the happy life of isadora bentley
by Courtney Walsh*
Published: June 13, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Sweet Romance
Setting: Chicago, Present Day
What happens when a broken-hearted, introverted university researcher decides to gather her own real-world data on the thirty-one steps to happiness?
Isadora Bentley just wants to be left alone. She doesn’t want to get to know her neighbors, the women in her yoga class, or the students she supposed to be mentoring. Because of difficult childhood experiences and recent heartbreak, Isadora doesn’t like relationships, nor does she believe she’ll ever truly be happy. She starts her own private research project trying to disprove a magazine article that claims one could make their own happiness. Along the way, Isadora forges friendships with three unlikely friends, loses her heart to a handsome professor, and finds the magazine article might be accurate.
Although this story is a romance, it is also about finding happiness by getting out of your comfort zone to have friendships with people you wouldn’t expect to. I enjoyed the self-deprecating humor, especially when Sir David Attenborough makes appearances in Isadora’s head like something out of a wilderness documentary. There are also moments you might need a Kleenex, especially in some scenes with a grieving widower.
Why it’s not five hearts for me:
Told in Isadora’s first person point-of-view, we don’t get inside the love interest’s head, which is a shame. Isadora's impressions of Dr. Cal Baxter make him seem too good to be true. The story dragged in the middle, and Isadora’s revelations became repetitive. A God-centered revelation would have been fitting for a book by this Christian author. Having said that, I found the book entertaining and would recommend it.
*You can find Courtney at courtneywalshwrites.com.