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Happy Ever(ywhere) After

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My future is bleak. I shiver at the prospect of having a nine-to-five work routine, a white-collar husband, a thirty-year mortgage, and a mountain of diapers to keep myself entertained. It is a dream of every girl in my town, a sensible dream, but for me, it feels like shackles and chains.

All I’ve ever wanted was to be free, leave this suffocating den of drudgery and travel the world. This desire is secret, burning, and… impossible. Not in this lifetime, not when my fate is sealed.

Yet when a coffee-reader’s divination sets the most unusual events in motion, I embark on a journey with no return. I may lose a lot on the way... But I may gain MYSELF.


Inspired by the author's nomadic lifestyle, this contemporary quest for meaning explores the ups and downs of being an ex-pat in Turkey, Costa Rica, Colombia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Because home is not a place but a state of mind. And love is a story with a Happy Ever(ywhere) After.


Elena Leman's words tugged at my heart, filled me with hope, and cut me with the pain and loneliness of self-discovery.
~Danielle Lori, Author of Made Series

An "Eat, Pray Love" but with a different spin.
~Anna Rova, CLAIMED Podcast Founder

Happy Ever(ywhere) After is, at its core, a love story. And by that, I mean love of exploration, love of new experiences, love of dance, love of foreign lands, and yes, even some romantic story-lines are threaded throughout.
~Thomas O., Goodreads Reviewer

A truly wonderful and intimate journey that made me smile, laugh and think deeply about the decisions we make and what drives us to explore the world.
~Iwona Orlowska, Goodreads Reviewer

459 pages, Paperback

First published December 6, 2018

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About the author

Elena Leman

4 books18 followers
Elena Leman is a traveler, poet, English teacher, and the author of Shadowlight series and Happy Ever(ywhere) After. Her twelve years of expat life in Turkey, Costa Rica, Colombia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, Brazil, and Portugal filled her imagination with mystical rituals, exotic folklore, thirst for adventure, and a bit of drama—all the essential ingredients for a page-turner. Currently, she’s living in Lisbon, Portugal. When she’s not writing, you can catch her kicking the guts out of a punching bag, finding her zen in meditation, swaying her hips to kizomba beats, or strolling along the Portuguese cliffs.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3e6Tjb4

Twitter: ElenaLemanBooks

Facebook: @authorelenaleman1

Instagram: @authorelenaleman

Email: authorelenaleman@gmail.com

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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Cecily Wolfe.
Author 20 books491 followers
February 7, 2019
A compelling and enlightening journey with adventure and romance that made me feel as if I was enjoying Kamila's physical travels as I was engaged with her personal journey as well. This meaningful story features exceptional writing that makes this story a standout that will appeal to readers of a variety of fiction and those looking for inspiration and hope as they pursue their own inner travels.
Profile Image for E.M. Swift-Hook.
Author 49 books189 followers
April 8, 2019
Self-Discovery Travelling The World

Kamila is running from a bad relationship when she leaves her home in Poland. But the words of a fortune teller in Turkey set her on a new path, journeying both around the world and in search of herself and her spirituality.

What I Really Enjoyed:

This is an awesome book. It educates you like the best kind of travelogue might do, but with Kamila as a companion and guide, it felt more as if one was living it all with her than viewing it through the windows of a tour bus.
I felt this book probably has more than a touch of the autobiographical about it. The descriptions of the places and people were so vivid it comes as no surprise to find the author had lived and worked in them. We breathed the air, heard the music, smelt the smells and saw the sights as vivid and real.
Kamila was the perfect flawed heroine for this tale. Not in any way perfect, she lied, she was naive, she did things at times that made me want to cover my face with embarrassment for her folly. But she was real. Deep. Someone you felt you could know, or had known.

What I Struggled With:

The spirituality. Whilst so much was the kind of worldly wisdom that added to the reading, the deeper sense of connectivity to a somehow sentient and caring Universe, lost me. What I did appreciate though, was that the book managed to keep on the right side of the line in this, so it never came over as preaching.

