Genre: Chick Lit/Women's Fictions
Age Group: Adult
Publication Date: March 18th 2014
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Source: Provided by publisher
In this witty, sexy tale, an erotic novelist meets the fictional hero of her most recent book in real life, and must decide whether she wants to get him back between the pages—or between her sheets.At forty-six, Sadie Fuller’s life isn't exactly romantic. A divorced, overweight, somewhat sexually frustrated mother of an eleven-year-old, she lives in the suburbs, shops the big box stores, makes small talk with her small-minded neighbors, and generally leads a quiet life. But while her daughter is at school, or when Sadie is up late at night, she writes erotic fiction under the name KT Briggs.
Then, during a routine shopping trip, Sadie runs into someone familiar…too familiar, in fact. She encounters an incredibly handsome man exactly like the one in her imagination—and her latest novel. Is Aidan Hathaway really one of her characters? And if so, what is he doing in Target? As Sadie tries to negotiate this strange new world, her eyes begin to open to romantic possibilities in places she never dreamed of looking... places where Happily Ever After might not be so far-fetched after all.
Happily Ever After sounded like it would be right up my alley. While I don't have marriage and kids under my belt, I could definitely relate to the midlife crisis and starting over themes of the book. Although this is your categorized contemporary there is a slight twist in the story as the author takes you on a funny and borderline supernatural ride.
Sadie Fuller seems like your run of the mill single mother but she also moonlights as an author. What began as a foray into romance soon turned into writing erotica after a painful breakup and her delusions about love were crushed. Sadie was one of the most interesting and funny heroines I've come across lately! Raising a preteen daughter alone is difficult but in addition to that she also cares for her gay ex husband Roger. This is kind of a big fear for me. Marrying a guy, having a family and discovering I was his "Beard". Unlike me though Sadie was more observant to all Rogers quirks. Her relationship with him was insane but humorous. I didn't understand why she ended up paying alimony to the flamboyant yoga instructor after they split but it worked for them. I liked the fact that she and Roger remained friends after the split and raise their daughter together.
Sadie was fantastic. She was ballsy, independent and real. I saw myself in her with the cynical outlook on love we both share. Her voice and the way she looked at life was very realistic and she added humor to every situation without going overboard. The addition of Jason, the Craigslist fuck buddy she met, was something I enjoyed so much with this story. He was such a great guy and I knew he would end up falling for Sadie despite their agreement to keep it just sex. You know a guy loves you when he brings sandwiches to your sex dates. Poor Jason was kind of a putz and he wasn't the worlds most suave guy but he was loyal and supportive and those are amazing qualities in a man for me.
The meat of the story is where the exciting and crazy twist comes in. Because Sadie is a writer, the focus is on Aidan. A character from her latest erotic novel who literally steps off the pages and into her world. LITERALLY. For anyone who has seen the movie Stranger Than Fiction you will understand this plot twist. When one of her other characters hijacks her current manuscript and banishes the couple to the real world, Sadie has 48 hours to return them or they disappear. This was a very odd thing to throw into a contemporary novel but you know what? It totally worked for me! It was like getting a story within a story and that is always a bonus for me. Meeting Aiden and his love interest Lily was sexy and brought a dynamic to the book that just increased it's uniqueness. Aiden was a funny guy to follow. He may have been written a specific way (typical alpha hero) but seeing his progression in reality made me laugh several times. Becoming a lovesick Mooney fool is not sexy in erotic novels it seems. The fact that he got on Sadie's nerves with his whining and pining for Lily just made me cackle out loud.
Happily Ever After was an incredibly funny look at the life of an author who is driven by her characters. It's not as glamorous as we the readers imagine and knowing authors have everyday lives and issues makes them more relatable. This was such a great book. It was fun, imaginative, witty, romantic and just all around delightful. The only reason I put it down was the share the hilarious quotes on social media. Maxwell really took me out of my element and brought me into her world and didn't bring me back until she was done with me. In all honesty I loved everything about this book. The inner story characters, the humor and the plot all worked together to give me a wonderful and unique reading experience I won't soon forget. Not everyone gets a Happily Ever After in real life and it really pleased me to see that Maxwell adhered to that principal in her novel. The way she chose to wrap up her story, while not traditional, really stayed true to the overall theme of the book. It was definitely something that stood out in a sea of recycled plots, so if you enjoy a good story with some surprise elements thrown in then you have to read Happily Ever After NOW!
The thought of that belly banging into mine left a bitter taste in my mouth. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I just date like a normal divorced, fat single mother? Page 38
Inside the bathroom, I struggle into the SPANX, panting from exertion. I pull and push and rearrange my flesh under the skintight garment, striving for a smooth surface. I push my gigantic breasts up so they spill fetchingly, I hope, over the top of the bodice. It's so hot. The SPANX make it worse. This must be what it feels like to be a St. Bernard living in Boca Raton. Page 139
"Don't do that again." I whisper to Aidan.
"Put the girls in a trance or whatever it is you do," I say.
"I was just being friendly," he says.
"Well, be less friendly then. I don't want them following us home like cats in heat."
Everything is disposable, from the books we read to the cars we drive to the clothes we wear. Even love is disposable these days. We treat it poorly, t dies, and we move on. Or it never shows up to begin with because of our expectations are out of line with reality. We spend too much time wallowing in the happily-ever-afters of fictitious characters rather than going out and creating our own. Page 272
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About The Author:
Elizabeth Maxwell lived for a long time in the east until one particularly snowy February when she couldn't take it anymore, packed up her angry cat and moved west. She’s been hanging out in the Northern California sunshine ever since. (well, except for a decade in San Francisco where it was foggy all the time but the restaurants were really good so there was that.)Elizabeth currently lives in Davis, CA with her husband, two kids and the same angry cat (who is now 97 cat years old.) Happily Ever After is her first novel with Touchstone Books. She also writes under the name Beth McMullen.