Happy publication day to Annie Lyons and #TheHappinessList! I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour today, so a big thank you to HQDigitalUK for allowing me to do so, and for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:
Life is about to change forever…
Heather is finally back on Hope Street after running from the memories for so long. She hasn’t bumped into many neighbours yet but with her upcoming wedding to plan there’s plenty to keep her busy!
Fran is still trying to get used to a life without her husband by her side. It’s hard enough raising two children on her own – she doesn’t have time to even think about dating…
Pamela is fed up with being taken for granted by her grown-up children and grumbling husband. She’s ready to shake things up a little, but will her family even notice?
So when the three women hear about a ‘happiness course’ starting on Hope Street, surely it’s the perfect opportunity to let their hair down, laugh with new friends and maybe even change their lives in ways they never expected…
What does TWG think?
I had a feeling that, based on the title, Annie Lyons’ latest novel was going to open my eyes and keep them open. What I never expected, however, was for ‘The Happiness List’ to not only keep my eyes open, but it also made me think about my life in a completely different way.
Heather, Fran and Pamela may be three completely different women, yet they’re all bound together by one coming thing; heartbreak. However, with all three women going through different types of heartbreak at different points in their life, their outlook on how they cope with it is incredibly different, with some of their family members being confused by how they seem to be dealing with the aftermath. The thing is, everyone copes with things differently, and just because someone else will do things one way whilst another person will do things in another way, it doesn’t make it wrong at all, so they shouldn’t be made to feel as though they’re not coping or get told that they should be ‘fine by now’. Is there a timeline for when heartbreak should be dealt with? No. And that’s where ‘The Happiness List’ comes in. When all three ladies have the chance to create a personal list to enhance their own happiness, it makes them realise that to truly be happy, they need to forgive themselves. I know, it sounds easier said than done, but once you’ve read this book, it will become clear that it is in fact an incredibly difficult thing and that you need to have a supportive group of people around you for when the going gets tough. Not people who are only there when they want something or who dip in and out of your life quicker than Justin Bieber’s relationships. True friends. The ones who turn up at your door in their pyjama’s to sit on your sofa, or the ones who answer your phone call any time of day, even if it is just to listen to you cry because you’re on your monthly/football team didn’t win.
Sorry, I have ranted a little bit, but this is such an important book to read and digest, I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I didn’t write my thoughts honestly.
What really hit home with #TheHappinessList was the way Annie Lyons made it clear how heartbreak is individual, and how nobody should invalidate how you feel all because they would do things differently. I found Heather, Pamela and Fran’s friendship incredibly heart-warming and made me wish that I had friends like that because to be honest, I never have. It made me quite emotional to read how the author made one of character’s happy on their own, proving that happiness doesn’t always mean being in a couple.
I loved the humour in this book as it made the storyline balanced when it came to reading the emotional scenes. Reading ‘The Happiness List’ is a journey in itself, one which is life affirming, powerful, and has the chance to put a spring in your step for the smallest things. To look at, you may think that this book is full of joy as the cover is incredibly colourful and, whilst I will agree to a point, there is a lot to this book than the cover divulges. A bit like a trifle (hear me out) – to look at you see cream/topping and sprinkles, but underneath that colourful and silky topping are multiple layers which will feel you with different kinds of joy. Is the jelly raspberry, blackcurrant or strawberries? Are there lady fingers at the bottom or fruit? So yes, Annie Lyons, for me, has written a book that resembles a trifle as, the more of the book I read, the more beautiful things I discovered and the larger my smile became.
I adore Annie Lyons’ story telling as she writes with such soul and magnetism, bringing joy to the reader’s heart like our good friend Winnie the Pooh. I will never get tired of Lyons’ tales and as far as I am concerned, this author and her books have their own bookshelf in my heart AND its under lock and key.