Overall Thoughts:

I loved this book. I think anyone with an interest in the human condition would find it well worth a read.
Profile Image for Caroline.
3 reviews
December 9, 2018
Happy Ever(ywhere) After took me on a beautiful journey and I didn’t even leave my bed. It's a bit like Eat, Pray, Love Eat, Pray, Love but on a budget and with much more sex. Kamila, the main heroine, is a fresh graduate from Poland, which I thought was extra intriguing, as her worldview was very different from the one an American protagonist would have.

So Kamila embarks on a journey across six countries completely on whim, encouraged by a fortuneteller. Actually, any choice that girl ever makes is based on hunches and "signs from the Universe" and never on logic. If that's indeed what the author did, parabéns! I would never be able to do that.

I liked the most the Costa Rican part because of the intense love story with Santiago, a hot "Latino lover.” The LGBT accent in the Colombian part made me dreamy as hell. :) The Malaysian part was a bit too New-Age for my taste but I love that it was there, where Kamila finally got her answers. Hong Kong and Thailand parts ripped my heart out but in a good way.

I had a love-and-hate relationship with Kamila. I sometimes admired her so much but at times I just wanted to slap her for all the irresponsible shit she's done. But at the same time, I've never felt prouder of a character. She made a long journey in the search of her life purpose and in the end she found it. There is a Happy Ending with a twist which at first annoyed me but after a few days (yes, I thought about this book for a week after finishing it!) it all made sense.

Nonetheless, what I enjoyed the most about this eclectic novel was the description of the places Kamila has visited. She describes them so vividly and emotionally that many times I got myself completely engrossed and transported to those exotic lands--Cahuita beach in Costa Rica, the neon-lit streets of Hong Kong, the wild Barranquilla carnival... I've already put all those places on my Bucket List and Koh Lanta island in Thailand is the first one to come!

Overall, Happy Ever(ywhere) After is a lovely and transporting read that will take you across the globe. Perfect Christmas gift for anyone undecided what to do with their lives next! But it should come with a warning—this book will make them want to drop everything and buy first ticket either to Latin America or Southeast Asia.
Profile Image for Thomas O..
Author 5 books21 followers
April 14, 2019
Happy Ever(ywhere) After is, at its core, a love story. And by that, I mean love of exploration, love of new experiences, love of dance, love of foreign lands, and yes, even some romantic story-lines are threaded throughout. Meet Kamila, a woman with an extreme case of wanderlust who lives and works in six different countries throughout the course of the book. We first find her in Turkey, having just graduated from university and dreading the thought of returning to her native Poland and its limited opportunities. A trip to a fortune teller gives her the motivation she needs to spread her wings and explore the globe. And with that – she’s off!

From that point on, the reader is gifted with a series of unique adventures as Kamila lives and works abroad. Costa Rica - teaching English during the week and trying not to fall in love on weekends. Columbia - dancing, psychedelic experiences, and a new love. Hong Kong – reconnecting with an old friend. Malaysia - working for a New Thought guru. Thailand - trying to achieve her life’s ultimate goal on limited funds.

Author Elena Lehman has crafted a wonderful book, one that only a true lover-of-cultures could have made. The book is fiction but it reads as a true story, with an incredible amount of detailed knowledge. It was a fun read that left me wishing I’d travelled more in my youth.
Profile Image for Kameron Williams.
Author 3 books26 followers
January 29, 2019
Loved it!

This was an unexpected treat of a story, where excitement, adventure and romance abound. As someone who considers himself to be well traveled and culturally aware, I was surprised and delighted at how many new things I learned in just the first few chapters. Pura Vida!

