Happiness for Beginners
Laugh-out-loud feel-good fiction
by Carole Matthews
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Pub Date 30 May 2019 | Archive Date 30 May 2019
Little, Brown Book Group UK, Sphere
The Kindle No.1 Bestseller
The Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller
There's laughter, tears and a huge amount of love in
HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS
The new book from BESTSELLING and BELOVED Carole Matthews.
'You can't do better than to sink into Happiness for Beginners'
'Fun, fantastic and brimming with Matthews magic'
'An irresistibly warm-hearted story'
'Warm, witty and hopeful - I was charmed'
'The queen of funny, feel good fiction'
Molly Baker is living her best life.
Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There's Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.
Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven't thrived in mainstream education. It's full on, but she wouldn't have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn't fazed.
But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there's the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of - could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?
An absolute must-read from the queen of romance Carole Matthews, Molly's story will make your heart sing.
Why do readers love Carole Matthews?
'So warm' Jenny Colgan
'The perfect escape' Woman
'Gorgeous' Katie Fforde
'I laughed and cried and marvelled' Cathy Bramley
'Witty, funny and incredibly touching' Heat
Average rating from 78 members
I have to admit I’m a huge lover of Carole Matthews’ books, so I knew I’d enjoy this from the beginning. And I did. Molly, Lucas and Shelby are great characters and you fall in love with them easily. I knew the story had to end well, let’s be honest, it’s that type of book..but it did have tense parts, making me wonder how and if it would. It’s funny, clever and honestly had me choked up a good few times. I really could have read another hundred pages happily.
I’ve read numerous books by this author & this one didn’t disappoint. What a great read I’d recommend this to anyone.
I really enjoyed this book. It has great main characters and a really good story line. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
Wow what a fantastic read! I have read and loved all Carole Matthews previous books and this one was certainly one of the best!
A joyful uplifting read that centres around hope farm, a refuge for both animals and humans , the main characters of Lucas ,Shelby and molly draw you into their lives and you feel as if you are there living through their trials and upheavals, a real triumph over adversity read that will entrance you from start to finish, I would highly recommend!
Thank you net galley for this early read x
What a wonderful story, it shows how much Carole Mathews cares about the special farm that she helps. Students with problems are really helped along with the animals. Well done Carole for this great book, I will be telling people to buy this. I couldn't put it down and read it all in one day, thank goodness I had the time. A follow up would be great so that we could see how this story line continues. I think everyone should read this fab book. I would give this ten stars if it were possible.
I really wish I could give this more than 5 stars.
Molly Baker runs Hope Farm a haven for "bewildered, damaged and troubled animals and children".
She has an eclectic bunch of animals, Antony the anti-social sheep, Teacup the very oversized micro pig and 3 Alpacas who barely tolerate each other never mind humans.
Molly has opened up the farm to children who have had issues in mainstream school and they seem to thrive in the relaxed atmosphere of the farm, helping to look after the animals and learning new skills.
She might not have much (or any) social life and she lives hand to mouth in a run down caravan but Molly is happy with her life. Then the suave soap star Shelby Dacre arrives with his son Lucas, who has recently been excluded from school, and asks Molly for her help. Lucas is at first sulky and truculent but begins to respond to Molly's unique brand of therapy. Can Molly help Lucas and should she resist Shelby's undoubted charms or should she open herself to the chance of happiness.
There are a lot of laughs but also some very sad moments in this book and I can't recommend it highly enough.
Having started this book earlier this week I’m really impressed. It’s an easy read, so in flying through it. It’s light at heart and molly is a fantastic, positive lead.
I haven’t read anything by Carole Matthews before but I’ll certainly look for other novels she’s written based on this one.
What a lovely feel good book.
Very well written with likeable characters who you quickly grow fond of and a plot which moves at the right pace, to keep you interested but still allowing for character development.
The author is also not scared to broach topics not usually covered in this style of book which makes a refreshing change.
