Book Review: The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh

The Blurb:

She’s out to prove that there’s no such thing as choosing happiness.

Isadora Bentley follows the rules. Isadora Bentley likes things just so. Isadora Bentley believes that happiness is something that flat-out doesn’t exist in her life—and never will.

As a university researcher, Isadora keeps to herself as much as possible. She avoids the students she’s supposed to befriend and mentor. She stays away from her neighbours and lives her own quiet, organized life in her own quiet, organized apartment. And she will never get involved in a romantic relationship again—especially with another academic. It will be just Isadora and her research. Forever.

But on her thirtieth birthday, Isadora does something completely out of character. The young woman who never does anything “on a whim” makes an impulse purchase of a magazine featuring a silly article detailing “Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy”—which includes everything from smiling at strangers to exercising for endorphins to giving in to your chocolate cravings. Isadora decides to create her own secret research project—proving the writer of the ridiculous piece wrong.

As Isadora gets deeper into her research—and meets a handsome professor along the way—she’s stunned to discover that maybe, just maybe, she’s proving herself wrong. Perhaps there’s actually something to this happiness concept, and possibly there’s something to be said for loosening up and letting life take you somewhere . . . happy.

My Rating: ★★★★

My Review:

Read in a day, The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley is a wonderfully heart warming novel that highlights the importance of being open to life, choosing happiness and of human connection.

Isadora Bentley, academic and introvert, is closed off to life and all it has to offer, insistent that she is better on her own. Having been hurt by so many, including her own mother, Isadora is determined to prove that she has no need or desire for human connection and the happiness it could bring. While utterly heart breaking, I connected to (as most people who have been hurt would be able to), Isadora’s need to protect herself; her determination never to be vulnerable again.

Feeling so connected to her character, I enjoyed her journey, watching her open up even as she remained resolved not to do so. Determined to debunk the idea that making 31 simple changes to her life would bring her happiness, I loved watching Isadora embark on a journey of self discovery, building the most beautiful and unlikely friendships along the way.

A novel of friendships, romance and second chances, The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley was unputdownable, giving me all the feels. Highly recommend.

With thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for this advanced copy in return for an honest review.

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