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Happiness for Beginners

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,333 ratings  ·  336 reviews
Molly Baker is living her best life.

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There's Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven't t
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Sphere (first published February 21st 2019)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  2,333 ratings  ·  336 reviews

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I have never read a Carole Matthews novel before, and I only chose to read this when I saw how well it was being received by so many readers. I have to admit that I struggled to get into it at the beginning when it crossed my mind that this was not going to be for me, but it was not long before everything changed. It grabbed hold of me and never let go until before I knew it, it was the end of the book. This is a delightful read, funny, witty, with bags full of heart and overflowing with charm. ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, netgalley, arc
”I brush the dirt from my hands, my jeans, my shirt. I should introduce myself to you. How rude of me not to have done it before. I’m Molly Baker. I’m thirty-eight – no idea how that’s even possible. I’m single, but I’m not a mad cat lady. I’m a mad all-kinds-of-animals lady. Welcome to my life at Hope Farm.”

Molly runs Hope Farm, an untraditional farm that provides a home to unwanted animals: Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner, one of the alpacas with attitude; Teacup, a definitely-not-m
Jx PinkLady Reviews ♡ bookwormthoughts
Happiness for Beginners is very gentle, very slow build romance. Molly Baker runs Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire with an abundance of various animals and a host of children who for one reason or another have dropped out of school. One of those children has a soapstar actor for a dad who soon becomes the obvious love interest for Molly. The story is one I thought would sweep me off my feet and at certain moments it did but the detail of mundane activities and descriptions lost my interest and somew ...more
Rachel Gilbey
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always a happy day when I am able to read a new book by Carole Matthews, and Happiness for Beginners was a joy to read.

Mollie introduces us to Hope Farm and what they do there, plus all the animals and their back stories over the first few chapters, in such a chatty style you feel like she is talking directly to you.

And what fabulous place Hope Farm is, with its assortment of animals all with their own distinct personalities.

And then there is the school aspect of what they do there, as its no
This sort of observation really annoys me: “I don’t mention that so often with our students it can be the parents who are part of the problem”. (p46)
She runs an alternative school for children with learning disabilities and autism. How can that be the parents fault? The child she is talking about lost his mum...maybe that is why he keeps setting fire to stuff?? But nope, let’s just blame the parents.
DNF p60.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this novel, though I really tried. Seeing all the rave reviews and high ratings, it must be me... It doesn't help that it's written in first person. Perhaps I am not patient enough to wade through so much sweetness. I found it all rather predictable and nauseating. ...more
Lizzie Lamb
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One thing I like about this author's books is that they come with an inbuilt 'feel good factor'. Secondly, I like the slightly older heroines she portrays - ladies who have given up on finding love and happiness and then - wham - it finds them. This book is no exception. It also has the added bonus of farm animals with attitude (good and bad), an assistant whose t-shirts keep the heroine and her sidekick guessing (nice touch) and a to-di-for-hero in the form of Shelby. Factor in children with le ...more
Nicola Clough
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a book by Carole that doesn't disappoint me and this one was brilliant such an easy read and full of animals and students along with romance and having to move forward. It's a fantastic read and has you hooked straight away and you just want to keep reading to find out what is going to happen. Many heartbreaks along the way and can they be solved or not.
Molly lives in an old caravan on a farm where she takes in animals to rescue them and then she has students come to help on the
Jennifer Nolan
I rarely read this kind of book and I've never read this author but I was looking for a change to what I normally read so I decided to give it a go and I'm glad i did. I loved it from the 1st page to the last. I loved all the characters and I found it funny at times. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction. ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of Carole Matthews’ books, I thought Happiness for Beginners was one of her best. Molly runs a farm for children who don’t thrive in mainstream schools. She has a collection of oddball animals that the children help to look after. She has her work cut out with the arrival of Lucas, a deeply troubled teenager whose father sees Hope Farm as a last resort. This relationship is the main focus of the story, unusually, rather than the romance between Molly and Shelby. There is a lot of humour ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Reading this book made me remember why I’ve always loved Carole Matthews’ writing – she can be very, very funny (combine that with a clutch of animals with distinct personalities and wills of their own and you have a definite winning combination), but also handles a range of emotions and a number of serious issues with absolute ease. The characters in this book – human and otherwise – are just superb. Carole’s books do tend to have a charismatic heroine at their centre, and I loved Molly from th ...more
Joanna Park
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Happiness For Beginners is a fun and uplifting book which is perfect for coseying up with on a cold night.

I was drawn into the book immediately with the most hilarious opening to a book I’ve ever read! I don’t remember ever having laughed so hard at poor Molly’s attempts to placate her temperamental goat. The author’s writing style makes this book easy to read and makes you think that you are conversing with a friend due to the way the author seems to talk directly at you.

The characters in this
Meg Dean
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every single time I review a Carole Matthews book I say "this is her best one yet, it doesn't get better" and every single time she replies with "hold my tea"! I swear this woman is the QUEEN of #ChickLit!!!

Carole has taken a lovely, quirky rom-com and added animal antics galore!!!

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!!!

100 STARS!!!
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
Heartwarming romance novel set in BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

If you have ever come across Carole on Twitter, or seen her beaming smile in her promotion photos, you KNOW that Happiness for Beginners will be an upbeat and (mostly!) feel good story. She just exudes positivity and a generous spirit (and I haven’t even met her!).