I do not know what to mention first when it comes to the book, the lovable people or the lovable animals. I feel like each animal could have had their own chapter and I would still not have been bored. I do not get along with all the narrative styles of authors of this genre, but from the first chapter, I was hooked. Unfortunately for me, I started it late at night and dinner and sleep (in succession) had me halting my reading for the day but I picked it up very early today and finished it before lunch. There were so many occasions that I laughed so hard that I had to explain myself to my husband even out of context and without prior knowledge he found the imagery funny! I spent the second half of the book in tears so I would not necessarily call it a comedy. Molly Baker (who introduces her charges before she talks about herself) runs a farm with a difference and she lets us watch her bring a whole new child into their fold. Things move smoothly enough till change threatens to darken their future and everyone has to band together.
Here I have to point out the use of the word anti-social. Anthony the Ram seems anti-social but Molly and her new 'student' Lucas use the word when they seem to mean asocial which is just a milder and personal choice. I do not know if it is just me who finds the difference critical but I do! Despite that bump along the way, I still loved every other aspect of the tale. People are unapologetically themselves even if we may not like their behaviour at times. The romance builds in a slow and interesting manner and the camaraderie between Lucas and Molly was the highlight of it all, apart from the amazing animals and their respective personalities. I would read another book with just their antics and humans at all. There is a lot of heart involved since the farm is known to be for 'bewildered, damaged and troubled animals and humans'.
I highly recommend giving this book a shot if you are looking for something fun, happy as well as a tear-jerker. Just remember to keep a tissue ready.
If you want a feel-good romance that's believable, heartwarming and well-written, then look no further. Carole Matthews is a master of the genre and just when you think she might be out of ideas, she pulls Happiness for Beginners out of the bag.
This book is a joy to read, set in a part of the UK I lived in for a time. The main character Molly is very endearing, and the animals she works with are full of personality! Happiness for Beginners has plenty of light and downright hilarious moments, but it also touches on very serious subjects - support for children with learning disabilities or anti-social behaviour and their families; the destruction of the countryside and generations of farming traditions in the name of "progress"; the importance of community; and just good old-fashioned grief and how to support people experiencing it....for it will come for us all. Carole Matthews manages to weave these subjects into the story without getting preachy or feeling like you're having something explained to you, something other books in this genre don't always achieve.
You end up loving all the characters, even the aloof Alan who wears a band t-shirt to the farm every day. I loved how Molly and Bev try to guess which band it will be each day. Just a little thing like that makes the story so heart-warming and reveals so much about the characters, and makes Carole Matthews' stories stand out above the rest, in my opinion.
I really enjoyed it. If you want a book for the sun-lounger this year, this is a great pick!
WIth thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC.
What an amazing book! It made laughed and it moved me, it made me root for the characters.
It's an engaging and entertaining read, well written and heartwarming.
I liked the fleshed out cast of characters, both human and animals, and the plot.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Despite seeing other books written by this author I have never read any. I enjoyed this book and would read more by her. It was enjoyable throughout with a happy ending and I can imagine that there may well be a 2nd book to follow.
How I would like to spend a day (or longer..) at Hope Farm! This warm and enticing novel, with an underlying darker element (family-orientated issues) that sees a move from the expected 'light-hearted' tale. I particularly like the sheep (Anthony-the-anti-social) and other animal characters, who really brought an additional dynamic element to the book. I read it one sitting, and imagine most readers will do the same!
What a wonderful read! Molly is a very private person, who obviously prefers the company of animals to humans. So lovely to get to know the main characters. Recommended summer reading, thank you Carole Matthews.
Romcom with a great big heart....
Another joyous read from Carole Matthews - a romcom with a great big heart. The tale centres around likeable protagonist Molly and her home of Hope Farm with all of it's glorious animal life. Some super characterisation - both human and animal - coupled with a delightful storyline. Funny and touching in turn, this leaves the reader with a great big smile. A thoroughly feel good read in all respects.
i enjoyed this book far more than I expected to as I'm not normally a huge fan of romance. It's an uplifting and hopefull book - the up lit that one sees referred to so frequently now rather in the style of Eleanor Oliphant. It centres on the life of a youngish women with a very limited social circle, little desire to step out of a somewhat obsessive routine alongside a huge love of the farm where her deceased aunt raised her. The plot resolves itself rather neatly and optimistically and combines with the care of troubled animals the care of troubled children in rather a simplistic way. It is a hugely satisfying read at the same time.
