The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley

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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jul 2023

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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.

  • Christian women’s fiction
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Book length: 100,000 words
  • Perfect for fans of Rachel Linden, Gail Honeyman, and Linda Holmes
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

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...

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ISBN 9780840712806
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

I loved this book.. It was sweet, funny and downright inspiring. I really enjoyed watching Isadora grow throughout her journey. But I think the cast of characters was what I enjoyed the most, and will miss the most after reading this wonderful book. Definitely recommend and will be looking for more by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the ARC.

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Oh my goodness this was absolutely amazing!! Funny, raw, emotional and heartfelt - The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley was a phenomenal read.
From being drawn in immediately with Isadora’a inner monologue and Doctor Who references to loving every single character on the page this book had me hooked!
Throughout the story we follow Isadora at her job as a University Researcher as she sets out to disprove a magazine article (that she bought at the grocery checkout counter) that details “Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy”. Her research takes her on a journey, forcing her out of her comfort zone and connecting her with the world and people around her.
Full of self discovery, friendship, a whole lot of post-it’s, empowerment and love - The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh Is coming to a shelf near you June 13, 2023!

Thank you to NetGalley and NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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After reading the blurb, I thought “This book sounds like me!” I was hooked on the story from the very first page & ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting because I was so invested!

Isadora is quirky, socially awkward, a hardcore introvert, and oh so relatable! Perhaps not in all her mannerisms & behaviours, but definitely in her mental dialogue, core fears, and her journey. Plus, her romance with Cal is absolutely adorable!

Cal is simply wonderful! He’s the opposite of Isadora & compliments her perfectly. He gently encourages her to get out of her comfort zone & defends her. I love how he interacts with his family & how his family welcomes Isadora.

And then there is the found family angle! This made me so happy as it’s one of my favourite tropes, and I love how it played out! Precious Marty—his interactions with Isadora & his sweet memories of his wife are beautiful. Bubbly Darby—she is definitely the sunshine to Isadora’s rain cloud & their unexpected friendship is so fun. And dear Delilah—this girl is truly a 70-year-old woman in a 10-year-old’s body & the bond between her & Isadora absolutely melted my heart.

In addition to the fantastic characters, this book’s themes surprised me in the best of ways & reduced me to tears more than once. Because in so much of Isadora’s (& Delilah’s) story, I saw mine. Isadora has to discover that she actually doesn’t hate people but instead she just hasn’t met the right people who accept & love her for who she is without trying to force her to be who/what they think she should be. And that just because she’s different doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with her. And how she views the past & those who have hurt her affects her present and her future.

I can’t explain how timely this book’s appearance in my life is, which is why it effected me so much. Do I expect others to cry over it? Probably not. But it was a gut punch for me, highlighting things I’m wrestling with & learning in my own life.

This book completely captured my heart & is definitely one of my top reads of the year!! 😭💛

Content: kissing; mentions of cheating (not the main characters)

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

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Courtney Walsh’s upcoming book, The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley, is a real laugh out loud romantic comedy sure to entertain and delight!!! 5 fantastic stars!

Romantic comedies can be tricky, and some are borderline silly for my tastes, but such is not the case with this amazingly well done adventure into the life of Isadora Bentley. Her innermost thoughts are lived out on the page and introverts or others who have ever felt like “odd man out” in life will see the effect it has on her and her attempts to change.

Isadora's professional and personal relationship with Professor Cal Baxter was adorable and hilarious at the same time. His patience and understanding with her exploits was pure charm. Neighbors Darby and especially Delilah add so much personality to the story they could each have books of their own. The story builds and strengthens as it moves forward and I couldn't have enjoyed it more!

There are so many wonderful quotes in this book, a few favorites,
"I don't have any desire to clip my return address tag onto someone else's baggage."
"CHOOSE to be happy." Then get out of your own way.

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley was the most fun and enjoyable book I've read in a long time. I'd love to see Courtney Walsh continue writing in this genre. I appreciate Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, making a copy of this refreshing and witty book available for review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own.

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This book! *chef's kiss* I do not have enough words to describe how much I loved this book!!! I laughed and I cried. Isadora was just such a wonderful heroine and the entire cast of characters were a delight.

THLoIB was my first book by Courtney Walsh and it's not going to be my last. I will be purchasing this book. As an aside, I just bought and read My Phony Valentine which was also a five star read.

One comment I wanted to make is I saw in the description that this is billed as "contemporary Christian romance" but I think this book would appeal to anyone who loves a great story regardless of their faith.

Wonderful romance. No sex.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you, Thomas Nelson!

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A fantastic read from Courtney Walsh! Isodora is a researcher and does her best work alone, diving deep into data. However, one day she decides to conduct her own research project based on the bold claim of a magazine article: “31 Ways to be Happy.” The biggest question.. is what will be Isadora’s findings at the end of the experiment?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I loved how this book read and I thoroughly enjoyed the stream of consciousness writing style. It was like I was a fly on the wall of Isadora’s clever and hilarious thought process. Watching her grow over the course of the book was a gift!

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Courtney Walsh has done it again! This was absolutely delightful. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this beautiful telling of the power of love. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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This was a perfect book! I loved every page of it. It was s9 good. I think it needs to be on everyone's book shelf.
I just reviewed The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh. #TheHappyLifeofIsadoraBentley #NetGalley
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I've heard such great things about this author and was so excited to be able to read her new title! After reading the synopsis of this story, I was sold! I could see myself so clearly in Isadora and loved getting to read her love story. Cal was the perfect book boyfriend and I loved their love. This has me so excited to read more from Courtney Walsh!

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This book had me laughing out loud at various spots. Isadora is quite a character and has shut herself off from everyone until she tries an experiment. Her people that came alongside of her are my favorites--Marty, Cal, Darby and Delilah.

Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.

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I have read books by Courtney Walsh for many years, however, this time she really hit it out of the park. Just reading the first few pages, I was totally immersed in the life of Isadora Bentley. It begins on her 30th birthday at the grocery store buying a cart full of junk food to celebrate her birthday, alone. Isadora has perfected the art of avoiding people and being alone. Whether or not you have ever experienced any of the things Isadora has, I think this book will grab your heart right from the beginning.
While standing in line to pay for her purchases, a tabloid article of “31 Ways to Be Happy (Today!)” catches her attention. She thinks there might be something there she never considered so she buys the magazine. Upon reading the article, Isadora is on a mission to prove none of the suggestions work. To prove her position, she is determined to try them all.
Isadora works in the world of academia as a researcher – a brilliant, gifted researcher. After assisting a professor get published by mostly writing his entire article and him taking full credit for it, the personal consequences to Isadora went much farther than having her name left off the manuscript, it also left her with a broken heart. After such a dreadful experience for her personally, her boss assigns another research project to her assisting another profession who is writing a book. If she wants to keep her job, she has no choice but to accept the assignment.
This is a fascinating story that I could not put down. I read is straight through in one day. As Isadora sets out to disprove how to be happy, she ends up making unexpected friends including a 70 year old man who is a widower that she eats lunch with each day, neighbors she had skillfully avoided, now feel like family and what a surprise that the professor she is partnering with to help with his research offers to help her research the 31 ways to be happy. As each item is checked off, Isadora’s life changes.
Although the last page has been turned, this story will stay with me for a while.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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In the same vein as The Rosie Project and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this has a quirky heroine who sees the world slightly differently from many other people. Lonely and frustrated by her life , Isadora spends her 30th birthday debating the merits of junk food while stuffing her face with them. But an article (31 ways to become happier) in a supermarket magazine may well save her from herself. She decides to disprove the author by doing those 31 steps and showing that she was no happier at the end than she was to begin with. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting people along the way that will drag the happiness out of her. They can see what she cannot. She isn’t broken and unlovable at all.
A treat of a book, Isadora is a wonderful character and the friends she picks up on her journey are joyous, endearing and the sort of people we all hope to meet in our life.
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

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This is a gem of a book. If you loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and/or The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett, you will love the quirky brainiac and The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley. A wonderful cast of characters comes together to make this book shine. (I am shocked that there aren't more reviews for this book.)

Isadora isn't happy with her life and happens to see an article about 31 things to do for a happy life, so she sets out to prove/disprove the article. Step 1 of smiling is a challenge, but that leads to her first friendship.

You just never know what is going to come out of Isadora's mouth, there isn't really a filter.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read the advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley for (once again) introducing me to a "new-to-me" author, Courtney Walsh. Thank you to Courtney Walsh and Thomas Nelson-Fiction (publisher) for approving my advance read request. Publication date is June 13, 2023.

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The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh

“The good thing is that’s part of life, right? Unfortunately, hearts break. Fortunately, they mend.”

- found family
- Coming of age
- Women’s fiction
- Top notch chemistry in a friends to lovers type of way.

Isadora, a professional researcher, sees an article in a magazine which claims “31 steps to happiness”. Isadora - being the researcher that she is- goes on a journey to disprove the theory but as she completes each step, she finds herself feeling lighter and lighter. And also more confused than ever. Growth never comes without pain, and Isadora has so much to learn.

My thoughts:

This book is golden. The characters are so lovable and relatable - even in their flaws. I found myself relating to Isadora in so many ways - in many ways that I’m not proud of, per se.

This book needs to become a movie, because the premise is just that good. It was so well done. Courtney Walsh pulls you into Isadora’s journey and almost pushes you, the reader, onto a journey yourself. It was touching, hilarious, adorable, and heartwarming. I came away with so much joy and an even deeper understanding of human connection. This one feels very women’s fiction/coming-of-age, but the romance is SO there. It honestly has everything a book should have. It’s rare that I read a book and there’s absolutely nothing I would adjust or change- but this one hits that standard and beyond.

Just add it to the TBR immediately. Releases June 13.

Thank you so much to Courtney Walsh, Thomas Nelson Fiction, and NetGalley for providing me with this ARC. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Isadora Bentley is a researcher who has always dealt with some challenges in life. Always a quiet child, introvert girl, a lonely childhood with a few friends and a lot of desilusions in the adult life. However, on her 30th birthday, She finds and article suggesting 31 ways of being happy, and She begins a scientifc project journey, along and with the help of a charming and sweet Professor trough some path innerself as walks the step by step of How to live a happier life.

