“Today, as every day for the past year, utter silence reigned in our apartment. No music, no laughter, no endless conversations…”
– Agnès Martin-Lugand, Happy People Read & Drink Coffee
Diane has a charmed life as a wife, a mother and the owner of a literary café in Paris called Happy People Read & Drink Coffee. But when Diane suddenly loses her beloved husband and daughter in a car accident her perfect world is shattered. Trapped and haunted by her memories, Diane withdraws from friends and family, unable and unwilling to move forward.
One year on, Diane shocks her loved ones by leaving Paris to move to a small town on the Irish coast to rebuild her life alone. There she meets Edward, a brooding, handsome photographer who lives next door. Initially Edward resents Diane’s intrusion into his solitary life, but before long they find themselves drawn to each other . . .
Every time you pick up a book, you are never sure exactly what you are going to get. When Happy People Read & Drink Coffee by Agnès Martin-Lugand arrived in the mail box I was really excited to start it; a book about books and Paris, is there anything better?
Diane and her best friend Felix own a small literary café in Paris called Happy People Read & Drink Coffee. When Diane’s husband and daughter are killed in an accident, Diane shuts herself away from the world and loses herself in the past. One year later, Felix decided it is time to ‘pull Diane out of her depression’ and suggests a myriad of options, many of which involve cocktails by a pool and men (for Felix, of course). Diane opts for something different; she remembers that her husband Colin once spoke of going to Ireland so she pulls out a map, closes her eyes and blindly picks a spot. A few days later, much to the disgust of Felix and her family, she takes herself off to Mulranny. Surrounded by lovely new people, Diane reluctantly ventures out into the world. It isn’t until Edward comes into her life that she finds some fire. Edward isn’t the friendliest of neighbours and they’re soon at each other’s throats. Eventually resentment turns to an uneasy truce which leads to a surprising romance…
Happy People is an interesting read; it is definitely the kind of book that appeals to a specific readership. The story follows the conventions of a well-loved rom-com; one character experiences a tragedy or heartbreak which leads to a journey of some kind. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. There is plenty appeal for these kinds of books… it’s just not my cup of tea. Perhaps I was expecting too much; the author is a former clinical psychologist and so I assumed that Happy Places would show the reader a sympathetic and insightful depiction of grief. Instead, I found it to be a little shallow and lacking the depth I was looking for. However, this is the perfect book for people wanting a light, romantic read and don’t we all look for those! Sometimes we need to ignore the flaws and just read books exactly as they are, and for what they’re meant to be.
Overall, it wasn’t the story I was looking for however it was still an enjoyable read! Books and Paris do go so well together….
AUTHOR: Agnès Martin-Lugand
PUBLISHER: Allen and Unwin
PUB DATE: June 2016
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!