On top of this, the prose was crisp and engaging, and there were several occasions where I meant to read only for a half hour or so, but was completely sucked in and kept reading and lost track of time. It was that good. Being a free spirit myself and enjoying my fare share of adventure, I both related to and rooted for the main character. The secondary characters are lively and vivid, and just the right doses of romance and humor keeps the pages turning.
Profile Image for Leah Lopez.
4 reviews
December 9, 2018
I don’t usually read travel memoirs, nor spiritual/inspirational/visionary books (whatever you call them). But I clicked on this one because it’s about my beloved hometown, Barranquilla, and I wanted to see what the author has to say about it.

Let me just tell you… I loved it! It was so cool to read about the school I used to go to, the bars and beaches, about our amazing carnival! Quien lo vive, es quien lo goza! I was pissed at first at the author for not liking Colombian girls but soon she made up for it in the most unexpected and thrilling way… But I’m not going to say more about her sweet Colombian adventure, not to spoil the fun for you, guys. The author’s appreciation for the Colombian culture, dance, lifestyle, food and indigenous rituals won me over and that’s why I am giving the book 5 stars.

But obviously, there are many more cool things about this book. I’m all into romance and erotica and there are quite a few hot adventures with exotic lovers that Kamila, the protagonist, has. There are also three big loves, each of them very different, teaching Kamila different things. And even though I prefer the good old Happy Ever After over Happy EverYWHERE After, I was glad that the ultimate love Kamila has found was herself.
Profile Image for Angel.
3 reviews
December 12, 2018
I couldn’t decide between giving this book four and five stars but I've finally gave it the highest note for one reason: I’ve learned so much about the world from this story.

I've never before heard of Ayahusaca or San Pedro cactus, nor of Happy Shakes, or Thaipusam. I’ve never felt an urge to travel and certainly not to Asia but (ironically) HEA made me wanna see Hong Kong on my own eyes. I wonder if it’s indeed such an otherworldly, futuristic city with a "glass soul."

The author has a way to take you through various countries and their traditions in an addictive and deeply intimate way. You discover new lands together with her, with curiosity, excitement and a little bit of fear. This book truly IS a journey and an unforgettable one.
Profile Image for Jaime Chérigo.
2 reviews1 follower
December 9, 2018
For me, this book is so much more than just another reading, another story. The way Elena (the author) tells her story easily makes me forget I have a book between my hands and I often feel like watching an exciting movie, or traveling around the world in my imagination, with Kamila (the main character) in her numerous (and often unpredictable) adventures. I just love how with this story it's so easy to feel like you're visiting, discovering, and even tasting, so many countries, from different parts of the world like Poland, Turkey, Costa Rica, Colombia, China, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. and somehow it all falls together making perfect sense with the plot, it's captivating.

My favorite characters were: 1) Santiago because he's a romantic hippie (just like me), and 2) Anika because, in spite of her crazy workaholic ego, she is mysterious, has so much personal power and determination... and she is so mystical! I've had mixed feelings with the main character, Kamila, I loved her and had lots of fun with ver adventures at times, but at other times I just thought she was an immature brat that needed to grow up. And didn't like her so much at those times. Still, I do think that's what this story is all about: teaching us, inspiring us, to feel that you too can dare to be an immature brat and a fool, from time to time, and throw yourself into the open arms of adventure, and give the universe a chance to bring out the best of you in the process...