I knew I would love this book juts reading the title! It was an incredible journey between the pages of this story, and I could relate with some of the feelings of Isadora and her pathway to a better and free life, being true to herself, and to the ones She love. There's a lot of learnings and lessons in this narrative that was delicate, clear, honest and romantic as well. I love Cal and his behavior and also the steady personality, that made me fall in love with him just like Izzy.

The main message is You are the only one who choose everyday to be happy, let go of the past and see to the future day by day with a little hope and joy, having faith that it'll be better than what has passed. With no pressure or hustle, and counting with the support of the people Wh You love and love You back, You will get to where You need, and want to be.
5 stars and all love <3

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Thank you so much Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for an advance read in exchange for this review.

Isadora is alone. She works as a researcher at a university, and she keeps to herself. She avoids people. On her 30th birthday, she decides she will try everything on a 31 ways to make you happy list. She wants to prove the writer wrong. As she does her research, she finds out that maybe she is surprising herself.

OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK. It made my heart soar and I was crying with happiness over so much of it. I felt Isadora's pain and heartache. I felt her joy and how careful she was as she tried to figure out if she was deserving of happiness. I understood as she weighed if it was worth the risk of being hurt in order to enjoy life. This book was so magical and I cherished every page.

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What a story! I loved every character in this story. Really enjoyed the storyline and felt the message of the book was really inspiring.
100% recommending this to everyone and will read from the author again

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The cover of this book drew me in, but the story kept me reading! "The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley" was such a good book. Isadora is a very relatable character to those that are quiet and keep to themselves due to past negative experiences. She meets some unexpected friends along the way that help her in more ways than just her research. Great story!

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I love this book! This is a voice I’ve not read from previous books by this author and I so so so so so hope she writes more books like this because I’m totally here for all of them! So many one-liners that had me chuckling out loud. In fact, on many occasions I caught myself reading with a perpetual grin on my face. This is a fun with meaning and one you’ll be thinking about even after you close the cover. Also, I’d like to adopt Darby, Marty, and Delilah. And Cal is just great. *happy sigh*

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Isadora Bentley has been burned before, when a man kept their relationship a secret, and then stole all the credit for her research. Now, she works alone. When she runs across an article claiming that if she follows a set of steps, she can find happiness, she sets out to disprove the author. But what if it actually works?

I have never read another book like this one; one where the author is smart, yet blunt and considered prickly by her co-workers, but she finds people who allow her to be who she is, while helping her see herself the way they see her, thus allowing her to become more of whom she's meant to be.

The cast of friends gathered to Isadora during her happiness experiment are fantastic characters. My favorite, perhaps, is the 10-year-old Delilah, in whom Isadora finds a kindred spirit, and sees what she could have had if there had been supportive people in her life at a young age.

I also love that once Isadora starts to look beyond herself, she sees the other women in her profession who have also been overlooked, or taken advantage of, and she becomes a source of encouragement for them.

I give this book 5 stars. Isadora will resonate with any woman who's worked in a male-dominated field, or who finds themselves at odds with societal norms.

I received a digital copy of this book, via NetGalley, from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

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“The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.”

Zinger! This book was another perfect zinger from Walsh.  “It comes out of nowhere and hits you like lightning.  And when it does, you’re never, ever the same.”

It starts off with Isadora freaking out about turning 30 and celebrating by visiting the forbidden Aisle 8, the junk food aisle.  While checking out, a tabloid touting ’31 Ways to be Happy (Today!)’ catches her eye and starts her down a path of proving the author and article wrong.  After all, she is a researcher, so this should be an easy experiment to conduct to collect the necessary data to disprove this theory.  What she doesn’t expect to happen is that her little experiment will start to slowly change her and her views on happiness.  And while it might not always be easy, it may just be worth it.

I LOVED this book!  Isadora and all the side characters are just wonderful.  She was so relatable that I couldn’t help but want to cheer her on or feel completely devastated when she felt crushed.  This story held so many touching and adorable and hilarious and heartwarming moments throughout.  I love when a book makes me laugh out loud one minute and then makes my heart just ache the next.  I loved the important messages about found or made family, self-growth, the depth and importance of human connection, and how true happiness looks different for everyone and only you can choose to be happy.  But when you do, it can be truly amazing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  Thank you again to Thomas Nelson Fiction, Courtney Walsh, and NetGalley for this wonderful e-arc.

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

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Courtney Walsh is a storyteller. I loved how she wrote this book. The character development was beautiful and I didn't want to put the book down. I loved the romance that went along with the self-improvement was just perfect. I will recommend this book to anyone.

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This book was great! I couldn't put it down! The premise was fresh and new, which is hard for me to say as I read so much each year! Sometimes it feels as though I keep reading similar stories, but this was a so original!

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I’m in love with Isadora. I thoroughly enjoyed her journey to happiness. I know where she has been and had to learn the same things she did around the same age, except I was married with 3 under 3. And now 8 yrs later with 4 kids, I am telling them the exact same things.

I fell instantly in love with all the characters. I want my own Marty, and I’m pleased that have I have several Darby’s in my life. (Now) I’m not sure if there is a swoonier man than Cal. He is the absolutely best person for Isadora.

Thank you Courtney Walsh, NetGalley, and Thomas Nelson for this ARC. ~I was given this book and made no commitments to leave my opinions, favorable or otherwise~

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I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Watching a character who is so much like me learn the secret to happiness was quite an eye-opening adventure. I loved getting to know Isadora's quirky nature, loved her inner monologue, and loved learning through her that I don't have to change who I am for other people to like me. Just be me. But also that we can choose our happiness. I laughed and I cried (literally) and loved every moment.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Pub Date: June 13, 2023

Courtney Walsh hits it out of the park again! I loved hearing Isadora’s thoughts throughout the story. She’s quirky and relatable, and really overcomes some challenges. This is a story of self-love, friendship, and romance all rolled into one. This is a fun, uplifting read, and will be a great one to take with you on vacation this summer!

You’ll enjoy this story if you like:
📝quirky main character
📝friendship with unlikely people
📝a little bit of romance
📝College campus setting

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A very good surprise !
This book keeps getting better with each new page ! Even though Isadora is funny and witty from the start, I found it difficult to enter in the book because of her inside voice who speaks like a documentary and his very present at the beginning of the book .
But once she starts to meet our found family/friends the book really takes a turn for the best. I found it so relatable, I too feel the pressure of doing something impactful, I too sometimes wonders if it's better to be alone than to be heart broken ... This book gives hopes and some precious reminder on happiness !
A very happy read thanks to netgalley who provided this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh

Publish date: June 13 2023

I am determined Courtney Walsh can do no wrong. This book was so good! This is also my first book of hers that wasn’t a holiday story and I am here for it!

First impression is- why am I on the cover of this book and secondly this book is beyond relatable.

I haven’t felt a connection with a character like I did with Isadora. Buried under trauma and unsure if life at one point was ever meant to be happy.
Isadora is smart and quirky and real. But when she turns 30 she finds herself loading up on snacks in aisle 8 and grabbing a magazine with the article of “31 ways to be happy” as an academic researcher Isadora set out to disprove this article but what she didn’t expect to happen was the life hiding in plain sight.

Watching Isadora break out of her constant comfort zones made you feel a roller coaster of emotions. At times I felt myself smiling uncontrollably, laughing out loud and even finding myself tearing up. I just understood the connections she was having and how she was able to break herself from those traumas.

The relationships that Isadora builds throughout the story are beautiful and unexpected. From her loud outgoing neighbor with 4 kids to the old man in the quad at the university to her swoon worthy love interest.

I am looking forward to sharing this book with my friends when this book comes out in June.

Thank you so much @netgalley @thomasnelson and @courtneywalsh for allowing me the opportunity to review this book. I received this complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are entirely of my own.

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I adooooored this book!!! I felt my heart literally squeeze with emotions for Isadora and that is the rarest of feelings for me, when reading a book.
What a great story and an amazing writing style.
Thank you Courtney Walsh for such a great journey with your imagination!

So, let’s not skip the basics.
The happy life of Isadora Bentley starts on the day of Isadora’s thirtieth birthday. She is a talented researcher, super intelligent, extremely introvert and wired to be unhappy. Or maybe not?
She finds this article on 31 steps ways to be happy and she decides to start her own personal project. What kind of serious psychologist would boil down a universal recipe for happiness and publish it as an article in a magazine? Her research will certainly prove Dr. Monroe wrong.
And so, Isadora starts with her first step: it’s out of character for her, but, hey, what is this unpredictability going on, now?
The die is cast, and events start flowing.

The book started off quite slowly and melancholy and grey and ... you name it. Not really engaging. I found myself checking the remaining pages and started to ponder how much longer should I read before giving up. But I held a bit longer and, wow, was it worth it!
With hindsight, the beginning really makes sense, it sucks you into Isadora’s lifestyle and it prepares the setting for better understanding what is going on with her project.

After the slow beginning, it picked up very quickly, and what astonished me was that it didn’t need anything super dramatic to remain captivating. This is something I find rarely, an author that can write irresistible pages without over-using big drama events or out of characters reactions. Courtney Walsh created superb characters, who interact delicately yet charmingly. Sometimes the side characters are fillers for the main characters stories, but in The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley all characters had a well-defined personality. I enjoyed reading them all, I did not feel like they were taking away pages from Isadora and the handsome professor. Even if the side characters were not really in my mainstream preferences, they were so well depicted: the way Isadora interacted with them made me discover new sides of Isadora that I enjoyed reading.

Most of all I loved the perspective, the metaphors, the general take on life. When I find a nice metaphor or a concept expressed in a witfully effective way, I highlight it to be able to savour it later. I usually highlight 5-6 paragraphs tops in a good book. Here I lost count, I felt like I was taking notes on every page! I loved the funny comparisons, the dry introvert sentences, the revelations, the awkwardness, the scientific approach to everything.
“My parents were submarine Christians – they only came up for air twice a year, on Easter and Christmas”
« I reset my face to factory settings and sigh »
« the hygienically impaired sales clerk »
« I’m totally counting that as a full-on workout, though, because the calories I burned worrying about it warrant it »
I am definitely going to re-use so many of them !

