Book Reviews

Book Review: Secrets From a Happy Marriage, by Maisey Yates

Secrets From a Happy Marriage,

by Maisey Yates

Publication: HQN; May 12, 2020

secrets from a happy marriageAbout the book: New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates’s new novel introduces the women of the Lighthouse Inn B&B. They might not have it all together, but this summer, they’ll discover that together, they might still have it all…

Rachel Henderson’s family is falling apart. Becoming a widow—especially at this age—is heartbreaking. With her teenage daughter, Emma, leaving soon for college, Rachel needs a friend—but local diner owner Adam is the last person she ever thought she’d lean on.

From the outside, her little sister, Anna, has a picture-perfect marriage. But the weight of it is suffocating her. The only way for her to breathe again comes at a high price, one she’s not so sure she can pay.

After raising two daughters on her own, their mother, Wendy, knows just how hard life can be. She’s done things she’s not proud of, things she desperately wants to keep from her girls—until keeping quiet is no longer an option.

As long-held secrets bubble up and their old lives unravel, this family will need all their strength to start again and open their hearts up to the possibility of more. But most of all, they’ll need each other…

**My Review**

If you are a fan of Maisey Yates, you know that she is quite the romance writer, especially romances with hot cowboys. Secrets From a Happy Marriage is something completely different for her and it completely blew me away.

In a tiny little town in Oregon is the Lighthouse Inn. Single-parent Wendy won a contest to fix the place up and turn it into an inn when her daughters were just young. Decades later, they are all still there with their various roles running the inn. Rachel is in her late thirties and preparing to say goodbye to her husband Jacob, who has been sick for years after getting meningitis and then cancer. They’ve been married and in love since Rachel was 18 and they have a daughter Emma, who is getting ready to graduate high school and go away to college. 

Emma dreams of attending college across the country at her dream school to major in Marine Biology. But between her father dying and finally meeting her crush, Luke, she’s torn between leaving for Boston or attending a school closer to home.

Rachel’s younger sister, Anna, is also in her thirties and is married to a pastor named Thomas. What seems to be an idyllic marriage from an outsider’s perspective, is actually a sad and impersonal relationship that pushes Anna to a shocking and life-changing decision that affects everyone around her. 

There is so much to unpack in this novel, but every single page, every single word – is absolutely incredible. So yes, early on, Rachel’s husband dies and she is learning to navigate life as a widow while trying to maintain a sense of control over her soon-to-be eighteen-year-old daughter. But not only is Emma starting to push every button imaginable Rachel is also wrestling with the decisions Anna has made and is slowly and stubbornly trying to understand the reasons behind her decisions. On top of that, there is her growing friendship with Adam, the owner of the diner in town. Their friendship has always been casual yet comfortable. But when she starts wondering about Adam differently, she faces the dilemma of what is the appropriate time to wait to start dating after losing a spouse?

The plot of the novel not only centers around mistakes and hardships but is about the reassembling of a family. Yates slowly but effectively breaks down the issues that each of the four women are dealing with and beautifully weaves them together demonstrating that no matter your age, we all fight the same battles at some point in our lives. Each of their issues was relatable, relevant, and will strike a chord with the readers. It’s beautiful watching this originally disjointed family come together in the face of their losses, their lies, their mistakes, and finally, their truths. 

My only criticism at all about this book is the description of the characters. The entire novel is beautifully written and everything flows like a well-oiled machine. However, I realized at some point in the novel, that except for some red hair in the family, I had absolutely no idea what any of the characters looked like except for Adam. This didn’t change how much I loved the book, but it did occur to me that I couldn’t really “see” the characters.

Having said that, this is still one of my top reads this year. I can easily see this being adapted for the screen because of the variety of characters, the beautiful setting, and the myriad of personal stories that all came together in the end. This book isn’t about marriage, but about love as a whole whether it’s the love for a family member, brand-new, young love, or the love of a place and a dream. Bravo to Maisey Yates for this unique and moving novel. I laughed, I cried, and I was so sad when I realized I had reached the end of the road with these characters. 

*Thanks to HQN and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!


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