And that's how it was for Kamila, she dared, she screwed up, she fell in love (and out of love) many times, she fought, she tried, she got back up, she stayed hungry and went for more, she chose to risk it all, and in the end... She won herself back! I just love a story that can do all of this, show the reader a continuous process of growth and evolution through the whole story, and do it in a fun and exciting way at the same time. And on top of that, holding an important life message hidden in between the lines (so read carefully), that's just wonderful! I truly recommend it.
Profile Image for Elani Roman.
Author 18 books50 followers
April 28, 2019
This book will leave you inspired to find your Pura Vida. I love dancing and cultural dances, night life, local references to the culture, was amazingly done by the author. The meatphors and descriptive language was so thoughtful and fresh. The way the text flowed was so lyrical. The different interactions with people, brought back alot of memories for me of my own experices with my friends and family ( My family comes from Carribean culture). The easy flow of the story and vivid details will make you feel like you are right there in the moment. I love the awareness moment in the park, and enlightenment journey. I did not put this book down. It makes you want to keep turning the pages, to see where the adventure will take you. This book will not disappoint and is a must read. We all get so busy in our daily lives, this book is an exciting reminder to reconnect to self and find your purpose and give back to the world. I loved it! It made me cry with the scene of Anika, and the beach. One of the quotes that stood out, I mean there were so many in this book, but this one right here: "It doesnt matter what you say or do if what you feel doesnt match with your actions" Loved this line.
Profile Image for Robert Rosado.
Author 1 book2 followers
April 17, 2019
I tend to be very picky about what I read because of my limited time i have in a day to even get a chapter of any book done. So its hard for me to commit to anything without having an idea of what I am getting into. Combine that with the fact that as an eye witness to 9/11 when living in NY, and driving by ground zero every day during work, reminding me of the incident, The idea of traveling around the world is just completely intimidating to me.

In comes Elena Leman to the rescue. To show me through her character, Kamila, all there is to love about traveling. Now this is normally not my kind of genre, or my style of story, and what i got out of it is probably very different then what most people got out of it. Because i got to envision what some parts of the world might be like and it showed me what i could potentially be missing out on. While it did not cure me of my long standing fear of travel, it has certainly reminded me that it is worth at least considering again.

Again not normally my style of genre or even type of story, which is more of a testament to the care, detail, and story telling of the author that not only did she manage to tell an engaging story, it even somewhat opened my eyes on a personal level. A Job well done to say the least.
Profile Image for SoulfulEyes.
3 reviews
December 11, 2018
What a lovely, dreamy novel! Definitely one of the best books I've read this year. Somehow, it reminds me of a female, contemporary version of The Little Prince or The Catcher in the Rye. Just like Holden Caulfield, Kamila glides across her reality full of random encounters. We follow her stream of consciousness across the world, learn with her, laugh with her, cry with her… Fail with her and get on our feet, again, and again, and again.

Kamila’s a wonderful protagonist—wide-eyed, a bit self-absorbed, but with a big heart and enormous curiosity of the world. She grows throughout the story, often through pain and tears. With each heartbreak, yet another layer of her outdated worldview sheds away until she becomes the truest version of herself.

The character development is what makes a good read for me and the one presented in Happy Ever(ywhere) After is a deeply satisfying one. And even though the book gets a bit too wordy at times, I think it’s a very successful debut, Ms. Leman. Can’t wait for more!
Profile Image for Steve Cantwell.
Author 3 books3 followers
February 27, 2019
The blurb for this book states that it is “inspired by the author’s nomadic lifestyle”. I assume from this and the style of the writing that it is at least semi-autobiographical.
It certainly feels real. The descriptions are vivid and engaging, and you really feel her passion, frustration, loneliness, and many other emotions as she takes you on her journey.
The story takes you through Kamila’s loves, heartbreaks and spiritual adventures as she lives and works in one corner of the world after another. It is about her restlessness and search for her true self, meaning and home.
I am amazed and awed that a person who is not a native speaker of a language can write so well and so evocatively in it. Occasionally there are little glimpses that English may not be the author’s first language, such as unusual uses of the definite article, but these moments simply help to make Kamila’s character more real and more appealing. The writing really is exceptional.
I would expect anybody with any sort of wanderlust, whether it is dreaming in their armchair at home or lying in a hammock on a Malaysian beach, to thoroughly enjoy this book. Or anyone who likes excellent writing and tales of self-discovery.
1 review
December 15, 2018
If you're ready for any changes in your life but don't know where to start or need to make just one more step, then it's your book! I was lucky to read it when felt lost and didn't know whether I was going in the right direction.
The book is written by the girl from your neighborhood, the girl who comes from a small place, but grew out of it. As all the other people who seek for more in their lives, she had to go through people's opinion and breaking stereotypes proving to herself that she deserves what she wants, that she is the one and only person who can create her universe.
This is not a how-to-become-successful book, it's about how to find your true self. It's a huge collection of author's thoughts on society, sex, freedom, traveling, nature, universe. You will love the descriptions of different countries and will find a lot of moments you can relate to.
As I said, the book is written by your friend, someone you know so well, someone you would love to party or discuss news with. Someone you can trust.
P.S. Don't forget to laugh, some moments are hilarious! :)
1 review2 followers
January 17, 2019
I have to say that it was one of the best books I've read so far. It grasped me since the first word and took me in a journey from which I didn't want to leave. More than adventures experienced while travelling, it guides you through an interesting self-discovery journey, adorned with mysticism, magic and beauty. Appropriate for any kind of reader, from lone-travelers, desperate housewives and well-established business men, everyone will feel that they make part of this incredible story.
1 review
January 17, 2019
It's a fun book about self-development, traveling and womanhood. I must confess that it is not the type of literature I consume regularly, but I got trapped since the very beginning. Witty sometimes, very descriptive most of the time, it transports you into de places the main character lives throughout the chapters.

