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The Secret of Happy Ever After

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  4,397 ratings  ·  341 reviews
Michelle doesn’t believe in fairy tales. She’s a hard-headed businesswoman, making a fresh start in a new town. And when she decides to take over a neglected book shop, she knows the perfect manager.

For book-loving Anna, it’s a dream come true—and not just because it gives her an escape from her three demanding step-children and their adorable but hyperactive Dalmatian. A
Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 10th 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published November 2011)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,397 ratings  ·  341 reviews

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Norah Una Sumner
Not sure how I feel about this book.

Hmm,I have a love-hate relationship with this book.I love the fact that library and books are a big part of this story,but on the other hand I don't think I really liked any of the characters.I'm quite fond of Anna,but she can be annoying sometimes.There's a lot of things I didn't like,including the ending,but I'm giving this book 3 stars because I enjoyed reading it and I loved Anna's step-children and Pongo,of course.

Things I liked:
1.) Like I said,I really l
Eustacia Tan
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist
The Secret of Happy Ever After revolves around a bookstore. Anna is given the chance at her dream job and run a bookstore leased by her friend Michelle. In the course of the year, many events happen, and they both (predictably) come out better for it.

I think what made this book really great was Michelle. It's easy to write a book that's full of book lovers, so the inclusion of an extremely business minded person like Michelle made for a great contrast. I can actually understand her arguments, a
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nice-little-book
Nice book...nothing great, nothing bad. Ending is a bit abrupt and a little too "happily ever after". I was expecting a little more fireworks at the end. While I like kids books, the references were a bit too much of it for my tastes. I have a 9 year old daughter and sorry, in today's world, they just aren't enthralled with Little Women (and neither was I 40 years ago.)There are many many amazing books written by wonderful children's authors today and the March sisters just aren't relatable.

Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lucy Dillon - my new favourite author! This is the first of her books I have read and I will be serching out her previous ones asap!
I was captivated even before I started the story because Lucy Dillon is a woman after my own heart who mentions her love of Enid Blyton, Malory Towers, Chalet School, Ballet Shoes, Mrs Pepperpot - oh, numerous books that were the very heart of my own childhood - and of many more like us. Her knowledge and love of these childhood stories shouts from the pages and I
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This started as a really fun and mostly quite light slice of life/romance novel, set around a small town and bouncing between two POV characters, one of whom runs a homewares store and the other of whom winds up managing the bookstore next door. All the delightful wallowing in books - especially the kids books - was really great and totally up my alley, and I also really enjoyed that the author did a great job showing an existing relationship and how both parties had to work at it, rather than j ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Liked. Did not love.

I guess I could pin that down to reading 2 books in a row by the same author, but I know it had nothing to do with it.

I identified a lot with Michelle, yet I feel like I never really broke down the walls she built up around herself. Oh, the irony is not lost on me, believe me. I loved her relationship with Rory – she thinks he’s messy, he thinks she has a “Knick-Knacks” shop - and how it evolved throughout the book!

I felt a huge sympathy for Anna. She’s like this Superwoman
Liana Macklin
I have just finished forcing my way through to the end of this book, and have quickly jumped on here to read other people's reviews as I found that I really didn't enjoy this book and want to hear what other people think. All the reviews seem really positive, so I am wondering what I am missing?
My experiences of this story come down to three points of view.
1. The writing itself, several times I had to go back and re-read sentences/paragraphs as they didn't make sense.
2. Michelle. Such a snob,
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I would have given this novel two stars, but for the delicate way Dillon presented being a stepmother, and feeling as though you are a bit part in your own story. Really effectively done, and particularly poignant for me as I find myself in this position these days.

What failed to light this novel up was the balance. There wasn't masses of plot to begin with, but it was stretched so thoroughly over 450 pages that it became thin, and then everything was tied up with neat ribbons in just a few page
Jelena Milenković
There was a lot of things that bothered me, including the conclusion of the story!
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: feelgood
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gurdeep Assi
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Great storyline with interesting characters. A Lucy Dillon novel never fails to grab you, such an enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Last year I read my first Lucy Dillon novel when I read Walking Back To Happiness. I loved it, it was warm and it was just the perfect book to curl up with during the colder Tenerife months. (Yes, Tenerife has colder months!) So when I received a copy of her new novel The Secret of Happy Ever After I was looking for yet another warm and enjoyable read, not to mention some loveable dogs (it’s all about the dogs for me; who needs likeable characters when you have loveable, cute dogs?) and I’m plea ...more
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Okay so, so many thoughts about this one.

First off, found out about this while browsing through GR.

So thank you for the suggestion for book related books about....books.

And the summary had me at: bookshop.

So of course this would be my kind of read right? Well, let's just say I was surprised with this one.

You have two different women, Michelle a businesswoman who starts a shop called Home Sweet Home and then the shop next door which was already a bookshop.

