks to the solicitor but is told she must run it as a bookshop for the next year, before moving on with her own plans. Michelle believes her and Anna can run it successfully.

Anna, who is an ex-librarian, has always dreamed of running a bookshop. The bookshop becomes a wonderful place where people meet for coffee, make new friends, almost a perfect place.

While things are going swimmingly, Michelle’s past comes creeping up; while disaster threatens Anna’s home.

It’s a great read that really drawls you into the characters. Michelle, while is a little hard to relate to and understand at times, though you understand why toward the end, you still want to help her out and be there with her. She starts off as a hardened individual, but when you really get down to her core and find out more about her, you start to care for her. Anna is a character that you not only want to help out and give her the shirt off your back but you can almost relate to with things in your own life. The book focuses on both Anna and Michelle’s view points. It’s a great way to keep the story moving and not seeming too linear.

Pongo, the dog, has so much character it’s amazing. Lucy Dillon does an amazing job really bringing the dog to life and making you feel the undivided love the dog shares with every one.

The book gives you a great feeling of the town, the atmosphere, you can picture yourself in Longhampton.

One strength of the book is getting you to care about the supporting characters. A lot of times in books, I overlook them. Though Anna’s husband, Phil, and her three step children really draw you in and make you want to smack them upside the head at times, telling them Anna is a great person and to treat her better. Michelle’s supporting characters are best left alone for now, which you will understand as you learn about  Harvey.

The book covers relationships, families, marriage, love, friendship and even pets. It’s a great book and a fast read that drawls you into the world of  Longhampton. I suggest it to anyone looking for a good solid read.

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