A good option to read on holidays.
Profile Image for Anna Ceachirova.
1 review233 followers
December 11, 2018
Loved everything about this book! An "Eat, Pray Love" but with a different spin. I connected to Kamila, the protagonist on so many different levels as a woman, a traveler, a searcher and a believer in magic. Elena Leman takes you into her own unique world or adventure, love, heartbreak, and personal growth in such a unique and awesome way. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Elena Leman.
Author 4 books18 followers
December 9, 2018
As the author, I can't say if Happy Ever(ywhere) After is any good. I'm like the mother who will love her child no matter what. But one thing is sure--I've put a whole lot of effort into giving birth to this story. Writing it took five months of delirious joy, interspersed with doubts, sleepless nights, and gecko chirps. What followed was five years of rewriting... and recrying.

At times, I abandoned the book. I was sure I would never ever muster the courage to bring it to the light of day. But the desire to share this story burned my heart like an undigested dream. I had no choice but to take my place in the world as a writer. So here I am. You, Dear Reader, decide on what happens next.

It is done.
Profile Image for Mary Elizabeth Hughes.
Author 8 books24 followers
June 2, 2019
“Happy Ever(ywhere) After” is the story of adventure and many kinds of exploration which I took to be non-fiction. To some extent it is a coming of age chronicle. Elena Leman begins her story with a great opening chapter. She's having her fortune told by an old crone in a Turkish cafe and is advised to wait for the glance of a red-eyed frog.

Divided into 59 chapters, all enticingly named, Elena Leman begins her story in Turkey where she is doing graduate work in English. Looking for the next step, she joins a student association that offers internship opportunities all over the world. A brochure for Costa Rica features a red-eyed frog. Her destiny is clear.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, a love affair with a gorgeous guy with dreadlocks is well underway when Elena takes a step back to give us the back story, She'd been trapped in a failed love affair in Poland, but she also knew she needed to escape from the stifling environment of her village.

Elena tells us about the food in every country, about her roommates and about the nightlife. She is one flirtatious lady, a word she uses frequently about herself. We learn very little about her work as a teacher in Costa Rica and Colombia but more than enough about her love life. There is a pattern with her affairs, as there normally is: the initial attraction, the consummation, the highs of the affair and inevitably the denouement, always disappointment and a reason to move on to the next place.

There are wonderful scenes throughout. Although English is her second language, Elena Loman is a splendid writer and there are many vivid adventures especially in the first half. Her participation in Carnival parades is described with enthusiasm and colour. There's bungee jumping, meditation circles and a flash flood to deal with and night after night of partying.