Molly runs Hope Farm, from her battered caravan. She largely took over when her Aunt Hettie, with whom she grew up, passed away. Molly had a difficult childhood with a mother who was fon
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an endearing story! Happiness For Beginners is a fun romp through a wonderful world. The animals are awesome. The humans are loveable and real. It's an all around warm blanket read. If you want to smile, read this book. You will not be disappointed. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher

If ever there was a book that is sure to pick you up out of a funk and put a smile on your face and hope in your heart, then HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS by Carole Matthews is that book.

Hope Farm is Molly's entire life. It saved her from her childhood when her reclusive aunt took her in there and showed her how to love the land and the animals that belonged there, and it saved her after her aunt passed away. And now with the help of some very close
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title couldn't be more apt!!! I am a thriller addict. I dont do twee, romance, soft or heartwarming.....until now. I read a book which was heavy on emotions recently and felt I need for once something in between reads to shake my head out of the last book a bit. I am so pleasantly surprised that rather than rolling my eyes, skimming or quitting I got engrossed very quickly and like it I did, love it even- so much so I'm going off to order the xmas themed sequel. Fabulous stuff that made me l ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m debating between a 2.5 and a 3 for this one. It wouldn’t be one id choose myself however it was a book club choice. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would have reading the first couple of chapters however I found it very predictable and uneventful. I liked most of the characters and it did have a handful of funny moments however I don’t think I’d be in a great rush to read anything else by this author again.
Alayne Emmett
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely story, I’ve read many of Ms Matthews books and have loved them all, so this one didn’t disappoint me at all.
It was funny and charming and although I guessed the ending it didn’t spoil anything at all. Thanks to Netgalley for this free ebook.
Molly Baker is nearly 40 years old, living in a decrepit caravan she inherited from her aunt, more at home with animals than humans she runs a rescue centre for unloved or disabled animals which also serves as a therapy centre for children with disabilities or plain anti-social behaviour. Although she lives from hand to mouth, constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul she enjoys her life to the full. Then one day a famous TV star arrives at the farm with his teenage son Lucas in tow. Lucas has been e ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I keep saying so, but since I bought my very first Carole Matthews’ novel nearly 20 years ago it’s been a crescendo of laughter, emotions, tears, more laughter, more emotions and yes, more tears (mainly tears of joy, I hasten to add). Hers are captivating, beautifully written stories that you can’t possibly put down until you reach the end (and usually leaving you with a strong will to go to the first page and start all over again).
Happiness for Beginners is no exception and it had me up
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Are you in a reading slump?
Then Molly baker got you covered! Join her and her awesome animal friends at Hope Farm where she deals with all sorts of issues!
Molly Baker is not your typical social girl. At 38 years old, she’s more comfortable managing Hope Farm, also your non-typical farm -, where she hangs out with her animal friends, takes care of kids who are in dire need of attention and help. And much needed tea and biscuits!
But when the farm faces disclosure, she is forced to get out of her
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Recommend This Book

This book had me laughing, sometimes very loudly, crying and in general just capturing me into a place of contentment.
I loved the sound of the Hope Farm, the animals with all of their whacky characters, which, I must add, were absolutely hysterical. I found myself nodding in agreement with Molly's thoughts especially after working with children who are a little bit different, and maybe a little bit broken, but are just wanting someone to invest some time into the
Lucy Jackson
I had a couple of issues with this book, the biggest bug bear was the sheer amount of times it was mentioned that the characters were having tea and biscuits, oh my days it drove me potty!
Bits of the storyline was good, it's nice to read about a farm but for me it was all a bit meh, not really my cup of tea. 😂
Lisa M
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have long been a fan of Carole Matthews' novels and this did not disappoint.

Molly lives on a farm with literally all shapes and sizes of animals, to say it is her passion would be an understatement and I loved reading about the quirks of all the animals - they each had their own definite character and there was a lot of humour relating to them that had me chuckling along!

Molly has thrown open the farm doors to young people with either special needs, mental health or behavioural issues and thi
May 31, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-2021
3.5 ☆

Carole Matthews is one of my mums favourite authors. I’ve had two of her books on my shelf for years (as it goes), and I’ve finally read one. I will withhold too much judgement until I’ve read more from her, but the writing was a bit long winded (450 pages).

Molly is a recluse, looking after numerous quirky animals on a farm that offers respite for kids with special needs and mental health challenges.

I used to only read books of this genre. Here, there was good storytelling and a version of
Lisa Whittaker
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Carole Matthews’ books and this didn’t disappoint. I really liked how it was written - the main character, Molly, telling the story. It had me laughing and crying (not much crying though!) at the antics of Molly, Bev, Alan and the animals! Anthony the anti-social sheep! Just hilarious! I adored Bev’s character! She was everything you’d want in a friend and more!

Underneath the humour it is important to acknowledge how the farm was so important to the children that went there and how much
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delight to read this book! I was so happy to read the new Carole Matthews! Carole is one of my all time favorite author. When I pick up a book from her, I know in advance that I will have a great time and this time wasn't an exception, I had a wonderful time! one of the things I love about Carole Matthews books is that there aren't two books from her that are alike. The stories are always so different from one another. Carole Matthews has such a creativity and imagination! I love that! Th ...more
Judith van Wijk
Fun read with a large cast of strange but wonderful farm animals.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book
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Carole Matthews is an international bestselling author of hugely successful romantic comedy novels. Her unique sense of humour has won her legions of fans and critical acclaim all over the world.

A Minor Indiscretion and A Compromising Position both reached the Top 5 in the Sunday Times bestseller chart in the UK. You Drive Me Crazy reached number 8 in the original fiction charts. The novel Welcom

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