Maybe, the only thing that felt a bit off is the fact that there was no steam. I did get the feeling that it was a choice, and I like chaste books as much as steamy ones, and I do get that some authors prefer to keep stories less explicit. But I did not even get a hint if there had been any « follow up », to the point that I felt it was an important part of Isadora’s evolution with her love interest to know what was going on in that department. Even without writing explicitly about any scenes : she is thirty years old, after all, and you do wonder if that’s all they did and, if not, how it affected the relationship. It felt a bit like a teenagers kind of love, at times, in contrast with the depth of their great and profound personalities.

This book is one of those few ones that I cannot put down and read avidly and, 10 pages to the end, I start reading super slowly because I am not ready to leave the characters. By the end of book I was almost angry with Isadora, for leaving me : I felt like I was invited to her lunch bench and now she is cutting me out. That’s how good this story has been for me. Such a great gift of good meaningful emotions : what an unfrogettable journey.
Thank you Courtney Walsh.

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

A delightful exploration of happiness with a quirky and reclusive heroine. 

Isadora Bentley is turning 30 and she has not accomplished any of what she has wanted to. She was supposed to prove her childhood wrong — those bullies and her mom who always said she didn’t measure up — but she is a low level researcher who has isolated herself from the world around her. Until on her birthday, in a sugar-coated haze, Isadora decides to prove an article entitled 31 Steps to Happiness wrong. As Isadora begins trying the steps, she finds herself immersed into the world she was trying so hard to avoid and confronting some of her long held beliefs. 

Isadora is a fabulous character. From page one, I found her inner dialogue relatable and funny. The secondary characters were also lovable and their interactions were a perfect mix wise words and witty banter. 

I highly recommend this book if you like:
🏡Found Family
💁🏼‍♀️Lovable characters
📚Books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, or The Last Chance Library. 

This heartwarming novel is available on June 13th — just in time for summer. I received this complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson and NetGalley, but opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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-Got a free copy from NetGalley-

This book is a really nice read for me. Isadora is a really brave character for being able to venture out of her comfort zone for her experiments. Bringing herself to do stuff she usually tries to avoid doing. Also really loving her lunch crew, all from different walks of life gathering together and becoming friends(secretly hoping I can find mine too). Loving them for sticking by her even when she thought she was weird and even after she tries to push everyone away, they stayed. :') Personally, I really resonate with Isadora. Her being unable to trust others after getting hurt multiple times in the past, and her quest to find happiness.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the writing style of the author. Thanks to this book, it's making me want to go out of my comfort zone and try something new in my own little quest for happiness. Now I'm looking to read more works from this author!

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I am a Courtney Walsh fan, and this book is one reason why. The quirkiness yet relatable struggles of the characters really shine through. The way she writes the book almost makes you feel like you are watching everything happen on a movie screen.
Isadora takes you on a journey from being reclusive, to proving an article wrong, to finding her own happiness. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Thank you netgalley for an arc copy!

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When I saw Courtney Walsh was coming out with a new book, I just knew I had to read it! Once again a super cute book. It will definitely be one that I have to buy as soon as it comes out!

I received this book as an ARC on Netgalley

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This novel was a delightful, relatable story of finding happiness in your own way.

Isadora is such a fun, quirky protagonist. I enjoyed her unique personality and the ways she sees the world in ways different than I expected. She felt so real -- experiencing things like anxiety, fear, loneliness and surprise. I haven't read many characters like her and I finished hoping to encounter more like her in future. Her life hasn't gone according to plan. She has been hurt, betrayed, let down, and put down. Those hard experiences have shaped her life. In many ways, they have hindered her ability in the past to change, move on, and find happiness. Then on her 30th birthday, things start to change. It is an impulsive decisions, but it becomes life changing.

Isadora's happiness experiment is clever and so fun to read about. I loved hearing how she completed each step of the "31 steps to be happy" magazine article. And I loved that some of them she didn't like and even hated (like yoga, although I think she liked that more than she expected). It's such a simple idea to complete all these steps. But they really change her. I loved her journey from awkward smiles to life changing friendships. Flying kites and eating gourmet chocolate (that sounds divine!), self care and deep breathing, planning a trip (actual travel optional) and spending time with good people, exercising and decluttering. Each of these steps adds to Isadora's story and I love how they bring her dear friendships along the way.

At the heart of this story are beautiful relationships. In simple ways, Isadora makes friends that truly change her. I loved Darby and her strength and wisdom. She inserts herself into Isadora's life and refuses to go away providing everything from delicious meals to fashion advice, an exercise buddy to mom wisdom. Her loyalty is so beautiful! I loved what Isadora and Delilah mean to each other and how they accept each other. They are so similar and their shared interests and personalities make them so endearing. I love that their relationship is tied to an answer to prayer and that Isadora is able to help give Delilah the support she lacked as a child. Marty is one of my favorite characters in this story. At first, he is lonely and feels unsure about his future as a widow. I loved how he befriends Isadora whether she wants it or not. His patience, wisdom, and kindness were so lovely. We all need an old man friend like Marty. And of course, Cal is at the heart of this story as well. He treats Isadora with respect and kindness. His love and genuine interest in her projects and her life were so beautiful. Theirs is a relationship that I aspire to emulate. I love how these characters become Isadora's people. The friends that center her world.

Isadora's journey is not perfect or simple. She gets anxious. She pulls away from her friends. She has to overcome difficult betrayals and let downs. She has to have faith and choose happiness. I love the journey and the beautiful lessons she discovers along the way.

A cozy, quirky story about the power of happiness, friendship and everyday love.

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I dare you to read this book and not smile and be filled with joy!

Isadora is an introverted research assistant who thinks she’s better off alone than by forming relationships because people have always disappointed her.

On her 30th birthday she reads an article with 31 ways to find happiness and sets out to try everything on the list- mainly to disprove it. Along the way she finds her tribe and realizes relationships are worth it- she just hasn’t met the right people yet.


I found this book to be so heartwarming. Isadora grows so much throughout the story. Every one of the side characters (besides one) is perfection!

The story, characters, and relationships are endearing and kind of remind me of A Man Called Ove. I loved every second of this book! It publishes June 13th but you should pre-order it now!

This is my favorite Courtney Walsh book that I’ve read so far!

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The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley was without a doubt a five-star read for me. From the very first page, I was intrigued and invested in Isadora. Her introverted awkwardness was so relatable to me! I thought it was a fun twist on the curmudgeon theme that seems to be popular lately to have the grouchy character be a young woman, plus I loved that she has a STEM job. It's always fun to read about intelligent female characters.

I would say The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley is best classified as a cross between romantic comedy and women's fiction. While there is a good thread of romance and lots of funny moments, this story is ultimately about Isadora discovering how to like herself and be at peace in her life. It's a story of learning how to give and receive friendship in a fulfilling and healthy way. Courtney Walsh wraps some big, important themes in a fun and delightful little package. Highly recommend!

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This book made me happy. It was a great read and the main character was so special to me. I loved this book. Also, the cover is perfect.

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This book was so much fun!! But this was also a book that really tucked at my heartstrings. I felt a real connection with Isadora and the journey she was on - on one hand she was willing to open up to other people and smile when happy things happened to her but on the other hand she was afraid to trust anyone ever again because the fear of getting hurt was always there and a life of professional competence and solitude was the much safer option.

I flew through the pages of this sweet and heartwarming book, I laughed out loud, I cried, I smiled - in other words, this book was just the perfect read on a snowy spring day.

"Life is beautiful and horrible and wonderful and awful all at the same time. [...] And _that_ is the adventure."

Thank you so much Cynthia Walsh for letting me take part in Isadora's adventure! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Isadora is perfectly content to remain alone with her research. She avoids professors and the students that she's supposed to mentor. On the night of her 30th birthday, Isadora impulsively picks up a magazine that advertises, "Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy." She sets out to prove this theory wrong. While she conducts her research by completing each step, Isadora inadvertently makes friends. Despite her best efforts not to. She is pulled far out of her comfort zone, forced to confront her own feelings and even fall in love. Courtney Walsh is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She has created characters that will stay with you for a long time and everyone can relate to in some way. The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley is one you won't want to miss out on.

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The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh was a inspirational, funny contemporary romance novel.
I really enjoyed this book. There is an interesting and nice story line, the characters are refreshing, and there is a sweet romance too.
Here everything is excellent—the writing, the characters, the plot.
The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley absolutely got me in the feels! I loved watching Isadora and Cal together.
My first time reading this authors work and I’m so excited to read her previous titles and the ones to come.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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Immediately after starting this book I knew I was going to be wanting more. I loved the way Courtney Walsh set up Isadora's life and her experiment. This book was clever and lighthearted but also touched on some true and difficult emotions. I completely empathized with Isadora and loved the group of friends she gathered along the way to discovering who she really is. An easy recommendation for almost any reader!

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I've read many fantastic books by Courtney Walsh, so I was excited to see that she has another book coming out soon! "The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley" is about the afore-mentioned Isadora, a scientific researcher who has closed herself off to love. Having endured insults from both her peers and her parents growing up, Isadora doesn't believe in herself, and she especially doesn't believe that she can ever be happy. But her scientific mind is intrigued when she comes across a study titled, "Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy." Isadora decides to test this for herself and, along the way, she discovers that happiness is a choice she can make. She also develops some new relationships and discovers that she is capable both of receiving love and giving love.

I really enjoyed this book and the premise behind it. Isadora is easy to root for, and I resonated with her bravery and struggle to find happiness. I also really liked the side characters, and loved them too. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

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I started reading The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley with the expectation that it would be similar to many other contemporary romances. I sure was wrong. I LOVED this book. It totally took me by surprise and I couldn't put it down.

Here are some of the things I loved the most:
- Isadora. She is so quirky, but it works so well in this book. I found myself relating to her in SO many ways. I was riding the emotional roller coaster right with her.
- Isadora's found family - she finds the most perfect group of people to love her. I was laughing and crying at these amazing characters.
- The romance was SO sweet. Cal is such a great male lead. I love his determination and patience.
- The Happiness Experiments. Isadora finds an article called "31 Ways to Be Happy" and decides to try them all to prove it wrong. But each step is so much fun, especially as her new friends join her in her adventures.
- This book made me think a LOT about happiness and what I can do in my own life to feel happier.
- This book had a depth that I didn't expect. Complicated pasts, hard family relationships, and painful journeys of self-love and acceptance.

