The Happiness Project

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Excellent book with a clear cut depiction of characters. The storyline is fluid and constant, and my concentration never waived. Highly recommended.
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A group of friends make a Happiness project pact for the New Year. Each woman embarks on a quest to find what it takes for her to be happy. From work, to relaxation, to stepping outside of your comfort zone each struggles but in spite of set backs with the help of their friends they find their happiness.
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Alison is a very organized, put together person.  Her son Xander and her husband are the loves of her life.  For years she has also had the love and deep friendship of her beloved mother-in-law Maggie, but when Maggie passes away, Alison has a difficult time of things.  Kate has two children and a surprise one on the the way.  She is lucky enough to have a very supportive husband and manages to get through things with her common sense and natural mothering ability.  Frankie is a single mom who has just moved out of her mother's house and is finding it tricky to manage everything for herself and her son on their own.  She also has Ben in her life, who is another single parent, recently divorced from a bitter woman, Jo.  

Kate, Frankie and Alison form a friendship of sorts and make a pact to work through their difficulties with what they name "The Happiness Project".  They each have a goal to meet and this easy, happy read takes you through all their travails and triumphs.  Nothing and no one is perfect, but these three women do their best all the same.  

Thanks to Netgalley, the author Pippa James, and the publisher Bookouture for the ARC I was lucky enough to get to read in exchange for my honest review.
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My thoughts

Narrative and plot

The Happiness Project is told from the perspective of three mothers who are dealing with life on a day to day basis. The three voices had distinct personalities which made the narrative active and fun in it's own way.

This was definitely a feel-good book and particularly reassuring if you're lagging on your New Year's resolution. ( that is, if you still remember what it was ;) ) The story line isn't exactly focused on Alison and her mother-in-law as you get from the description but it was the center from where it all began, The Happiness Project.

Characters and Conflict

With three mums - a single mother, a pregnant parent and a grief stricken mother- there is enough depth in each of the characters. In a usual romantic comedy you have your leads torn into pieces and find themselves by the end of the book. But here, they all start as well put together ladies. Only deep into the story you realise that things are not as good as it looks.

While the conflicts are not earth shattering ones,it is very real and something you could easily relate to. There were moments  when you wished things didn't get resolved so quickly. Nonetheless, every aspect of the story has come around a full circle.

However, the male characters felt too side-lined. The book mentions some aspects regarding the tension between the couples. It was kept subtle and in a good way too . Ben and Sam got their moments, but Matthew was left behind it seemed and so did Kate for some reason. The only thing I wish the book had was more life. There was not enough to cement the friendship between the three women. Also, Maggie who is actually the root to all of this is not given enough space so that reader could actually start caring about her loss. Still, it was not a dull story at all.

The characters were interesting enough that you keep on going. Unlike some stories, where the characters you start with, become completely different people by the end of the book, here, the change is realistic and believable.


Overall I enjoyed the book as one-time read. If you're a parent, I bet there are several moments you could identify with. Even through the difficult situations, the book had a bit of a light tone which kept things pleasant. The underlying message is inspiring. There are moments of self-doubt in everyone's life but there comes a point when you just have to deal with it.
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I really enjoyed this charming, sweet and ultimately uplifting novel. I feel like a happiness project is something we should all strive for.  Charming story.
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I went into this book thinking it would be a poignant and uplifting story of a women who wants to turn his life around and start living a truly happy life, and I was right! I think we can all relate to Alison a little bit, in that we strive to create the life we think we've always wanted (the perfect house, the perfect family, etc.), When someone close to Alison dies, she realizes that she needs to push herself farther outside the bounds of what she thought made her happy. There is so much to learn from this book, and it was very humorous too, which is important when a book takes on such a big topic like happiness.
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Awww….this book, it was so lovely.  I think everyone needs their own ‘happiness project.’

Everyone knows at least one of the main characters.  Initially Alison irritated me as a character but as the story went on I found I not only warmed to her but was willing her to achieve her goal.  I connected with each of the main characters and found myself feeling like they were my friends.  I didn’t like those that were against them and wanted to help them and those they loved.  