Love and lust and luck keep her moving, from Colombia to Hong Kong to Malaysia and finally to Thailand. Evidently she is presently in Brazil. But about half way through , the search for good times turns to a spiritual quest and soon she decides to pursue a life as a writer. This quest is often sidetracked by the aforementioned love and lust, but little by little she moves forward. The later chapters focus on spiritual growth or lack thereof, and there is less and less attention given to a sense of place. However, many fine poems are included.

As a reader of a certain age, I would have preferred more about the culture of each country and less about her erotic adventures. But this is her story and she tells it well.
Profile Image for Joe Eagleman.
Author 17 books5 followers
July 8, 2019

Elena Leman begins her story as her main character, Kamila, is having her fortune told and is very skeptical when she is advised to wait for the glance of a red-eyed frog.

The book is divided into 59 chapters. The author begins her story in Turkey and is unsure where she is headed when she joins a student association that offers internship opportunities all over the world. She picks up a brochure for Costa Rica and sees the red-eyed frog and her journey begins. She offers great detail about Costa Rica and the many other places she visited. She also weaves in the details of her love life.

Her description of places and activities are written in a manner that makes them seem real instead of fictitious. The last chapters center on her search for inner well being.
Elena Leman is a very entertaining writer and is able to make her stories seem real.
June 16, 2020
A truly wonderful and intimate journey that made me smile, laugh and think deeply about the decisions we make and what drives us to explore the world. There were so many moments when I could associate myself with the protagonist, Kamila, and truly understand her life choices. I left my country just after university and accepted an internship abroad. It opened a whole new world to me. I loved reading about Kamila’s experience, adventures, friendships, and hardships. It is the type of book that I want to read again as I might have already forgotten some dialogues or descriptions.. I read it so fast as I just could not stop, I needed to know what happened next. Does the protagonist find what she is looking for? - I kept asking myself and continued the journey. I truly recommend the book to every person that enjoys travelling, lives abroad, or is on a personal journey. Thanks to Happy Ever(ywhere) After, you will be able to travel to stunning places even if you cannot physically travel at the moment. The book will take you on a journey you would not expect to embark on.
Profile Image for Loralee.
Author 12 books73 followers
May 22, 2019
Part travelogue, part novel, this story weaves the two together quite well. It begins with the protagonist Kamila gets some advice from a strange old woman, a fortune teller, and follows it, taking off to travel all around the world and having all sorts of eye-opening adventures along the way. It would be a fun read for someone who wants to travel to these places about what to prepare for if one plans on going to these places, or just imagine about if one wants to travel to these places, but can't. It's kind of like a travel documentary but put into novel form and given adult situations. There is swearing in the book and adult situations as I mentioned.
1 review
September 29, 2020
Happy Ever(ywhere) After is a wonderful story of a young woman's travel, spiritual and life experiences. I loved going on this vivid journey with Kamila. Elena's descriptions of idyllic lands and different cultures hooked me in from the start. I felt, and revelled in all of the highs and lows of the main character throughout the book. It was so easy to relate to Kamila and join her on this epic trip of self discovery, freedom and adventure. There is no glossing over the less glamorous aspects of travelling, cultural differences and romance which makes it all the more real and gripping.

I truly recommend this honest and captivating tale. I can't wait for what Elena has in store next!
1 review6 followers
September 17, 2020
A wonderful, wander-lust inspiring read. Anyone who has ever felt the pull of the travel bug, or who has ever left home behind to start a new life somewhere else, will enjoy Happy Ever(ywhere) after. Personally I loved the descriptions that transported me across continents with Kamila, and the relatable revelations on life and spirituality that came along the way. <3
Profile Image for Vanessa Morgan.
Author 11 books292 followers
June 3, 2019
I fell in love with this book – crazy, madly, deeply in love. It takes you across the world to countries such as Costa Rica and Turkey and is filled with spirituality, joy, love, sun, and adventure. Expect to book your next plane ticket after reading Happy Ever(ywhere) After.
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