This is definitely a book that I will be thinking about for a long time, and I can't wait to own a copy for myself!

Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson Publishers, and Courtney Walsh for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions!

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Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for this complimentary copy of The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley. This review is based solely from my reading of the novel and was not persuaded by any other source. Five stars!
Before your life really begins, times can be tough and they were for Isadora. She didn’t see herself as others did and it blurred the image of herself. While she was a fascinating and brilliant woman, people used her for what they could get, because she was phenomenal at her job as a researcher. Then she started a challenge to prove someone wrong in a magazine article and it all spiraled into the right direction from there for Isadora.

She had many discoveries along the way, lots of fun and it was an enjoyment to take this journey with Isadora. Never having a best friend would be a lonely way to live, but sometimes you don’t know what’s missing until it’s gone.

Many people will never be happy, because they settle for less, but Isadora realized what she wanted and went after it. Marty was such a wonderful addition to the novel and helped shape and mold the deeper points throughout the book. The insights he provided really added to the writing, in my personal opinion.

Then Cal appeared and Isadora was skeptical, but had to fulfill her job as a researcher and put her personal feelings aside. Their relationship I found to be of a professional basis, and I loved how Cal was portrayed throughout the novel. A very sweet and stand-up guy that wanted Isadora to only have the best personally and professionally. He pushed her towards a better Isadora. I loved that about the writing and it created a happy swoon mood for readers.

All the characters were lovable and easy to follow. They all had their quirks, but I found them to all fit well together.

This novel wasn’t like the others I have read by Courtney Walsh and I really enjoyed that. Given I have not read some of her kindle only reads, but have read most all her novels and have enjoyed them as well, but enjoyed a different pace with this one. Sometimes a change of pace is important for an author, so they do not become indistinguishable from the others. I loved this novel, because of that change. It had humor (laugh out loud moments), heartache, best friendships, light-hearted romance and was a delight to read. Great read!!!!

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The Happy Life of Isadore Bentley
By Courtney Walsh
Pub Date: June 13: 2023
Thomas Nelson
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Romance, fiction, contemporary
I loved this book! It was a quirky story of an introvert and so relatable!
The themes were great! The book captured me from the beginning.
5 stars

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Isadora is a quirky and socially awkward introvert. Spending her days as a university researcher, she doesn’t have time for friends or hobbies- and she likes it that way. She avoids the university students, who she’s supposed to be mentoring, and ignores her neighbors. And yes, sometimes she gets anxious and overwhelmed. On the day of her 30th birthday, Isadora finds herself at the grocery store loading up with junk food to celebrate at her party of 1. In the checkout line, a magazine with an article called “31 Ways To Be Happy” catches her eye and she buys it on impulse. After reading a few of the “31 Ways,” she decides to conduct some research of her own by trying all the ways- and hopefully creating some happiness of her own.

Guys- this book really spoke to my introvert-leaning soul. Even if you’re not a fully introverted person, there are plenty of things you can relate to in this story. We all have times of self-doubt, thoughts of past-traumas, have gone through a terrible breakup and I bet you still remember the person who bullied you back in 3rd grade (I’m looking at you Ashley W). All those experiences can have you second-guessing yourself well into adulthood. And if you don’t have a good family or friend support system, like Isadora, it can be even harder to overcome. To that point- she ends up with her “found family” of a group of wonderfully random and different people and a genuinely kind love interest. It made me so happy for her and I was just so pleased with this book and author.

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You know those characters that get under your skin and into your heart? Isadora is one of those for me. There were so many parts of her that were so recognizable and that made me need her to find her happiness so much.
On her 30th birthday Isadora sees a magazine article “31 ways to be Happy”
Convinced the writer is a charlatan she decides to apply her researcher skills and scientific method and try and prove the author wrong.
Isadora will have to break her routines and habits to complete the project and confront the real question at the root of her experiment “is she happy”
I loved this book, I definitely recommend checking it out if you want a feel good story (that might make you cry, but in a good way) Releasing June 12 2023
Thank you to @netgalley @courtneywalsh and @thomasnelson for letting me review this book. #bookstagram #readforfun #readforjoy #readersofinstagram #reading #readmore #bookreview #bookrecommendations #thehappylifeofisadorabentley #readmorebooks

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The Happy Life of Isadora

This book was so unexpected! I absolutely loved it. It’s deep and fun and is the ultimate definition of character growth.

I loved Isadora. I loved getting to see why she is the way she is and how she ticks. To be completely honest, in the first chapter or two I wasn’t sure I would like her. But as I got to know her, I made connections with her. I grew to love her and the things she was learning. I loved learning along with her on her quest for happiness and learning to let people in.

I loved so many of the themes and lessons in this book. learning to let people in. Choosing those who make you feel accepted and good about who you are. Reaching out to others. Learning to enjoy people when you’re an introvert. Standing up for yourself. It was a beautifully written book and I will definitely read it again. And it’s yellow. I love yellow books.

I had the pleasure of talking about this book with a fellow reader and I found it funny that at the same time we messaged each other about one small element. I said I liked it, she said she wished it had been resolved. And I love that it’s a book that let us to ponder how to handle difficult people and relationships. In truth we all cope differently and each difficult relationship is so unique. What a thought provoking book to read, especially if you’re an introvert or have ever felt a little on the outside of friends and society.

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A cute, relateable story that truly lifts your spirits. I love isadora, i root for her throughout, commiserate with her in the bad, and really feel connected to her at the end. The story line is different, fresh, and entirely adorable. I loved it!! I wish there was a sequel!! It made believe in happy, even though im generally more of a negative nelly. Definitely recommend this book!!!

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This book was written for me!

Isadora is such a relatable nerdy mess, and her story is giving me all the feels! It made me smile, the romance made me swoon, there were some laugh-out-loud moments, and it tugged on the heartstrings big time. Overall, while some aspects might have hit a little close to home, I loved the strong theme of making connections and I adored this particular found family Isadora managed to pick up along her way.

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CW: bullying (recounted), death of a spouse (recounted), parental estrangement, parent with narcissistic personality disorder, heart attack

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson - Fiction for providing me with a free e-ARC.

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley is a Christian romance full of self-discovery and letting go of past pains I would absolutely recommend!

When Isadora Bentley finds herself alone for her 30th birthday and comes across a magazine article claiming to know “Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy”, Isadora finds herself on a mission to prove the author wrong. But, after encountering new friends in the least likely of places and inviting Cal, a new researcher Isadora has to help edit his manuscript for, she realizes that the magazine article might be right after all.

Now, if you read Authentically Izzy, you’ll appreciate the character development Isadora goes through in The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley. Walsh does a great job with creating Isadora and I feel like a lot of readers can relate to her struggles of feeling on the outcasts of the world around her (including me and I think Isadora might be autistic/neurodivergent). This book not only ties in Christian themes of acceptance (as well as strategically using the found family trope), but you also get to see Isadora learning how to let go of her past regrets and hurts in order to fully heal.

I also really liked Walsh’s writing style for The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley and it’s not just because of the David Attenborough-like commentary that portrays Isadora’s inner monologue. This book felt like a nice and cozy hug after a long day and finding the solace of connecting her characters that you can relate to and root for. While some parts of the book did feel a bit slow, Walsh makes up for it by her characters and the swoon worthy romance between Isadora and Cal (I mean, the things Cal does for Isadora in the book will totally melt your heart).

So, if you’re a fan of the found family trope mixed with self-discovery, personal research projects, and sweet romances, you came to the right place.

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I loved this book from the first page and honestly, I didn’t want this book to end. Not only did I love Isadora Bentley but all the people she adopted along the way! An excellent group of characters and a unique and interesting storyline. I thank Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Is Courtney Walsh inside my brain? This book is such a triumph for the girls who never fit in and were never stood up for. Everything about this book makes me feel seen and loved. Plus, it’s been a minute since a book has made me laugh and cry so much.

While I can't relate to all of Isadora's experiences, her thoughts felt so real. The negative self-talk in the first 20% of the book was frustrating and almost felt intrusive! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I needed my own negative self-talk to be pointed out. And watching Isadora learn to extend grace to herself throughout the story has helped me remember to extend grace to myself, too.

Making friends as an adult is hard. And it’s easy to put your head down and tell yourself that you don’t need people. Isadora is so so relatable in this regard. But the character growth is so good. And the friendships in this book are so wonderful and satisfying. All of us need friends like Marty, Darby, and Delilah.

While the sweet romance in this story is important to the plot, I love that it doesn’t claim to be the main thing or overshadow the other elements of the story. Cal is the dreamiest, and we love him. But he adds so much more than romance to the story, and I love that. Because all of us need a friend like Cal, too.

This book is a new favorite. Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson, and Courtney Walsh for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine.

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Isadora Bently is vey unhappy and has nothing to look forward to as she spends her thirtieth birthday planning to eat junk food. Isadora works as an academic researcher. She has no friends and prefers to work alone.
While waiting to buy junk food Isadora browses through a magazine and notices an article titled “31 Ways to Be Happy (Today)”. Isadora does not believe that it is possible to be happy and buys the magazine intending to prove that it is not possible to be happy by following the 31 ways to be happy.
I loved the way the story unfolded as Isadora worked through the 31 steps and the way she interacts with the characters she meets.
This was about families, friendship, grief and academic research. At about page 100 I found myself saying “I love it, I love I Love it”.

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The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley is truly heart warming! You are sure to fall in love with Isadora and her quest for happiness through the feat of defending her view on what creates happiness.

Isadora is celebrating her birthday with a junk food night in when she is in Aisle 8, she stumbles upon a magazine with a headline about "31 ways to be happy." Isadora scuffs at the thought and sets out on her quest to disprove this researchers findings.

Along the way, Isadora begins to interact with some unique and interesting people. I fell in love with the entire cast of characters. Cal, the researcher, Marty, the widower, Darby, the chaotic neighbour, and Delilah, the 13 year old going on 30 (if she even is 13 lol). The characters were all so relatable and funny. With such a fun plot and interesting cover, Courtney Walsh does it again !