If you want a feel good book this is one to definitely read.  It addresses the differences in people's lives and the friendships they have with each other and how they overcome their own personal challenges.  I loved everything about this book.  There is always one of each of the 3 women in a friendship group and they are instantly like able.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and thought it was a beautiful poignant tale of friendship, challenges and second chances of friendship and love.
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Firstly I would like to thank NetGalley for proving me with an eARC copy of this book; all the views and opinions discussed below are my own. 

I want to start by saying that this isn’t really my normal genre; I do read some contemporary books, but it’s not my go-to genre here. So this may affect how I viewed this book; I requested this book because I thought it looked quite nice and lighthearted, and honestly that is what the book was. It was a nice easy read overall; it wasn’t particularly gripping and I wasn’t overly invested in any of the characters, however I didn’t hate the book. I don’t really have any overall strong feelings to this book, but it wasn’t terrible. 

One of the main issues I have is that I am still confused at how these characters became friends? I feel like this might be something i’ve missed but I also don’t think it was very clearly explained at any point but we’re suddenly meant to believe that they’re best friends? I think this is something that I really struggled with because none of the main three characters really seem to connect to one another and we actually very rarely see them together; we swap between their POV’s and most of this time they are just focused on themselves and sometimes they might think about one of the other characters, but that was about it. I honestly just didn’t get the impression that they were best friends. Also the partners for each characters were a bit bland, I honestly can’t even remember what all their names are now, but they all just seem to blend into one characters. They were all quite typical husbands/partners, and nothing about them really stood out to me. 

The plot of this book is about these women finding happiness, but I honestly don’t think they really did find happiness. The women always seemed to internalise their issues, and never really pushed back or confronted what was going on. Alison never speaks to her husband about how she is feeling, Kate doesn’t push back against her friend about her comments on her as a mother, and honestly all Frankie does is push back but she just seems so angry and just flies off at the drop of a hat. The “tension” we’re meant to view between Frankie and Alison was done poorly in my view; I never felt any tension between them and just felt it came out of nowhere and was just another plot point for them to hurdle over. That said I did enjoy the mud run scene, but there was so much time spent on that when it could have been used to really develop the characters further. 

The writing itself wasn’t bad, but I just never really understood the overall motivations of the characters and so found it hard to connect to them. This was an okay read, but it won’t be a book that i’ll be purchasing a copy of.
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An easy read, nothing new or ground-breaking, but likeable, realistic characters. 
Thanks for advance copy
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A lovely continuation of the story of 'I will survive' which can also be read as a standalone. We meet Allison, Kate and Frankie again as they make their New Year Resolutions in order to improve their lives and push themselves out of their comfort zone. Allison would like to focus on making healthier meals for her family and getting more fit. Frankie needs to find and keep a good job to prove to her mother that she can function as a responsible adult. Kate would like to enjoy her third pregnancy and be more relaxed and ‘Zen’. 

It is easy to relate to the subject of friends and trying to change your life (although 90% of us do give up in the first month), but the thing that makes this novel stand out is Pippa James’ writing style. Witty, realistic, entertaining, with a great pace and seamless transitions between different points of view.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
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I liked this on the whole.  It was a little light and fluffy in pages, but worked well as escapism, and kept my interest throughout.
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This book was a very easy read from start to finish. I liked the friendship between the 3 women and I particularly liked the fact that it wasn’t perfect; the book highlighted that even good friends have disagreements. Even though it was an enjoyable read I didn’t feel that the storyline was particularly strong and it just seemed to plot along however I would recommend it for someone wanting a light hearted read.
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Three friends spend New Year's Eve together and make some resolutions.  40 year old Allison is going to be healthier.  Better food for the family and exercise.  She's going to be more like her recently  deceased mother-in-law Maggie.  A better friend and wife.  Kate wants to be happier and have a good pregnancy.  Frankie wants to find a good job and keep it.  Over the course of the year the three friends help each other and make excuses for them if they falter.  This is the first book I've read by Pippa James and it's a good one.  I enjoyed the way the three women supported each other and offered a helping hand when needed.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Surprisingly funny and entertaining, Pippa James knows exactly how to deliver a feel-warm book. Three different families, three different ways of life, and one heartwarming story. 

