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Alice Hartley's Happiness
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Alice Hartley's Happiness

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2.41 of 5 stars 2.41  ·  rating details  ·  550 ratings  ·  98 reviews
When Professor Charles Pringle does not react to his wife`s special birthday dance of the seven veils, Alice decides to leave him and moves in with an unsuspecting student, Michael. His aunt dies and leaves him her house, so the couple move in and convert it into a "growth centre".
Paperback, 275 pages
Published (first published August 1st 2009)
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Mahala
To people who insist that this book only gets bad reviews because readers compare it to her more famous works, I have to confess: I have never read a Philippa Gregory book. And this may be the worst possible choice to start with.

I can forgive the faux liberation, the haphazard romping disguised as sexual freedom, the preachiness. (Yes, this book is as preachy as a Chick Tract, only in the opposite direction.) What I can't forgive is the terrible, terrible writing. Characters that are not so much
...more
Shonna Froebel
My mom bought this book last summer when we were in a discount book store. The reason she bought it is that Alice Hartley was also my (paternal) grandmother's name. Scanning the back cover where it said "Alice Hartley is a woman in her prime. Yet she is not happy. Her husband refuses to respond to her mature delights, leaving her powerless as his interest strays elsewhere. ..." grabbed our attention. When my grandma asked me for books, she was always careful to tell me "no sex", so this descript ...more
Janice
This book really made me laugh, the black humour I found immensely entertaining. Having assumed it was another historical novel I was surprised to find it wasn't at all what I was expecting, why on earth did the publisher choose such a misleading cover? Anyway I'm glad I didn't read the bad reviews before I picked it up because I would have missed a thoroughly enjoyable book, full of hilarious one-liners and tongue in cheek social comment. Admittedly as you get towards the end of the book the st ...more
Gayle
I picked this up randomly while browsing in the library since I have read a number of Philippa Gregory's historical novels. This one written 20 years ago now is more contemporary and focuses on the wife of a university professor. As one myself, I really couldn't relate to the university environment and I found the whole book rather odd, especially the scene with the baby and the dolphins! Not one to recommend unfortunately.
Bronwyn
I almost stopped reading this after the first few chapters, it gradually got better but was well below the usual standards of this author. Not one I'll read again.
Mycroft
I struggled through this, though thankfully it was a quick read. Gregory does manage to maintain her reader friendly prose, but... As the other reviewer mentioned, no character is likable, but that isn't really the problem. In much of Gregory's other works even characters making horrible choices are compelling and understood evoking reader sympathy. Their values and interests and backgrounds are explored and through this, their characters have depth. This depth is missing in this novel. Several ...more
Norma
This book was not what I expected. I thought going by the cover it was historical fiction. It was a pleasant surprise. It was about a woman stuck in a boring marriage, her husband is having an affair with a young student. Things start to turn really bizarre as she takes up with a younger man and they embark on an alternative lifestyle, much to the horror of the local community. I thoroughly enjoyed this and would highly recommend it.
Bonny
I loved this book! Such a departure from the historical novels Ms. Gregory is famous for.

This story is quite contemporary and could easily be set anytime in the last 20 years or so, and is also still valid today.

Alice is unhappy with her life and especially with her marriage. Her husband is having an affair wth one of his students. So a chance encounter with a young man who comes to the house to borrow a desk to use in a play, gives Alice a swift idea on how to get her revenge on her husband an
...more
Kasia James
What a romp this book is!
If you are reading it hoping for historical fiction, you will be sadly disappointed, because this feels more like the author's pressure valve - her plaything. It may make you want to go out and live a better, freer life. At times, it reminded me a bit of Tom Sharpe, with the Alice's magnificent disregard for authority.
It is very interesting the way that Gregory talks directly to the reader at a few points too, so that we are well aware that this is her fictional playthin
...more
Elizabeth Ashworth
I've read a few of Philippa Gregory's historical novels, and given up on some part way through for various reasons. But Alice Hartley's Happiness was a different type of novel altogether. It was funny and quirky. It tells the story of Alice Hartley who leaves her boring husband, taking all his belongings with her. She picks up a toy-boy lover and almost accidentally sets of a commune to enable people to grow and to love one another. Not to be taken too seriously it was a refreshing change from t ...more
Heather Browning
I really don't know what to think about this book. I feel like I must have missed some important subtext. In the beginning I thought I was in for a 50 Shades-style 'bored housewife sexual awakening' story, and was pleased when things started getting a little strange, because I thought I would instead be getting an interesting story about psychosis. Perhaps that is what was going on, but it was never made explicit and the ending didn't really have any payoff in that regard. It was almost just a s ...more
Fiona
Alice in her 40's is at the prime of her life but her husband is boring and worse of all having an affair with one of his young students. Chance leads her into the arms of 20 year old Michael who has inherited a large house and together they decided to make it a sanctuary for those seeking alternative therapies . Making money hand over fist by charging for her therapy , Alice is happy and besotted. But not everyone in the village is happy and just as she believes things are working well for her ...more
Feebles
different from her other books - but looking forward to reading the White Princess and her new set of novels that are being released
Dana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bianca
Alice is a lonely housewife who tries to keep busy by involving herself with a writers club and therapy. One night while dancing for her husband he asks for a divorce so he can be with a graduate student he is having an affair with.

