Happy Reading: Six Novels That Will Make You Feel Better About Life

Today’s post by our very own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Sometimes the bad stuff can get to us– wars, poverty, tragedies, and politics weigh on our minds, showing up in our Facebook feed, scrolling across our tv screens and becoming the topic of conversation around the water cooler. So what do we do when we want to turn off the bad news?

We open a book.

Today we’ve got the perfect stories to turn to when you just want to feel good about the state of humanity–

The Someday JarTHE SOMEDAY JAR by Allison Morgan

Real-estate broker Lanie Howard figures she has the perfect man, the perfect job, and the perfect life. Then she stumbles across her old Someday Jar, the forgotten glass relic where she stashed all the childhood wishes—no matter how crazy—that her father encouraged her to write down on the backs of Chinese restaurant fortunes. She used to be fun once! What happened to her?

Although Lanie is wary of uncorking her past, when an attractive stranger saves her from a life-or-death encounter with a lemon peel at the bottom of a martini glass, she realizes that life is way too short for regrets. Now, jar in hand, Lanie decides to throw caution to the wind, and carry out everything she had once hoped to do, even if it means leaving her perfectly “perfect” life behind…


A Measure of HappinessA MEASURE OF HAPPINESS by Lorrie Thomson

Katherine Lamontagne isn’t Celeste Barnes’s mother, but ever since Celeste graduated high school and her parents abandoned Hidden Harbor, Maine, she’s acted the part. At twenty-two, Celeste worked at Katherine’s bakery, and hoped to buy the business once Katherine took early retirement. But when Katherine reconsidered that decision, Celeste fled to culinary school in New York—only to return two months later, a shadow of the girl who’d stormed out the door.

Katherine knows the signs of secret heartbreak. Years ago, she gave up her baby son for adoption—a regret she’s never shared with either her ex-husband or Celeste. She longs for Celeste to confide in her now. But it will be a stranger in town—an engaging young wanderer named Zach Fitzgerald—who spurs them toward healing. As both women are drawn into Zach’s questioning heart, they also rediscover their own appetites for truth and for love—and gain the courage to face the past without being imprisoned by it.

Uplifting, emotionally rich, and deeply satisfying, A Measure of Happiness illuminates the nature of friendship, motherhood, hope—and the gifts of second chances.


Rainy Day SistersRAINY DAY SISTERS by Kate Hewitt

When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favor to Juliet.

Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.


The Little Paris BookshopTHE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP by Nina George

Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.


Cold FeetCOLD FEET by Amy Fitzhenry

Everyone’s expecting her to walk down the aisle.
But something is telling her to run.

Emma Moon’s mother thinks it’s acceptable to miss her only daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner for a work obligation. Her father left when she was six months old. Emma hasn’t exactly been raised to be a happily-ever-after kind of girl.

So when her anxieties get out of hand, Emma and her best friend, Liv, decide to take a road trip to San Francisco, find her long-lost father, and put her family issues to rest.

But her quest for the truth stirs up events and emotions she didn’t expect. The urge to run away may just be a part of Emma’s genetic makeup, because she’s growing more and more tempted to do just that…


The Paris KeyTHE PARIS KEY by Juliet Blackwell

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

12 Responses to Happy Reading: Six Novels That Will Make You Feel Better About Life

  1. Ginny Yttrup October 12, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    A great list, Marybeth. I immediately ordered one of the novels you mentioned and added a few more to my wish list. I need to balance the intensity of life with some positive reads!

  2. bj October 12, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Adding more to TBR list, grows every higher! Thanks for the recommendations.

  3. Beth Joubert October 12, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you for suggesting something happy. I am tired of reading depressing novels about disturbed people or heartbreaking situations. I almost quit reading, or at least started avoiding the typical recommended reading list. Life is good sometimes, too!

  4. Katherine October 12, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

    Yes, it’s good to read books about the “important” stuff, but oh, how we need these too! Thank you for including these here. I’ve read only Rainy Day Sisters (and loved it–certainly agreeing that it belongs on this list).

  5. Skintology Renewal July 13, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

    Excellent post.Never knew this, regards for
    letting me know.

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  7. Alfredo February 2, 2019 at 10:17 pm #

    What’s up friends, its wonderful piece of writing on the topic of cultureand entirely explained, keep it up all
    the time.

  8. Betsy February 18, 2019 at 10:17 pm #

    Good post. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

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