Published by Allen & Unwin on June 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Girls & Women, Literary, Love & Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance
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The bestselling French phenomenon now being made into a Hollywood movie.Diane has a charmed life as a wife, a mother and the owner of a literary cafe in Paris called Happy People Read and 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 . . .At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is the inspirational story of a woman finding new meaning-and love-in the wake of devastating loss.
Life was good for Diane. She had a thriving literary cafe with a business partner she loved and a family she adored. But when her husband and daughter die tragically, a part of Diane died with them. After a year of closing herself up in her house and refusing to go back to her former life, Diane moves to the Irish coast to try and move on without the memories of her loved ones haunting her. With a nosy landlady and surly neighbour, Irish life is not what Diane expected but it might just be what she needed to find her way back to reading, drinking coffee and being happy again.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is the perfect mix of PS I Love You and Under the Tuscan Sun. A heartbroken woman going abroad to try and piece her life back together. From the start of the novel I really felt for Diane. The love she had for her husband and daughter was palpable and her sorrow at them leaving her before their time was evident in everything she did. In running away to Ireland, there was a sense that Diane didn’t really want to move on but rather just wallow in a new destination. The cast of characters she met on the Green Isle pulled her out from under her grief and forced her to accept her future.
Diane is a great character to follow as she comes to terms being a widow and child-less mother. After the tragedy she faced and as closed off as she initially appears, I found myself wanting her to find some peace and happiness. And then there’s Edward, the dark and brooding next door neighbour whom Diane finds herself drawn to. Whilst I could understand Edward’s appeal (he’s all surly and got a bit of a Fitzwilliam Darcy vibe to him) I was a little disconnected from the romance. I think I missed that moment when I felt Diane and Edward really deserved each other. Edward, as wonderfully sarcastic and twisty as he was, is a man of extremes and has moments of resentment towards Diane and then times of tenderness. I wanted more middle ground. That said, I can see how many readers would be attracted to the handsome photographer’s hot and cold behaviour. He’s slightly mysterious and complicated in that delicious bad boy kind of a way.
As Diane comes back to life in Ireland we get to meet a colourful cast of characters who really make this book something special. The setting is a character in itself and the descriptions of the land and country had a very cinematic vibe. Edward’s family are great and a wonderful contrast to him. And Diane’s best friend brings some much appreciated comic relief at dramatic moments.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is a beautiful story about a woman finding herself after being lost in grief and finding something to live for. It’s more than a love story and whilst romance is a feature, this book is uplifting and heartwarming. For anyone who enjoys a book which is both heartbreaking and emotionally satisfying – this book is for you. I had a great time reading this book and am eagerly awaiting the release of the sequel, Don’t Worry, Life is Easy.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee in ten (or eleven) words or less: Emotionally satisfying story about love, loss & learning to live again.