Review: Happily by Sophie Tanner

7 May 2017


How far will you go for your Happily Ever After? 

Chloe Usher’s had enough of being asked why she's ‘still single’; people can’t seem to understand why she’s not freaking out about the slippery slope to spinsterhood. But, as far as Chloe’s concerned, life is sweet; she’s happy, she loves her job, her friends and her flat share next to Brighton beach. One summer evening, after being told that she will never know what love is until she has children, she decides to say ‘actually, I do!’ and announces to her friends that she’s going to marry herself. She’s not quite prepared for the huge reaction to her news on social media and finds herself thrust firmly into the public eye; suddenly she’s a spokesperson for every crazy cat lady out there. With the warm support of her colourful extended family, Chloe attempts to justify her self wedding and the events that unfold take her on a bumpy journey of self-discovery - making exciting new connections and settling old ghosts.

This is a cheeky, original and light-heartedly subversive tale that challenges the notion of ‘settling down’.


The idea behind this book seemed like a very interesting concept, in that the protagonist Chloe intends to ‘marry’ herself. I found myself intrigued as to the reasons behind this and how it would play out within the plot. However, despite this being the major part of the plot, it then lead to other sub-plots which seemed equally as important. It was quite an easy read but one that kept me wanting to read on.
The character development within this novel was well demonstrated. As the reader, I felt a connection with each of the characters and was therefore concerned when something violent happened to them. The information about the characters and especially Chloe’s past was drip fed which kept me interested enough to keep reading in order to find out what the big secret was. The way in which new characters were introduced through the TV filming was a strong idea as it gave reason to why some of them had such different backgrounds and lifestyles but still fit into the story.
The relationships involved within the story felt a little predictable once the characters had been introduced, however there were a few obstacles thrown in in order to make it seem like the ending may not be as you’d imagine. In this way though it felt a little contradictory as it seemed like the theme of the book was centered on being confident and happy with yourself without needing a relationship with somebody else. Despite this, I didn’t feel that it affected my enjoyment of the story, although Seth didn’t have too much background revealed which left me a little disappointed.
The themes through the book mostly focus on love in different forms, but I found that although the majority of it was positive, it also portrayed the much darker and often side when the love isn’t accepted by everybody. This is shown through Joey and the homophobia that he and Chloe are shown at the parade. The way that this dark turn was intertwined with some of the lighter moments was quite surprising for me, as I wasn’t expecting anything particularly negative to happen with Joey. However, I felt that this was a welcome addition as it reminds the reader that although the idea of marrying yourself may seem a little obscure, there is also a reality to the other goings on within the story.
Overall there were many things about this book that I found made it a good read and when I reached the end, there were still a few questions that I had about what happened after the wedding. If there were a sequel to discover if Chloe really did find happiness, then I’d be interested in reading it.


Disclosure: The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own

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