Friday, June 2, 2023

Review: The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Releases: June 13, 2023
368 pages
About the Book:

She’s out to prove that there’s no such thing as choosing happiness.

Isadora Bentley follows the rules. Isadora Bentley likes things just so. Isadora Bentley believes that happiness is something that flat-out doesn’t exist in her life—and never will.

As a university researcher, Isadora keeps to herself as much as possible. She avoids the students she’s supposed to befriend and mentor. She stays away from her neighbors and lives her own quiet, organized life in her own quiet, organized apartment. And she will never get involved in a romantic relationship again—especially with another academic. It will be just Isadora and her research. Forever.

But on her thirtieth birthday, Isadora does something completely out of character. The young woman who never does anything “on a whim” makes an impulse purchase of a magazine featuring a silly article detailing “Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy”—which includes everything from smiling at strangers to exercising for endorphins to giving in to your chocolate cravings. Isadora decides to create her own secret research project—proving the writer of the ridiculous piece wrong.

As Isadora gets deeper into her research—and meets a handsome professor along the way—she’s stunned to discover that maybe, just maybe, she’s proving herself wrong. Perhaps there’s actually something to this happiness concept, and possibly there’s something to be said for loosening up and letting life take you somewhere . . . happy.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I had high hopes for this book as I have enjoyed quite a few of Ms. Walsh’s books in the past. Isadora Bentley is a researcher at a university and she's an introvert who would rather work alone, stay in her comfort zone and is not great around people. She comes across this article entitled ‘31 ways to be Happy’ and on a whim she picks it up and decides to work on proving it wrong by performing each of the 31 steps. The first step is smile to a stranger, through that one little action she meets a stranger, and they end up becoming friends. She then meets somebody else, and her friendship circle continues to grow. When she starts this project, she is not very happy and pretty much alone, we watch her find friends and grow. I did enjoy seeing how other people impacted her life and pushed her out of her comfort zone. She ends up doing a lot of things she would have never done if she hadn't tried this project. The more I think about it I liked the side characters more than I did Isadora and I went into this thinking I would relate to closely to Isadora. What I did not like about this book is that Ms. Walsh has written strong faith stories in the past and it is promoted as Christian fiction but there is pretty much no faith in this story. It ends with Isadora saying happiness is a choice and I need to choose to be happy. This felt like a new age, self-help kind of book to me because she was really relying on herself. Someone tells her he wants to make her happy and she responds you can't make me happy I need to make myself happy. Due to the subject matter, there was a huge opportunity here to include the One who is the true source of happiness. I am disappointed with the way this book went. 

(I received an ARC of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other books from this author that I have reviewed:   


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