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

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Inspiring and Life changing! That's this book.

I had trouble connecting with the book at first but immediately I got a hang of it, I was sold. The characters had my heart especially Isadora. She was so relatable. My heart went out to her a couple of times reading the book. I understood her struggles. Her support system was solid. Everyone needs friends like that of Isadora. Friends that turned to family.

The writing style of this book is unlike the author's previous books but it a beautiful story of love, change, healing from childhood wounds, God sending help from unexpected sources...

I received a copy of this book and this is my honest opinion.

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Simply amazing!! This book is everything I didn’t know I needed. I was able to immediately relate to Isadora and enjoyed seeing her quest to prove an article “31 ways to be happy” is wrong. Along the way, she meets interesting characters who help her on her journey to discover how to be happy. I felt like this was a subject that a lot of people struggle with because of all the hardships going on in the world. I also loved the uniqueness of Cal, Derby, Delilah, and Marty. This book was so fast-paced and interesting that I couldn’t put it down. Highly highly recommend!!

*I received and e-ARC copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This was such a sweet book. I adore Isadora. I love how she grows and changes. And the other characters are lovely too!

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If you're looking for a heartwarming and inspiring read, then this is the book for you. Author Courtney Walsh takes us on a journey with protagonist Isadora Bentley, a university researcher who believes that happiness is something that simply doesn't exist in her life. But when Isadora impulsively decides to prove that happiness is a myth, she embarks on a life-changing adventure that will have you rooting for her every step of the way.

Walsh's writing is both witty and insightful, as she explores the themes of self-discovery and personal growth. Isadora is a relatable and complex character who will tug at your heartstrings and leave you feeling inspired. Her transformation from a rule-abiding and closed-off individual to someone who is willing to take risks and embrace the unknown is truly remarkable.

What's particularly impressive about this book is how Walsh weaves in scientific research on happiness without it feeling forced or contrived. The book provides valuable insights into the benefits of positive psychology, mindfulness, and the power of human connection.

Overall, "The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley" is a delightful read that will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired. Walsh has created a relatable and engaging protagonist in Isadora, and her journey of self-discovery is both heartwarming and thought-provoking. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a feel-good read that will leave them with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you so much!

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This books was everything I never knew I always wanted.

Isadora is having a midlife crisis of sorts. Only, she thinks she is just out to prove an article and it's author wrong. As a researcher, Isadora knows how to be accurate, conduct experiments, surveys, gather the data, and arrive at conclusions. She's pretty sure her hypothesis will be proved correct. But Isadora neglected to add in the human elements of friends and feelings.

My heart hurt for Isadora. She had a pretty rough go of things as a child with no friends and no support. Isadora also processes things differently. (Perhaps a little neurodivergent if you will, although that's my interpretation as it is never stated in the book.) Where she was at 30 was not quite where she wanted to be. The supporting cast (including our favorite leading man - Cal) was so great! We all need people - our people. And the truths that Isadora discovers are necessarily new, but it was all written so beautifully!

"The desire for happiness, it seems is universal. And needed now more than ever..."

"It was about me realizing that I have the power to change my ow life. Happiness is a choice... That a big revelation."

Buy this book. Read it again and again. It's everything.

Thanks to netgalley for an eARC.

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I want to give Isadora a great big hug!

I loved this book - it was such a feel good read. Never have I enjoyed a cast of characters more... every single one of them (with the exception of you Alex) was so endearing and really well rounded. Isadora gave me Sheldon Cooper vibes for all you Big Bang Theory fans out there, but minus the condescending attitude towards people... she had a very tough childhood, an even tougher experience in adulthood and has trouble trusting. She also is a bit socially awkward which just made me want to befriend her.

Courtney Walsh develops characters and storylines so well and this book was no different. There was an unexpected twist as well. I hope everyone gets the chance to fall in love with Isadora - you won't be disappointed!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Isadora Bentley has a routine. She doesn't vary her routine or her solitude. At least she didn't' until the night of her 30th when she buys a magazine with an article on 31 ways to find happiness. As a well respected university researcher, Isadora doesn't believe an article can help readers be happy and makes it her mission to disprove the author. But in her mission to do so, she may just prove the author right!

This book gave so much insight to Isadora now and her younger self. Through the people she meets during her research, we see both the vulnerability and hope in Isadora that is in us all.

The cast of characters in this book was AMAZING! I want to be part of their group!

5 STARS!!!!

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”Isadora believes that happiness is something that flat-out doesn’t exist in her life.” She aims to refute Dr. Monroe’s claim in an article, “The 31 Ways to a Happier Life.” It didn’t exist. It’s simply not possible. Can anyone really be content? This would be Isadora Bentley’s secret project.

I enjoyed seeing Isadora carefully observe the 31 guidelines in order to further strengthen her theory. Along the way, readers will feel a range of emotions and have a few “ah-ha” moments with Isadora. I enjoyed the way the author enlists readers and fictional characters in this effort to disprove the 31 ways to happiness.

The author encourages everyone to live life to the fullest, rather than letting it pass you by. In this tale, everyone learns that life is a gift meant to be shared. We were designed to live together in community. The characters quickly realize that embracing life is more important than simply observing it. I applaud the author’s ability to entertain, engross, and make readers laugh out loud. I loved this novel filled with wonderful relatable, endearing characters to root for and hang out with. It’s a delightful ride you don’t want to miss.

This is a wonderful escape and one that your book club will love talking about. The author includes discussion questions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog

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Thank you to NetGalley for this free preview in exchange of an honest review. I simply adored this book. I loved the main character and while it was never addressed, she is on the spectrum which makes her honest and lovable. I loved the quest of the book, happiness. And I loved how she made it a research project, complete with experiments and gathering data. This book was simply charming and delightful.

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I absolutely loved this book! Isadora Bentley is for sure someone you want to root for and spend time with. The little truth bombs sprinkled through this book are incredibly insightful and encouraging. What a joyous read! I have pre-ordered it and can’t wait to re-read it.

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Did I just find a new Courtney Walsh favorite?!?! As a huge Courtney fan this is big. Where to even start with the joyful book! Courtney has created a fictional story that some may as well as myself read as a self discovery book. The main question being “Are you Happy?” & following along on Isadora’s journey to see what the heck Happy looks and feels like.

Along the way you meet characters that become a found family for Isadora… they show honesty, Delilah. Enthusiasm, Darby. Wisdom, Marty and compassion, Cal. This little group stole the show and I’m so sad to leave them.

This book shares a few sensitive topics that Courtney has handled with gentle hands and she has really just blew my mind with this book. This one will be one that many will hug upon completing!

Thank you to the publisher for this ARC

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If you enjoyed The Love Hypothesis, you will enjoy The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley.

Isadora, a researcher, isn't sure that happiness is for her and she's perfectly okay with that. When she stumbles upon a magazine article that highlights Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy, Isadora sets out to prove the author wrong.

While working through the list, Isadora finds herself surrounded by a cast of characters that help her with her project.... and maybe even finding happiness?

I love books with quirky main characters... but a book with a strong supporting cast ? Yes... yes please. I mean, read this book and tell me you don't fall in love with Marty.

Thank you, Netgalley for the ARC of this book!

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This is likely going to make my best of the year list. And I mean, the cover is just 🤩

On her 30th birthday, Isadora is checking out at the grocery store with a cart full of candy she plans to binge alone when a magazine headline catches her eye:
“31 Ways to Be Happy (Today!)”
With a researcher’s careful methodology, she sets out to disprove the entire list. What happens next is funny, sweet, and heartwarming in the best way. I truly loved everything about this. With a quirky main character reminiscent of Elinor Oliphant and a cast of supporting characters who would be friends with A Man Called Ove’s neighbors, this story will leave you with the biggest smile on your face and a renewed hope in humanity and community (at least that’s what it did for me). ❤️

“It’s as if she’s got a handle on who I am and she’s fine with it. Maybe [she] is the kind of person who simply allows people to be who they are. I might as well be having coffee with a unicorn.”

“Maybe happiness isn’t about what you do, Isadora. Maybe it’s about who you do it with.”

Many many thanks to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the advanced digital review copy. This was such a delight. The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh releases on June 13.

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This book was exactly what I needed to get over the brief reading slump I had entered. Such a fun, fun book! When I first started reading, I had to do a double-take to remind myself that I was reading a Courtney Walsh novel. I’ve read a handful of her books and loved them but this fresh, laugh-out-loud, poignant romantic comedy is different from her previous books. And I absolutely loved it from the beginning to end! Isadora's delightfully quirky, witty, hilarious, honest, and self-deprecating first person voice will charm you and make you cry all sorts of tears - tears from hysterical laughter and tears of empathy, sadness, pain, self-realization, and (of course) happiness and worth. There isn't a faith thread in the story but it is a clean read.

Isadora is unforgettable. Though an introvert in a self-imposed isolation, she braves the outside world for the sake of research and discovers more than what she bargained or hoped for. The eclectic group of friends she collects is as unforgettable as Isadora. And Cal.... I loved his gentle but unrelenting pursuit of Isadora. His tender heart, passion for the human connection, and enchanting whimsical ways made him perfect for Isadora.

This is one of the best rom-coms I've read. I received the book from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.

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Ok. I sobbed. I cried a lot. I had no idea this book would be so emotionally cathartic. I have so many thoughts about this incredibly beautiful story!

I loved how unique Isadora was and that I could totally connect with her character. I always tell people that the desire to be loved is really the desire to be understood, and I felt that so deeply in this book. I loved that it was full of JOY in unexpected ways. I felt that deeply as well.

Here’s what to expect:
💛 sweet swoony romance par the course in true Courtney Walsh fashion
💛 opposites attract
💛 found family trope with amazing side characters you will fall in love with
💛 FMC on a unique search for happiness
💛 heart touching moments and fantastic character growth/development
💛 you just might cry

I don’t know if everyone will feel the same way I do about this book, but I think that the beauty of it is while the story is great, it really can touch each reader’s heart in a different way. Truly an incredible job by the fabulous Courtney Walsh and can’t wait to keep reading what she writes.

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC!