She then has the book shop running
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A book that mentions other books, is always going to be a winner with me. I'm also a sucker for Listopia on Goodreads, so I thought I would use my little cat shaped post its to keep track of all the books mentioned to make a list when I was finished. Well, I was getting through a lot of post its and even had to commit the cardinal sin of turning the pages down(something I would NEVER do under normal circumstances). Turns out there is a list of the books in the back......however it doesn't list A ...more
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I found it sweet and cozy and wanted to read more about the great book shop. However, there were times that I disliked every character, or maybe it was just the way they were acting at the time. I guess this makes it more true to life though - everyone acts badly at one time or another, and relationships don't go smoothly all the time. As the title of the book says though, by the ending things were working out happily for everyone. I would love to r ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: zzz2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve heard many good things about this author, and this is the first time I’m reading one of her books. I got slightly confused at times, as I felt there were characters being mentioned that hadn’t been introduced (or that I’d completely missed the introductions), but from reading the reviews I now get that they are characters from Dillon’s other books. They were all minor characters anyway, it didn’t bother me that much, and I could accept that they were other people in the universe of the char ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a lovely read this was! I really enjoyed it, and loved that the main focuses wer on a reader, library and local bookshop - perfect combination!
Maryam Dinzly
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you know me well, you would know why I was attracted to this book. This book isn't really about love. Well, actually it is, but it's more about life. And the things you go through. You can really learn alot of things from reading this book, but if you're a booknerd like me, you'd learn about so much more books to add on to your evergrowing book list HAHA. This book is about two bestfriends, Michelle and Anna. They are two complete opposites, but they bonded over an unexpected incident. Michel ...more
Lemony Lemon
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fate. Just like that.
Michelle was a sophisticated businesswoman who always thinks about profit and sales. Despite her cold and composed demeanor, lies a fragile woman who was once shrouded with traumatic dark past. She managed to conquer her trauma and became very successful and independent.
Love come when we least expected it.
Anna, a selfless person who married a divorcee and managed to get three stepdaughters. Teenagers. Teenagers are rebellious, sarcastic, dramatic and inconsiderate. For som
Blodeuedd Finland
Feb 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: romantic-fiction
I have been wanting to read a Dillon book for some time now. And this summer I decided to try to read at least 10 library books, and Dillon was one of those.

A nice little town/village. I'd love to live there, it sounds nice.

Two Povs. Anna who lives with her husband, and he has shared custody of 3 kids and a dog. I felt sorry for her. She tried so hard to please those kids. She took care of the, the dog, the house. She wanted a child of her own, but her husband said wait. But for how long? One is
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a heartwarming lovely book! I have knly just recently started reading chick lit but I truly enjoyed this book! Apparently all of Lucy Dillon's books include dogs somehow which I adore as I am a huge animal lover and I'm a sucker for animal stories (particularly those with happy endings) but this book also focused on a bookshop. It is my lifelong dream to own or work in a bookshop and this made me so warm inside. I also loved the way relationships are depicted in this cute novel - themes of ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the second of Lucy Dillon's books that I've read, the first being Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts and I came away from that one feeling vaguely disappointed. The Secret of Happy Ever After didn't leave me disappointed. I fairly sped through this in an evening. I don't whether it was the nostalgia from all the memories of childhood reading or the two main characters just being so empathetic and realistic, but I absolutely loved this. The plot was both funny and heartbreaking in various places ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
This was truly a book about happy ever after and how life isn't what you expected. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. This book proves that. I used a lot of time reading this book. But I'm happy I didn't rush it. I finished it now; the morning I'm off to study abroad in Leeds. I'm so scared but by reading the book about the secret of happy ever after, it made me calmer. Everything's going to be alright. ...more
Kate Hewitt
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-reads
I enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts. One of the main characters, Michelle, was pretty unlikable and you didn't find out why until the very end. Also, again, a lot of the romance was off the page--I don't just mean love scenes, but the getting-to-know-you scenes. Still I like Dillon's writing style and I'm reading another of hers now. ...more
I got halfway through this on sheer will but I cannot take it any mor4e. I just cannot waste ANY more time on these annoying, stupid, egomaniacal and immature characters. The ONLY one I like is Becca. The ONLY one.

I will never ever read anything else by this author, ever.


Swedish audiobook. A boring narrator, and a translator clearly lacking in skills didn't make it better.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this so much. A heartwarming story of two women and their lives, their trials, their loves, their families, and a few dogs and a load of books besides. The sort of story that is both true to life and uplifting and optimistic.
Donna  Reiter Brandwein
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the story of the friendship between these two women. Lovely details that made them come to life. Th villain really really creeped me out and I found myself reading those pages as fast as I could!
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Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria, worked for a while in publishing in London, and now lives in the Wye Valley with her husband and their Border terrier. She has written eight novels set in the fictional Midlands town of Longhampton, which looks a bit like Hereford, although the inhabitants tend to sound rather more Northern than that.

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11 likes · 1 comments
“A town without a bookshop is a town without a soul.” 13 likes
“All i care about is giving you the happy ever after you want. In our own messy, complicated way.” 10 likes
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