Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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

 **Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

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 neighbors 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.

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, theatre director, and playwright. She writes small town romance and women's fiction while juggling the performing arts studio and youth theatre she owns with her husband. She is the author of thirteen novels. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist. Her novel Just Let Go won the Carol in 2019, and three of her novels have also been Christy-award finalists. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written three craft books and several musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children.

When I pick up a book by Courtney Walsh, I know that I am going to be in for a wonderful read every single time. I have yet to read one that I did not like... but I must say, this one might just be my favorite yet (or it's tied right up there with My Phony Valentine at least!)

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley felt different to me than the books by Courtney Walsh I had read in the past... but in the best way possible. The romance is still definitely there (and super swoon worthy, I must say), but it's about so much more than that. In this story we get to go along with Isadora as she finds her people and heals from her past, and I LOVED it!

I related to Isadora on a very personal level too. I'm definitely the quiet, socially awkward girl who struggles in making friends. There was an even a moment in the story where she reflects back on a memory that happened with a grade school best friend that felt almost eerily similar to my own childhood experiences. I'll admit, I got tear a few times with this one... but I loved it just the same!

This is without a doubt an absolute must read!


  1. I was already excited for this one, but when you said it's your favorite, it makes me want to read it more!! It sounds right up my alley! Fabulous review!!


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