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Isadora Bentley turn thirty, have quite life, single and enjoy her simple life. Her birthday make she think again, if she want to changing life but that isn’t as easy as everyone makes it sound. When she saw “31 Ways to Be Happy” on magazine, her adventure begin. Reading this book feel like read my life. Prefere alone, awkward, strange, hard to make friend and the list continue. I enjoy Isadora experiment to prove that 31 ways to be happy was wrong, when she open up many people come into her life, accept the way she is, understand her. I love how strong and brave Isadora is, able to speak her mind, stand for herself and choose to be happy.

Thank you to NetGalley for provide this book, it is pleasure to review this book.

#TheHappyLifeofIsadoraBentley #CourtneyWalsh #ThomasNelson #ThomasNelsonFiction #NetGalley #ARC

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Isadora is such a quirky heroine. She's blunt and awkward and utterly adorable. And she's like all of us, she wants to be happy.

I'll be honest in saying that I was scared to read this book and was scared most of the time I was reading it. I didn't read the blurb before starting it. I'd never actually read a book by Courtney Walsh. I tried to read one once and it felt more like women's fiction than romance. I'm definitely here for the romance. I kept waiting for this book to shatter my heart in some way. And it did. But not in the way I expected.

I related so deeply to Isadora. But then the more I thought about it, I think most of us will relate to her. She just says what we feel perhaps more than we do.

I am not one to annotate or highlighbooks as I read. But the deeper I got in to this story, I found myself highlighting more and more. So many of the thoughts resonated with me. That is unusual. I don't usually read books and identify with characters like this.

Anyway, back to the actual story and characters. I loved them all, I especially Delilah. And Cal. Oh Cal. 😍 The journey Isadora goes on tontry to find happiness is sprinkled with heart and humor and love and more.

My takeaway : Don't be scared to read this book. Read it and embrace your inner Isadora.

"Life is beautiful and horrible and wonderful and awful all at the same time."

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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#TheHappyLifeofIsadoraBentley #NetGalley

What a great story! Isadora Bentley has a standing date with junk food on her birthday, at the checkout lane with her loaded cart, she decides to buy a magazine withan article titled 31 Things to do, to Guarantee Happiness, she is skeptical as a researcher, she decides to perform an experiment to prove that the authors ideas won't bring happiness.
Working at a university allows Isadora to work on research projects with professors. When she is assigned to Cal Baxter she puts her foot down and refuses to work with him, on his book, but her boss tells her she doesn't have a choice.
Isadora has pretty much lived a solitary life, not getting close to anyone since being hurt by someone she thought she could trust. When she begins to work on her happiness project she starts to connect with people. A next door neighbor Darby and her four children, Marty an older gentleman who is lonely and missing his wife who has passed away. She sees herself as a young girl, in Delilah, Darby's ten year old daughter. Cal becomes interested in Isadora's happiness project, even though Isadora is determined to not let him get close to her. I absolutely loved this book I was sad when I came to the last page, I didn't want it to end. There were so many good quotes I can't wait to buy a copy of the book and read it again.

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The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley is a beautifully written novel about what it means to find one's place in the world. The theme is all about embracing the good, bad, ugly, and amazing experiences that compose a life. Isadora is complex and quirky, yet so many of her struggles are universal. I liked her found family, her bold quest to disprove her hypothesis about happiness, and of course, as a romance reader, I'm here for the sexy professor love interest.
Isadora's journey is poignant and relatable. Even though she's fictional, I saw pieces of myself reflected in her thoughts and actions. The secondary characters are so funny and really add to the story. I appreciated the hopeful, encouraging tone and the happy ending.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary copy. All opinions shared here are my own.

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Isadora isn’t happy, and she wants to prove to Dr. Grace Monroe who has written an article, 31 Ways to Be Happy that well, she wants to prove that it isn’t possible.

Why would Isadora want to prove that you can’t be happy?

She has a lot of reasons why she isn’t happy; like parents who have never been supportive, or understanding of her, friends who weren’t loyal, and a boyfriend who wanted to keep their relationship a secret. Isadora has been really hurt by the people who she thought loved and liked her but instead let her down and misunderstood who she was.

Slowly, Isadora starts doing the items on the list to prove that Dr. Grace Monroe doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but each time she does, she finds that by being open to trying new things there are people who see Isadora for the unique and special person she is, and in turn she sees it in herself.

I can’t say I was really liking The Happy Life of Isadora until about halfway through when Isadora starts seeing herself for who she really is, unique, but then something happens that triggers her to go back to old behaviors that didn’t work for her and didn’t do her any favors.

In the beginning, I really didn’t like Isadora but when she began seeing she needed to forgive those in her life that had hurt her and she had worth. S saw that she did have friends who did love and supported her, and were honest with her even if she didn’t make the best judgments. All I wanted was to cheer her on and yell at her when she didn’t make the best choice but smile when she did. The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley was an honest look at what it means to be human but know that there are second chances and people who will see you and love you for who you really are.

My gratitude to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson. All opinions expressed are mine.

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What to expect:
-Clean Romance
-Forced Proximity
-Personal Journey

Every now and then you read a book that just makes you happy and gives you all the feels in the best possible way. That was The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley for me. It was a fresh, beautiful, & heartfelt romance novel. I lost count of the number of times tears rolled down my cheeks. Courtney Walsh’s writing tugged at my heart strings with this story.

Meet Isadora a researcher who is turning 30 and as she is getting ready to celebrate finds an article on 31 things to make you Happy at the store checkout. She feels very strongly about the author saying that if you do these few things you will be happy. This sets her on a journey to disprove the article but unbeknown to her it would change her life.

She meets a cast of characters as she follows each prompt and before she knows it she has a circle of friends. They are a vastly eclectic bunch and make her life a lot more fun and interesting. Marty a widow, Darby a young Mom, Delilah (my favorite), and Cal. They are funny, witty, and full of wisdom.

This is a story of resilience, kindness & romance where you don’t need a hero to swoop in and save the day. Instead if focuses on finding your people and acknowledging that no one can make you happy except yourself. It’s a choice.

It was sweet and funny I totally recommend it. Definitely of my favorite books of 2023 already.

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This was my first book by Courtney Walsh and I really enjoyed it! I really liked her writing style and will definitely check out more of her books.

Isadora wasn’t the typical main character and I feel like there need to be more leading ladies like her in the books we read.

This story follows Isadora Bentley, a researcher, whose life wouldn’t be described as “happy”.

Isadora has a highly analytical and straightforward thinking style, which led me to believe that she may be neurodivergent/on the autism spectrum, although this was never explicitly stated. I mention this because I believe this aspect of her personality adds significance to the relationships she forms on her journey toward happiness. Despite being rejected and made to feel like an outcast by those who expected her to conform to their expectations (Lookin’ at you Isadora’s mom 😠), the people she meets accept and cherish her for who she truly is.

I feel this is an extremely important thing to recognize and appreciate in the story. Past experiences of rejection and hurt have made it difficult for her to open up to others, hindering her ability to pursue happiness as an adult. Her hesitation is understandable.

Her mom and the people in her childhood made her ashamed of who she was because they wanted her to be the way they thought she should be, so as an adult, to remedy the loneliness that made her feel, she just simply avoided people…but this created a life that she wasn’t living, just existing in.

On her 30th birthday she comes across a magazine with a list of “31 Ways to be Happy” and decides to conduct an experiment hoping to prove the list wrong…that these things don’t actually improve your happiness in life.

Though through her experiment, she discovered that happiness isn’t something that just comes to you. It’s something you decide. It’s the people you’re around. Sometimes, you have to put yourself out there and the right people will accept you for the person you are and love you even more for it. Those people who don’t, don’t matter anyways.

I adored every single character in this book. Marty was a source of wisdom, while Darby brought Isadora sunshine. Delilah was relatable for her, and Cal provided the gentle push that she needed to keep going. Although at times he seemed a little too good to be true,, his caring nature towards Isadora was sweet and endearing.

This book was a very heartwarming story of acceptance (from others and acceptance of self), self-discovery, personal growth, bravery, and forgiveness, with a little bit of an endearing, clean romance, too.

Although not overtly Christian, those who follow the faith will recognize Christian themes in it.

Thank you to NetGalley, Courtney Walsh, and Thomas Nelson for letting me read the ARC.

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley will be released June 13th!

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Wow. What a uniquely fun book! I related to Isadora a whole lot more than I expected to. Each one of us has had experiences where the only perceived solution is to "fix" your personality to blend in, avoid being embarrassed, or feel accepted. I saw so many of my own insecurities mirrored in Isadora's story.

Even though Isadora is following the "31 Steps to Happiness," she's not finding happiness in the literal doing of those things. It's through the new atmospheres and interactions she experiences. The friends Isadora finds along the way are so genuine. I felt happy that Isadora was feeling happy!

I love the other characters so much as well: Darby, Marty, Delilah, and of course, Cal. They all mutually blossom and grow because of the friendship that is fostered and sought after (on Darby's part, anyway lol). They're loyal to Isadora when she feels the need to withdraw, but they'll also confront her when she's making poor choices.

Cal and Isadora......such a beautiful love story. "I secretly hope his smile finds its way to me simply because I exist" (Isadora Bentley). My heart was filled with satisfaction in their relationship.

Overall, a beautifully written story and worth the read!

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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It took me awhile to get into this book, but once I did- wow! I absolutely loved this book! The first few chapters were challenging for me to get into as I couldn't decide if I actually liked Isadora (spoiler- I ended up LOVING her character). I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a quirky, clean romance and a quick read!

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This story far exceeded my expectations!
Make no mistake, I've been a fan of Courtney Walsh's books for awhile already, but this one is by far my favorite!
The voice and style are quite different from her normal books, and I loved being able to get into Isadora's head in this way.
Isadora was a fun, funny, and very relatable character. As I first started reading, I found myself laughing out loud at her quirks and sayings. But then, I also found myself crying at the heartbreaking things she'd been locking away inside herself. Yes, I very much saw myself in Isadora's life. And I so much empathized with her.

I loved seeing Isadora's character growth and progression as she took the steps to do a Happiness Experiment. She focused on others, rather than turning inward, and seeing her blossom was so satisfying.

