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Summary

Rachel and Becca are stepsisters living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house. Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another and has given up on love. The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn't come home one night, Becca is called in to help.

As Becca begins to untangle Rachel's secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths.

©2016 Lucy Diamond (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

Praise for Summer at Shell Cottage: "Stuffed with guilty secrets and characters you'll root for from the start, this warm and emotional summer novel about a family in crisis makes for delicious summer reading." ( Sunday Express)

What listeners say about The Secrets of Happiness

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

beyond chick lit

Would you consider the audio edition of The Secrets of Happiness to be better than the print version?

Audio is better for me. I read snuggled up in bed. I can't have the light on as this would disturb my husband. Stories lull me to sleep.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The book is full of wonderful characters. Eight of whom I would love to get to know. Even the villains of the story are interesting characters, adding colour and contrast to the story.

Have you listened to any of Gabrielle Glaister’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes I have listened to her read other stories. She is alawys excellent, her characterisation is brilliant she moves seamlessly from one distinct character to another, It must be a challenge to narrate voices from Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Wales all in one story. All of whom she very believably portrait's without apparent stress.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh no. I enjoy the daily development of the story and the characters. I enjoy looking forward to the next event. The saddest thing is the end I don't want the story to finish. I really would like this book to go on and on chronicling the lives of such lovely people.

Any additional comments?

This really is a unique story. There is romance but this is not the focus of the book. If you want more than girl meets boy, they have a row, make up and fall in love and sail off into the sunset, then this book is for you. I don't think you would be disapointed.

49 people found this helpful

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light hearted read

I really enjoyed the story as it wasn't that predictable. It was a realistic story that you could believe happening.

15 people found this helpful

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Quite disappointing.

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

It was so hard to finish this book, I actually skipped from chapter 35 to the end. Sadly the lack of dramatic tension and slow storyline did little to retain my interest.

5 people found this helpful

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A joy to listen to

This book made me laugh out loud at many points. Some of the plot is predictable. Some of it is not. I could empathise with the key characters and the children were utterly believable. There are some dark threads running through it to and so I was a little disappointed at the neat tying up of ends because it would have suited the storyline for it not to have been quite so neatly packaged. Overall I really enjoyed it and will listen to it again.

9 people found this helpful

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Sweet!

Loved this book. Such a sweet great story line. The woman reading was great too.

12 people found this helpful

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Nice feel good book

Very enjoyable, well read and written.
Slightly predictable but lovely characters.
The ending leaves you feeling satisfied that you know what happened all round.

9 people found this helpful

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easy listening

I really enjoyed this book. it was easy to listen to, a bit chic lit. but ok

2 people found this helpful

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A Great Read

What did you like most about The Secrets of Happiness?

the thing I liked most about this book was a believable storyline that made me not want to put it down. The narration was perfect and made me laugh out loud.

What other book might you compare The Secrets of Happiness to, and why?

Maybe Three Wishes By Lianne Moriarty

What about Gabrielle Glaister’s performance did you like?

Fantastic - Loved it!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The meeting with all three women

Any additional comments?

One of those books you don't want to end

2 people found this helpful

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Not my type of book-weak

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Somehow got the wrong idea about this book before purchase. I found the storyline and the characters stereotypically weak. A genre I tend to avoid. Skipped through the chapters quickly.

Has The Secrets of Happiness put you off other books in this genre?

Absolutely

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Voice irritated after a while. Excellent diction and delivery just lacking in any depth.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No, sorry.

4 people found this helpful

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I didnt want it to end

what a great book. so heartwarming i didnt want it to end. it was so good i will be listening to it again

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Rianne Klaver
  • Rianne Klaver
  • 10-12-16

Nice story, voice too harsh

Like the stories of Lucy Diamond. Took a bit of time to get into this one. I'm not keen on the narrator of this book. Sound too harsh to be believable.