Monday, 21 November 2011

Review of The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon

The Secret of Happy Ever After is Lucy Dillon's fourth book.

Lucy Dillon is, for me, one of those magical authors whose writing seems to make the outside world disappear. I instantly sunk into this book and loved returning to the world of Longhampton where her previous two novels were set.

The novel has two central characters; book loving step-mother to three girls and one dalmation Anna and local shop owner Michelle. The two meet on Michelle's first day in Longhampton in the dog friendly cafe and instantly strike up a close friendship. Both women are in relationship situations that are anything but straightforward. Anna is trying to be the perfect step mother and wife at the same time as longing for her own baby. Michelle has separated from her husband and seems to be running away from her own family. A shocking revelation at the end of the book really changed my view of Michelle and made her seem a much more vulnerable character than portrayed throughout the early part of the novel.

The setting of a bookshop was one of the biggest selling points for me. It is quite an unusual setting and worked perfectly and just sounded so gorgeous and cozy that I was quite mesmerized by it. Anna runs the bookshop on Michelle’s behalf and turns it into a haven for local book lovers, there is a magical atmosphere as Anna brings the neglected bookshop back to life. Dillon has very cleverly interspersed the novel with references to classic children’s novels and this all made me remember all of the childhood books that I read and now I feel like I want to re-read them again. There are lots of twists and turns in this novel and a good few surprises that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I love all of Dillon’s novels, the inclusion of dogs is a major selling point but I also love that this is chick lit without all of the pink fluffiness. Dillon writes about real life issues in an easy going way that many readers will be able to relate to. Going back to Longhampton was such a treat for me as a reader and I was pleased to see the inclusion of some of the characters from Dillon’s earlier novels set in the same location. The dogs are just divine and I felt like I wanted to scoop Tavish up and take him home.
I actually think that The Secret of Happy Ever After is my favourite of Dillon’s books so far and I would highly recommend it.

Thank you to Hodder for sending me a copy to review.


  1. Great review. I've loved all of Lucy's other books so this one is on the top of my Christmas wishlist...just hope family take the hint ;)

  2. Hello! The Secret of Happy Ever After looks great, I'll put it on my Amazon list! Thanks for the review

    PS. Have you noticed this year, how many front covers show a girl in a red coat?!

  3. I've had this on my list to read!