I'm guessing most of us will find bits and pieces of ourselves in this story (unless you are, by chance, an extreme extrovert...?! Then you might find this story hard to relate to). An important lesson I learned is that we need other people in our lives--no one is an island! And we can all make a difference.

This book is a clean read, not necessarily Christian, but the themes are very much along those lines. I personally can easily see those parallels.
This is a rom-com, fun, and very humorous at times, but also faces some of the harder issues of life.
I recommend it for anyone looking for a good read.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Isadora Bentley is out to prove that happiness is not something you choose. She is a rule follower, a loner, and does not open herself up emotionally to others because that’s how you get hurt.

On her 30th birthday, she comes across an article that outlines the “31 Steps To Be Happy.” She decides that she will use her research skills and prove this author wrong. She has no idea how this experiment will alter the course of her life!

This was such a feel good read! I enjoyed all the wonderful cast of side characters that had me laughing throughout! If you are wanting a pick me up, this is your book!

Read if you like:
📝 Single POV
📝 Making new friends
📝 Found family
📝 Finding the path to happiness
📝 Laughing while you read
📝 Character growth

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"Do Humans really need other humans to be happy?"
Is Happiness a choice?

These are one of the many questions our lovely is Isadora asks herself throughout the book.
Isadora Bentley is a 30 year old woman and academic researcher in Behavioral and Social Sciences at the university of Chicago. Her whole life revolves around her work in other words is Isadora and her job are ONE but recently that doesn't seems enough. She's lonely no friends no family no activities and most importantly heartbroken.
However, when she comes upon an article 31 ways To Be Happy Isadora is filled with some kind of energy she wants to try and do an experiment to prove that those steps are misleading and the doctor behind the article is wrong but when a handsome Dr. Cal Baxter joins to help her, flowers starts to bloom in Isadora's life in the most unexpected ways.

What she didn't expect that by doing each step her life will change dramatically. Isadora is finally stepping out of her comfort zone will she proves the article wrong or vice versa?
I could try and write pages to describe how BRILLIANT this book is but nothing will be enough. It's an exploration of feelings and emotions
Sadness,grief,love, happiness, friendship, and so many other. Its about the importance of human connection and the happiness it brings and that being HAPPY is a choice and its ok to be different it's what makes you special.
It also about letting go and forgiveness
It's really a powerful and emotional novel that you MUST read.
And of course, the love story between Isadora and Cal was the cherry on top

Absolutely Perfect ❤️
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Love this book so so so so much!!! My new favorite. Courtney Walsh is so talented! I related to Isadora right away, she had a good sense of humor and was strong and just a great main character.

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I will always and forever read anything and everything @courtneywalsh writes! She is an amazing author, creates the best banter between characters, along with the best internal monologue, and investigates contemplative experiences for today’s reader. THE HAPPY LIFE OF ISADORA BENTLEY is a shift from some of her recent writings, and it really shows her growth as an author! Thank you [partner] @thomasnelson for my copy of THLOIB which releases June 13th!

Isadora is a quirky, incredibly smart, brutally honest MFC that reminded me of a cross between Tova and Marcellus from Remarkably Bright Creatures. She represents so much internal monologue that should have WAY more representation in novels today! I cherished her uniqueness and her love of the sweetest little neighbor ever. Such a great part to include in the storyline. She works in search of disproving an article about happiness, and what she finds in the process is a group of the most beautiful friendships- friends that love her for her.

The beginning of the novel took a bit to get into the groove of following Isadora’s internal monologue, but once I did, she became one of the most endearing characters I’ve read recently.

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Isadora likes things a certain way and prefers to be alone. It’ll be happily ever after with her work as a university researcher! Until her 30th birthday, when she unexpectedly buys a magazine with an article featuring 31 Ways to Be Happy. She decides she’s going to prove the writer wrong by testing out all the steps and documenting her findings because she doesn’t believe “you choose happiness”! Or will she be surprised to discover maybe you can?

This one made my heart happy! 🥰
And had me literally laughing out loud! 😂

Isadora didn’t have it easy starting at a young age repeatedly hurt by people close to her. It’s understandable as a result she closed herself off for protection! She’s introverted, quirky, smart, and instantly wins the affection of new friends she meets in the process of her new research including me 🙋🏼‍♀️ I hope you love Isadora too!

I loved all the side characters we met along the way on this social experiment! I can’t wait for you to meet everyone! A super friendly sweet old man, the accepting encouraging insta bestie you always wanted but never had, a 10 year old with no filter who tells you like it is but also Izzy sees so much of her younger self, and the swoon worthy loyal professor who has a lot of patience.

This is a journey of stepping outside your comfort zone, self discovery, and getting out of your own way!

Thank you so much @netgalley @courtneywalsh and @thomasnelson for the early complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

3 for 3!!! Courtney’s become an auto read for me! If you’re looking for clean, feel good books with great character development then I highly recommend! I cannot wait to see what’s next!!

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What a gem this book is. Here I am finding myself relating to Isadora in quite a few ways. Isadora Bentley prefers to be alone, at least that's what she tells herself. On her 30th birthday she stumbled across an article: 31 Ways to be Happy. She wants to prove the article wrong so she started to do an experiment which led her to meeting people that would change her life. I love all the side characters esp 10 year-old Delilah, who acts more mature than her age. This book is about loneliness & choosing to be happy, stepping out of your comfort zone, standing up for yourself, and self love & discovery.

Did this bring tears to my eyes? Yes, a whole lot if I'm being honest. I read this book during those days when it seemed like everything sucked. Reading this felt like a one big hug that I very much needed at that time.
I didn't have any expectations in this book at all, but The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley ended up being one of my favourite reads this year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Loved this book!!! Courtney Walsh does it again! I love how the author takes us through Isadora’s hurt, past and her feelings. I loved all the new people in her life. It was such a great story!

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for this advanced copy I’m exchange for my honest review.

Publish date: June 13, 2023

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This is a heartwarming contemporary fiction - almost like a coming of age but middle age style. The characters are loveable and the plot fun. Overall an excellent reading experience.

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I love a good book. I love a good book that also helps me examine my own points of view. This book definitely met both markers. I identified with the main character even though I only shared a couple parts of her story. As she worked through her emotional mess I felt like in a way I was working through mine but while loving the story and how it read!

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This was most certainly a charming book, and a unique one. How many levels I could not relate to Isadora, as I have a wonderful family both as a child, as a mom, and now as a grandmom. However, I most certainly could relate to her issues with being socially, awkward and often find myself having to push myself in those situations.

One of the most delightful aspects of this book is in the supporting characters. They are so well written, and so utterly wonderful. And Cal, the love interest, stole my heart. I was sometimes frustrated at how long it took Isadora to respond to his patient pursuit of her.

I certainly enjoyed this book, and I am thankful to NetGalley for the opportunity to read it in advance. I was not obliged to give a positive review, but I definitely recommend it!

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I have found one of my favorite books of the year! This story is absolute perfection! It made my heart so happy. Here are just some of the things I loved…

• the philosophical older gentleman
• the sexy academic
• the socially awkward female MC
• the found family

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The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley

Yet again, Courtney Walsh has completely charmed me. I absolutely adored this book. Isadora Bentley is a socially awkward 30 year old who has a lot of baggage. Her life hasn’t been easy and she’s carrying a lot of hurt around with her. It makes for a very lonely way of life. When she comes across a magazine that claims to have 31 ways to be happy, she sets out to prove the article wrong.

This was SUCH a fun concept for a book! Isadora does each of the 31 things listed in the magazine and as she does her life intersects with some really quality people. Those relationships are rich and filled with meaning. I just loved how each friend she makes helps her learn something about herself. And in the end she is able to engage with past hurts and move forward.

You guys HAVE to read this one. Seriously. I laughed so many times, but I also got caught up in the feels a number of times too🥹 I love a good heart warming story and this one is definitely it!

I gave this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I highly recommend you check it out for yourself! It is set to release on June 13th. Go get yourself a copy!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Review: You could not conjure up a better summer read than this! This is one of those books that sticks with you- I have found myself incorporating the list of 31 things into my own life after finishing! The plot and characters were so endearing and well written, I was actually bummed to have finished it.

Isadora is the perfect main character- she is quirky, stubborn, endearing, and relatable. I loved witnessing her character growth throughout the novel, as slow and painful as it sometimes was! I loved watching her perspective and understanding on happiness change throughout the novel, both explicitly in her dialogue/inner monologue and implicitly through the writing style and descriptions.

One of my favorite things in this book was the cast of characters. First, the gradual inclusion of support characters allowed the reader to really get to know each one individually. Second, it was great to have so many characters at different stages of life; this felt like a great contrast to Isadora’s exploration and transition of life stages.

Yes, the romance element of this book is absolutely adorable, but Isadora’s independent exploration of life, relationships, and happiness are what make this a stand out read for me. I will absolutely be purchasing a physical copy for my shelves on release day, June 13th

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This book was great!!! I could relate to the female main character so much!!! If you are looking to learn how to let go of your past, find joy and happiness, then this is the book for you!!! What a beautiful story of healing, redemption and found family!!!

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✍🏻The Happy Life Of Isadora Bentley✍🏻


Pub date: June 13, 2023

This book has my heart! ❤️ Everyone deserves to be happy, and so does Isadora. Some people have been made to believe that they aren’t worthy of happiness by family, exes, or others. I love how Courtney Walsh proves through Isadora that happiness is possible. 🥰

Courtney’s writing flows so smoothly. I just wanted to keep reading. I love how she used the main characters to fully acknowledge real-life struggles with self-love and acceptance.

I want to read this book again! Now!🎉
Thank you, @courtneywalsh for such a heart-warming, encouraging reading experience! Also, a big thanks to @netgalley and @thomasnelson for the advanced ebook copy!

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Loved this book! I flew through it in mere days as I could not put it down.
Isadora Bentley is a researcher. She loves her job, everything except dealing with the people around her. She reads an article about how to be happy in 31 steps. Isadora decides to try the 31 steps as a research project to prove the article author wrong. It takes her far out of her comfort zone but along the way she finds quite a few wonderful new friends as well as herself.
This book is heartwarming, realistic and humorous. The supporting cast of characters are perfection. Its a fun little rom com about finding your place in the world and letting go of what is weighing you down.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Researcher Isadora Bentley is spending her 30th birthday alone. On a trip to the grocery store, she purchases a women's magazine with 31 ways to be happy. When Isadora decides to prove the author wrong by trying all of the listed activities, she sets in motion a chain of events that lead to surprising results. Similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this hopeful and insightful read will be great for book discussions.