I loved this book from the first page to the last page. The antics of the animals made me laugh out loud, the names of the alpacas and the anti social sheep were brilliant
Molly had lived with her aunt in a caravan looking after animals that would otherwise by difficult to home. When her aunt dies and leaves Molly the ancient caravan and Hope Farm she decides to open the farm to children for whom mainstream education has proved difficult. A TV personality enrols his son, Lucas, who has been expelled from school and who is a very troubled boy after losing his mum to cancer. Lucas is a challenge for Molly, can she and Hope Farm help him to resolve his anger issues and bring him and his father closer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a fun refreshingly down-to-earth love story. The characters were strong easy to like and quite believable. A perfect light holiday read, full of fun and humour with a homely feel. It was uplifting as with a definite feel good factor. I was sorry when I'd finished the book as I want to know what happens next.. Highly recommended.
This is my first Carole Matthews book and it won't be my last. Such a wonderful and charming feel good book that is written so beautifully.
With lines like "I love him as much as a human can love a sheep without it being illegal" on the first page, you know you're going to love it. Even before the end of chapter two I was in love with Hope farm.
A lovely light read from one of my favourite authors. I could identify with Molly in so many ways with regards to teaching, mental health and never quite fitting anywhere. That is until it comes to animals and SEN children. I love how Carole Matthews captured the personalities of the animals as well as the humans. Recommended read for a bit of escapism from day to day life.
Fluffy, light, fun - basically you pretty much know what you are going to get with ‘Happiness for Beginners’. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth spending time on, it certainly is, if just to highlight the work done by organisations like Hope Farm. Or should I say Animal Antiks, the organisation that Hope Farm is based on.
An enjoyable, engaging read, thanks to Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
A light hearted and very enjoyable book by Carole Matthews.
The book tells the story of Molly who looks after animals which have been rejected for various reasons, including Anthony the antisocial sheep, the legged dogs, ex police horses and bad tempered alpacas, including the diva, Tina Turner!
The dilapidated farm has evolved into a centre for children who do not cope well with school and provides them with an alternative. The lead actor and heart throb from a TV farm soap opera turns up with his school failing son. They become involved in the farm and, when it is threatened with closure, with the campaign to save it. There is love interest, animals, country life, support for learning, what more could you want. A very enjoyable read, which like most of Carole's books, is a decent length to disappear into for a few days!
I absolutely love Carole Matthews and this has to be one of her best books.
A really heart warmi g, easy read where you connect with all of the characters.
Molly has inherited hope farm from her aunt Hettie. This farm differs in that it provides safety and refuge not only for vulnerable animals but also children with difficulties in being accepted in main stream school. With modern developments the farm is being sold to property developers.
The story looks at the relationship between widower shelby and his son Lucas who is an active member of the farm, as well as a possible relationship between molly and Shelby.
Highly recommend this delightful feel good book.
Molly who's thirty eight and runs her aunt's old farm with an angry sheep and once abused dog among others too from Shetland ponies to chickens and alpacas!
Helpers Bev and Alan whom loves a band t-shirt and sounds like me that way, help her to run a school for troubled teens where after expulsion or being too disruptive can go to for some respite and cool down time.
As they struggle to make money reach all areas of the farm, when handsome TV actor, Shelby shows up with his arsonist wannabe son, Lucas they're very much welcome as Bev fancies Shelby while Molly needs the cash as she sinks her money into the farm and lives in a caravan onsite as money is so tight.
However, as the HS2 train route is set to force them to close or relocate, stress mounts up and tensions get tightened after meeting Shelby's partner who's many years younger, Scarlett, a brief trial of the alpacas being on TV, a fundraiser party by Shelby and a fight with Lucas all up the tension on the farm and then a fire happens too and everything starts adding pressure on Molly as she desperately tries to save her livelihood and keep a level head over everything.
Even when Shelby and Scarlett split especially...