At the beginning of the new year, three friends, Alison, Kate, and Frankie decide to follow the Happiness Project. Basically, each one of them has things they would like to change about themselves - be it something trivial as losing weight or worry less, to maybe more important tasks, like finding a job. 

Alison, the most organized of all three of them, has decided that it was time for a change and of course she couldn’t leave her girlfriends out of it.

Do you know the feeling when you want to just cuddle with the books? It leaves you emotionally satisfied and warm. That’s what «The Happiness Project» by Pippa James was to me. A light and happy read. We do need these from time to time.
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I just couldn’t get into this one. I found the main characters to all be a bit annoying and not relatable. Did end up finishing but was not a page turner.
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This is a light fun read about three friends. It is perfect if you want a little laugh or to lift your mood. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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The Happiness Project is a lovely story about three women who are unlikely friends.  I realized upon finishing this book that it is actually a sequel, but not reading the first book did not affect my enjoyment of this story.  As these characters embark on their individual "Happiness Projects," author Pippa James explores the joys and struggles of being a mother, wife and friend and embracing ups and downs of life.
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Sometimes I need a break from all the psychological thrillers I tend to read, so I was excited to pick up Pippa James's The Happiness Project. I was looking forward to an uplifting novel about characters who are beginning their own paths to happiness. While this IS what the book is about, I found myself not very uplifted at the end.

Alison, Kate, and Frankie are our three main characters on this growth journey. All have either a boyfriend or husband and children but feel they need something more in their lives outside of that. Alison gets the ball rolling on New Year's Eve by suggesting they begin a Happiness Project to get out of their comfort zones and begin living life to the fullest.

This all sounds great on paper, but I think there are two main problems with this story that I found. First, the Happiness Project itself is really only mentioned a few times throughout, mostly at the beginning. Even though these characters are supposedly on this experience together, there are not many checkpoints along the way. Because of this, the title of the book seems oddly out of place.

The other issue I had was with Kate's thin character development. Alison and Frankie both scored major accomplishments, but Kate started out as a doormat and remained one. It's great to be a wonderful wife, mother and friend, but when one of your "friends" treats you poorly (namely Natalie), and you don't eventually tell her off, the reader is left unsatisfied. Which is, unfortunately, how I felt about The Happiness Project.

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I was drawn to this book through the promise of making positive changes in an effort to bring more happiness into one’s life. Three friends decide to start the new year afresh with the goal of reaching greater heights of happiness - through either a job, health or new family outlook. 

I felt the author tried to make the interactions between the three friends as down to earth and realistic as possible, however for me, it just did not work. Perhaps, those that read the first book (this is the second in the series but can be read as a stand-alone) may have found a greater connection to the characters, unfortunately I really struggled and found them underdeveloped on the whole. 

There also appeared to be much unresolved, for example, rather strange that it is a year’s resolution yet the book ends within the first few months of the year. As mentioned, I found some of the characters - main and secondary - behaviour at times, to not quite gel and I didn’t really empathise with them. So all up, a well written story that will definitely appeal to some with its classic chick lit approach in both character and story - for me, however, it just fell a little flat which is disappointing as the premise was a worthy one. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release
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I really enjoyed this book. It was very light hearted and easy to read. It did take me a little bit to get into the story, but that was probably more to do with home life than the book. But once I got into reading it I really loved it. The characters Frankie, Kate and Alison are each very different and it's a story about friendship and the relationships behind that. You just wanted to see them all succeed in their happiness project. From Frankie's job and watching her do so well, to Alison wanting to become fitter and tackling The Glorious, to Kate and her zen pregnancy. There were times that I thought the story might have taken a different course however it was just a real feel good book. I definitely want to find out more about each of these characters so will purchase I Will.Survive to continue the journey. Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Pippa James for the chance to read The Happiness Project. Definitely five stars from me.
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