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I couldn't wait to dive into this one, and if I'm being honest, I had pretty ridiculously high expectations for it. I've loved every other book by Courtney Walsh I've had the pleasure of reading, and I had high hopes that this one was going to be no different. Unfortunately, at the start I was worried it was going to end up being a disappointment, as I found the story to be a tad slow moving, and I had a hard time truly being invested in the unfolding story. My worries were quickly proven unfounded though, as once the story got rolling, I could barely bring myself to put it down, and rarely have I ever found myself relating to a main character as much as I did Isadora.

Isadora stumbles upon a quest of trying to disprove a magazine article showcasing the "31 steps to happiness." What starts out as a singular, simple endeavor soon blooms into something more than she ever could have imagined or hoped for, and her research starts going in a different direction that she could have possibly hypothesized. For someone who has spent a lifetime being alone, Isadora is about to discover there's so much more to life, if she's only brave enough to take the steps to discover what that truly is.

As the reader follows along on Isadora's journey, so many important messages are brought to the surface about needing to truly forgive and release past hurts instead of letting them control you in the present. She was a character that was so relatable and endearing, and I loved how she was ridiculously smart and stubborn, but also quirky and honest and perhaps a teeny bit sarcastic. The cast of characters is perfectly rounded out with a misfit group that truly come to love Isadora as she is, while encouraging her to become whoever she wants to be.

This is undoubtedly going to be one of the best books I end up reading this year, and I truly adored the characters, the plot, and the swoon worthy, adorable romance. I recommend setting aside a good chunk of time if you choose to pick this one up, as more than likely you're not going to want to put it down once you get invested into the story.

My only slight complaint was that I wish the faith element had a bit more of a presence. In a book where the main character is setting out on a journey to find true happiness, it just felt like it missed the mark a bit to not have Jesus end up being the focus.

Final Rating: 5/5.

Still a wonderful read, and one I can't possibly recommend enough.

Thanks so much to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to advance read and review this one!

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary advance reader copy of this novel from the publisher (Thomas Nelson) via NetGalley. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and this is my honest review.

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Isadora feels like a drab nobody at the beginning of the book. She then initiates a happiness experiment and almost immediately sees results. Her little band of merrymakers are so sweet and amazing! I absolutely adore the characters and who Isadora ends up being. I wish I was part of that story and that it was real. What a refreshing book! Run, don’t walk, to get your hands on this lovely book. It will make you happy! Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I loved this funny and heartwarming journey of Isadora's to overcome the difficulties of her past and perhaps find elusive happiness. So many times I laughed out loud. I love the awkward and scientific-minded Isadora Bentley, and the hysterical way her mind works. She's never been accepted for who she is, so for years, she has shut everyone out of her world. On her 30th birthday, her way to celebrate is with copious amounts of junk food and while at the grocery store she finds a tabloid with a title "31 Ways to Be Happy (Today!). She scoffs at the idea, but then wonders "Are there really thirty-one ways to be happy?" As you can imagine, a science experiment ensues. What follows is more hilarity, friendships, freaking out, and honest introspection. I would love to have friends like Isadora, Marty, Darby, Delilah, and Cal.

Sweet, hilarious, and completely captivating! I highly recommend The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by the talented author Courtney Walsh.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to read an early copy. All opinions are my own.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book "The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley" and all opinions expressed are my own. This was a great book. Really interesting and Isadora was wonderful. I looked forward to reading this each day.

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This book made my heart so happy! That may sound strange, but I was in a major reading funk before I started this story and it was so wonderful to read a book that was so fun! I was laughing before the end of page 1 and though there were a couple cringey moments, Isadora's inner monologue even made those funny, too.
I found the premise for this book intriguing and it absolutely surpassed all of my expectations - which admittedly, weren't many. I loved Isadora's dry sense of humor, her inner (and sometimes out loud) commentary, and definitely all of the people she collected along the way! I usually find, when reading a book written from just one perspective, that I miss having a variety of characters weighing in. I did occasionally really want to know what Cal was thinking/feeling, but the story was so enjoyable, that I really didn’t think about it too much.
This is a story of a search for happiness and though there isn't a deep theological theme, there is definitely wisdom to be gleaned and remembered often. Honestly, I finished this book and then thought about rereading it almost immediately. I haven't, yet, though. Hopefully soon! But alas, life calls me to other things, peoply things, so Isadora will have to wait.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book that will encourage you to laugh, probably cry (yes, there’s a few sad moments), and maybe learn a new way to look at happiness. I would also recommend buying a paperback (I hope to do so, soon!) so you can loan it out to friends who need an extra dose of happiness, too.

*My thanks to the publisher for my advanced copy of this book! I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise, and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Chicago University researcher, Isadora Bentley, is celebrating her thirtieth birthday. Alone. (Does that qualify as celebrating?) Alone except for the local mini mart’s sugary delicacies that await her in Aisle 8. Twinkies, chocolate, and a 2 liter of Coke have medicinal properties that the science world has yet to recognize. (If you know, you know.) While checking out, Isadora spots a headline on a magazine: 31 Steps to Happiness, by Dr. Grace Monroe. Ha! 31 Steps. What a crock. On a whim of rebellion, Isadora buys the magazine with the intent of testing Dr. Monroe’s theory. She will implement one step per day–in any order–record her findings, and prove, unequivocally, that happiness can never be achieved so simplistically.

Unfortunately, most of these steps involve interacting with other people. Yuck. People. People lead to feelings, and feelings lead to loss and sadness and hurt. And Isadora has been hurt. A lot. Who wants that? Alone is safe. Alone is comfortable. Alone is…sometimes not all it’s cracked up to be.

Except that when you are a university researcher like Isadora, who is supposed to be working with other people, being alone isn’t always an option. Her self-imposed solitude is interrupted when Isadora’s boss assigns her to work with opposite-of-ugly Dr. Cal Baxter, a psychologist preparing a book for publication and conducting his own experiment.

Over the next year, Isadora Bentley embarks on a roller coaster ride of self-discovery, soul-searching, emotions, and regret. This sounds heavy–and it is–except that all of this wisdom is dressed in so much hilarity (her inner dialogue made me LOL on multiple occasions) that you almost don’t realize that you, the reader, are learning something too. And there are feelings–deep, deep feelings–as our beloved heroine goes on this journey, realizing that, while defensive walls are sometimes necessary, they aren’t always the answer.

I adored this book, its writing, characters, and many insightful nuggets. It’s a treasure. I highly recommend it!

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Isadora has my heart. There were so many great moments in this book. Parts that made me laugh, parts that made me cry, and parts that made me feel seen. I love Isadora’s found family and the way she conducts her experiments. I love how flashbacks are incorporated. I really didn’t want to put this book down.

I’d recommend this to those who love clean romance with a lot of laughs, finding one’s self, and found family.

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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This book!!!! Great writing. Fun internal dialogue. Strong characters and setting. You will love getting to know Isadora: a quirky, endearing, and utterly charming 30year old academic researcher who embarks on her own “happiness experiment”. Gave me “How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days” vibes!

Beyond the inspiring (and in some ways healing) love story, this is a story of Isadora learning to let go of her past and choose happy. I deeply related to some of the things she worked through and the various epiphanies she had throughout the book. And that made me lover her character even more. I also really connected with her love story, seeing me and my sweet husband in many of the interactions between Isadora and Cal.
Alongside an eclectic group of supporting characters, readers get a front row seat to Isadora processing her hurts & griefs.

Completely clean with no language and only a couple sweet kisses!

Favorite quotes:
“It was the kind of awkward that makes other people’s skin hurt by just watching.”

“What I realized is that I have to be the one to change it. Me. I mean, I can’t change the past—unfortunately— but I can change the way I think about it. I can change how much attention I give it.”

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers and NetGalley for the complimentary ebook in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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This is the first book by this author I have read and it definitely will not be the last!
Isadora was hilarious and real. I could completely understand her and her reasons 100% throughout the story!
This book was like a fantastic Rom-Com but on page! The ups and downs of Isadora's story are heartwarming and breaking but this book leaves you with such joy and a smile.
After turning 30 Isadora feels she's needs a change and decides that she's going to prove an article from a tabloid is completely wrong about how to find happiness in 31 steps. She decides to complete these step and catalog her findings. This leads to an eclectic cast of characters, humourous encounters, and true deep soul searching.

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It has been a very long time since I stayed up way past my bedtime binging a book I couldn’t put down, then posting about it the very next morning - but THIS BOOK!! 😍 I think it might be my favorite book of 2023!!

I’m struggling a bit with my thoughts - which is why I should probably wait and think through my review - but sometimes you just want to tell people ASAP!!

“Maybe happiness isn’t about what you do, Isadora. Maybe it’s about who you do it with. Or simply about accepting who you are.”

Walsh’s recent books are full on romcom and she steps away from that with this one. It is very much women’s fiction with a side of the absolute sweetest, most kind and patient romcom you’ll ever read. The combination of Isadora’s personal growth + the swooniest hero was almost too much for my heart!!

It was just such a thoughtful book. An incredibly vulnerable and openly awkward look at social isolation, self discovery and the concept of finding true happiness. There are LOL moments thrown in and moments that every single adult can identify with. I found myself in tears multiple times because the feelings were SO REAL. 💓

Isadora’s group of found friends are just the absolute icing on the birthday cake - Marty, Cal, Darby, and Delilah are the friends everyone deserves in their corner. I could read another entire book about this group.

This is a way longer review than I usually write, and I could go on so much longer, but friends, I am telling you I love this book so much. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!

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I want to be Isadora Bentley's best friend. She's quirky, atypical, intelligent, and at times irreverent. She made me want to cringe and cheer in every chapter. The only thing better than Isadora in this book is her cast of supporting characters. Marty, Darby, Delilah, and Dr. Cal brought joy into my life just as they brought happiness to Isadora's.

I was given an advanced copy to review by the author and publisher through NetGalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.

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