Happy People Read and Drink Coffee: conforms to romance rules

July 25, 2016

Author: Agnes Martin-Lugand / Reviewer: Felicity Moore

Synopsis: Diane is a wife and mother, and the owner of a literary café in the heart of Paris; she leads an idyllic life. Tragedy rips into her happiness and she must figure out how to move on with her life without her husband and young daughter, who were killed in a terrible car accident.

A year passes and her business is struggling and Diane can still barely get out of bed. She abruptly decides to move to Ireland for a change of scenery and there she embarks, at times reluctantly, upon the healing journey. She meets handsome Irishman Edward, a brooding photographer whose abruptness makes being neighbourly a challenge. However, over time their relationship flourishes, until once again, the cruel hand of fate steps in.

Review: Happy People Read and Drink Coffee was first published in France and was a bestseller, before being translated into English and published in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

This light, frothy read is a perfect beach holiday book as it can easily be devoured in just a day or two.

I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of Frenchness in this book.

The translated version seemed to wipe every element of Francaise flavour from the plot, the language and the culture. For a French book, it’s not very French!

In most regards, this novel conforms to the romance rules – a tragedy that must be overcome for happiness and love to flourish, a handsome man with pain that only the love of a good woman can heal.

However, I found the plot devices flimsy. Our hero was too abrupt, especially for an Irishman. The melting of his icy demeanour seemed too contrived, the conditions that brought them together just a smidge too unbelievable – even for a romance novel. The dialogue was just a shade too clunky in places and the secondary characters were not well developed.

Having said that, if you’re on the hunt for a quick, light and enjoyable read, then this book ticks all the boxes. The protagonist’s character arc comes to a fulfilling conclusion and for fans of self-discovery books such as Eat, Pray, Love, or Under the Tuscan Sun, this is a lighter version of those types of books and you will probably enjoy it.

Rating: two out of five stars Two stars

Connect with the publisher, Allen & Unwin – here

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