As usual Carole has written a beautiful story about a unique, intriguing setting and finding love unexpectedly. The characters were so complimentary to each other as they were opposites and so the bond between them was unique and beautiful and Lucas was like most teens, misunderstood but hiding a passion and talent which was explored in a marvellous way and encouraged like we would in real life.
I was overjoyed to learn that the story is based on a real teaching farm called Animal Antiks and that they work as incredibly hard as described in the book to help change lives.
Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!
thank you for allowing me to read this book. it was very easy to read. i enjoyed the story line and the characters. look forward to reading more from this author.
REVIEW: I’ve read a number of Carole Matthews books before and this one doesn’t disappoint. It gave me all the usual cosy feels of a good romcom and a few laughs along the way.
A well written charming, humorous story set on a farm in beautiful countryside in Buckinghamshire. Molly is busily working on her farm stocked with various animals who have all suffered damage in different ways. Carole Matthews lovingly describes the characters and animals, giving them humorous, engaging personalities.
Molly and her helpers Eve and Alan tend the animal farm which is attended by children, some with challenging problems, who have difficulty fitting in. When Lucas starts attending classes at the farm and helping out, his father Shelby helps Molly to make extra money. All is going steadily until the land she rents is the subject of a compulsory purchase order, and she needs to find somewhere else.
The book is pure escapism, the author makes characters come alive, and filled with humour as challenging situations arise and are dealt with by Molly and her crew, helped by the students, along with Shelby Dacre, Lucas’s father. Along with the humour, there is also sadness and pathos well written by this wonderful author. I loved this book and didn’t want to leave this collection of wonderful characters behind. Highly recommended.
A really lovely read set on a farm this novel has everything warmth,charm,friendships and of course love I'm not an animal lover but how Carole writes about them you can't help but care about them all I've laughed and cried at this novel and I've loved all the characters who work so well together a 5⭐read
Let’s start by saying I loved, loved, loved this book. I am an ex SEN teacher working with exactly the kids in this book and boy do I miss them! I was able to wallow in memories while getting to know new students in Hope Farm. I liked that the author had obviously done her research (thank you for the link at the end of the book - loved that too!) as so often writers try to capture the spirit and needs of these kids and fail. Not this time !
But it wasn’t all about the kids - I focused on that because of my background, but who could fail to love Bev and Alan (I confess I didn’t get the whole T-shirt thing!) and the support Molly has around her. The ending was satisfying without being cheesy and I loved that Molly didn’t change her character even though I think other authors would have made this happen. Anthony the ram made me laugh out loud and I can honestly say I didn’t want to put the book down! A great read. Thank you
Having read lots is Carole Matthews’ previous books I was really looking forward to reading this and I wasn’t disappointed. The characters are likeable, I loved the names of the animals and the guessing of the band t-shirts too. It is a book that makes you happy, what more could you want?!
I’ve read lots of books by Carole and as usual this one didn’t disappoint. A great read with fantastic characters. I recommend this to everyone
Carole Matthews best book yet! The research for this story is spot on, the way that children with additional needs react to situations and the effect that animals can have on them. In addition to this the characters are likeable and believable, and the storyline is completely engaging.
This was my first book from Carole Matthews and she didn’t disappoint me. I was gripped from start to finish and couldn’t put it down. The story of Molly Baker and her farm and relationships was witty, loveable and believable. I loved the characters and could understand their reactions and foibles and at times laughed with and at them. I’d love another book based around this women and to see where she might end up.
Book review: Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Molly lives on a remote farm with all her mischievous animals, helping local children that don’t get on in school (misbehaving, arson, bullying etc). One day, a boy called Lucas comes to her farm, with his famous Dad Shelby - not known to Molly as she doesn’t even have a TV in her little caravan. The story follows Molly’s adventures as she comes across new challenges with Lucas, the farm and also Shelby (and the alpacas)...
I loved this book! The start was difficult to get in to as it seemed to just list the animals too much and got a bit boring... but I’m so glad I stuck with it, as I was rooting for Molly by the end, and I loved her character. The animals were funny, and I did like the story. Some parts however, were dragged out a little bit unnecessarily, but I loved it nonetheless💕
Thank you @netgalley for letting me review this book, which is out on the 30th May, so keep an eye out in your nearest bookstores 😍