Later in the night Michael, a university student, appears on her doorstep to use Prof Hartley's furniture as props in a play. Alice is instantly in lust and removes all the furniture and her husband's clothes from their home. Michael's and Alice spend the night toget
...more
Katie
Alice Hartley is the plump, middle aged wife of a university professor, has a penchant for new age theories, floaty scarves and lots of sex. When she finds out that her husband is having an affair with one of his students, Alice decides that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander (or vice versa) and promptly drives off in a removal van with one of her husband’s students who has come to collect a desk that he promised to lend the drama group for a play. Not only do they take the desk, ...more
Forgotten Realms Queen
Holy moly. Gregory really steps out of her realm of normalcy for this book. It's about a woman who's husband plans to leave her for a younger woman, only she leaves him for a younger man first, in a form of advanced vengeance. I love how she does it too. Hubby takes some sleeping pills, and she moves all the furniture out of the house while he's sleeping. This was the best part of the book.

After that though it kinda goes downhill. Alice sets up a new age retreat in the house of the young man's a
...more
Amy John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly
My brother found this book at an op-shop and picked it up for me since he knows I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory's. Unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy this book. 40 pages in and I didn't like any of the characters, had no interest in the story and could predict where it was going (I read the last chapter and wasn't wrong). I'll go back to reading only Philippa's historical novels now.
Ambrosia Jefferson
Well thanks to this book I now find myself really locked in a book slump. I hope to break that slump soon.

I have loved Phillipa Gregory's other works and I mean loved. I was very excited to delve into something that seemed a little different but since it was Gregory would be good. Sadly I was to be disappointed. While the writing is still in the usual reader friendly style that makes the book easy to read and a fast read, the story is just bad. There is not a single likeable character in the who
...more
Naomi
This was the first Philippa Gregory book that I have read that was not a historical novel.

The book was about a woman, Alice Hartley, who left her husband and moved in with her lover (Michael- a student at university whom she has only just met). They move into the house of Michael’s aunt. From there they set up a Growth Centre.

People come to the growth centre to take various classes, smoke cannabis, engage in prostitution and many more things. It is here where a pregnant woman goes and Alice tak
...more
Rachel
Alice Hartley's Happiness opens with Alice's husband announcing he wants to divorce his free-spirited wife. She sees this as an excellent opportunity to bring her herbal healing skills to the greater public. When I first read a description of the book, I didn't expect it to be a sharp satire. It's a very funny book, and it does a great job of skewering patriarchal society and trends of the early 1990s. However, it's a little light on character development. To me, Alice seemed like more of a mout ...more
Nicole Yovanoff
it was a fun easy read. I was actually expecting the book to be a historical fiction which was what I am use to reading from Philippa Gregory, but instead got this odd modern tale of a woman runing from her husband and taking a much younger lover. A little odd and hippy-dippy, but a light read.
Rebecca
I have loved reading Philippa Gregory since first reading The Constant Princess. I enjoyed another book of hers set in modern day however this one I did not. It was scattered, the characters had no real personality, the setting and situation although interesting was not well written.
Stefanie
I picked it up because the writing was engaging, but once I got a dozen pages in, it was pretty clear this one wasn't going anywhere deep. I read it with the attitude of one of those English farces, where everything is one dimensional and slightly ridiculous. It was enjoyable enough that way. Still - I couldn't believe this was published in the early 90s. Were things really still that bad for women then? It's hard for me to believe.

It was my first time reading Philippa Gregory, and I understand
...more
scarlettraces
If you're confused by how different this is to the books Gregory is no doubt earning a packet from, it's a satire, folks. In the grand English tradition of mocking the shit out of everything but particularly academia.
Barbara Tiede
Professor Charles Hartley, approaching middle age, has realized what’s wrong with his life—it’s his wife, Alice, part of his struggling, underfunded, under-regarded Past. Just as certainly, little Miranda Bloomfeather, with her skimpy clothes, pert little bum, and grades in need of improvement, is undoubtedly the Future. This leaves poor Alice powerless and unhappy until a chance encounter brings her the opportunity to escape and embrace the taste of freedom.
This is a delightful, rollicking rom
...more
Cynthia Kuenzi
I thought I was grabbing a historical fiction novel; my favorite genre. Wrong! I would describe the story as a farce. A randy middle-aged woman, Alice Hartley is cast aside by her jerk of a husband, a professor. She takes-up with a hormonally charged but "inexperienced" college student. Together they open a "Center for Growth" which basically sets-up faculty wives with college boys. This is a pretty funny read with quirky disciples of "The Center for Growth" coming and going; following the "heal ...more
Den
Mar 06, 2014 Den rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Not what I was expecting at all and although I read it all it took me ages to do so. A book this size should have been read in a day or two. Didn't particularly like the storyline or anything about it. Glad this is not the first one of her books I have read or I would have crossed them off my to-read list.
Jenna
Stopped reading halfway through, this just couldn't hold my interest the way her other books have.
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9987
Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acc ...more
More about Philippa Gregory...
The Other Boleyn Girl (The Tudor Court, #2) The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court, #1) The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1) The Queen's Fool (The Tudor Court, #4) The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)

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