Recipe for a Happy Life was such a breath of fresh air and a delight to read. I read through this book in just about three or four days; there were times where I couldn’t put it down and kept saying to myself ‘oh just one more chapter.’ This book has it all: family, love, and summer time in the Hamptons. After living through this cold weather in the DC area, this book has readied me for summer!
There’s more than one recipe for a happy life.
Hannah Goodman doesn't grow up like most kids on the Upper East side. Her mother, Gray, is an award-winning photojournalist with little time for the banalities of child-rearing, and when she's not jetting off to follow the latest scoop, she's camped out at the Hotel Chelsea. The closest thing Hannah's got to a traditional matriarch is her grandmother—a glamorous widow six times over with a sprawling Hampton’s estate. But Gray is determined that her daughter resist the siren song of the trust fund set, and make her own way in the world. So Hannah does just that—becoming a successful lawyer in New York City, and dating a handsome musician. Hannah has it all, or so it seems, until one hot June day the carefully constructed pieces of her life break apart. When she throws it all in and seeks solace at her grandmother's estate, she discovers that where happiness is concerned, you don’t have to stick to the recipe. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)
This was my first time reading a book by Brenda Janowitz and I enjoyed it so much that I want to go back and read some of her other ones. I’ve exchanged a few tweets with Brenda in the past few months and she is such a sweet and funny woman that I was thrilled to finally pick up one of her books.
The story is revolves around three generations of women. The main character, Hannah grew up with a not-so-normal childhood with a Pulitzer-prize winning photographer as a mother and a wealthy and dazzling grandmother who has been married seven times. Hannah always yearned for a traditional upbringing yet has done pretty well for herself; she has a great job as a lawyer in New York City and a gorgeous rocker boyfriend. Then, one summer afternoon, the perfect life Hannah thought she had begins to fall apart and she runs off to her grandmother’s estate in the Hamptons where she spends the summer trying to put the pieces of her life back together.
Janowitz has done a wonderful job diving into the lives of these three women; even though Hannah is the main character, I found myself loving both her mother and grandmother as well. The women are very complex and have secrets and issues of their own that unfold throughout the book. The detail the author puts into describing these women makes you feel that they are a part of your lives and I found myself rooting for them until the end.
Recipe for a Happy Life is about finding happiness amidst a time of loss and betrayal and searching for your own recipe for a happy life. This is a heartwarming, funny, and charming book that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. I highly recommend this one and can’t wait to see what Janowitz comes out with next!
Karen Waskewich is a fiancee to a wonderful man and a mom to a beautiful brindled boxer in Rockville, MD. When she's not working as an IT consultant, she opens up a good book (or turns on her Kindle) or makes her way into the kitchen to cook for her family and friends. Find her at her blog. You can also learn more about her from our very first reader spotlight post!
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