Friday, June 22, 2012

What Happiness Looks Like by Karen Lenfestey


What Happiness Looks Like, by Karen Lenfestey, is a moving story about two sisters and what their lives have become.  Joely is a single mother raising her five year-old daughter, Anna.  She is also dealing with the debilitating disease of Lupus, as well as her ex who has decided to make an appearance in her and Anna's lives after five years.

On the surface, Joely's older sister, Kate, seems to have it all.  She has a great job, a lovely home, and a perfect husband.  However, the one thing needed to complete the family her and Mitch desire is a baby, which doesn't seem to be in the cards for them.  What Happiness Looks Like carries the reader through Joely's and Kate's struggles and triumphs as they each try to find their own version of true happiness.

Joely has a picture in her head of what happiness is.  She dreams of a small, cozy house with a loving husband, who is a great father to Anna.  She would also love to pursue her dreams of being an artist.  Joely's reality is that she is an unemployed mother living with her sister, Kate.  She hasn't picked up a paintbrush since Anna was born, and she long since gave up finding 'the one' due to her Lupus.  Joely's one bright spot is Anna, who is a super bright and loving little girl that is full of life.

Kate's version of happiness is having her own baby with her husband.  However, it's normally your best laid plans that fall apart.  Kate and Mitch decided to wait until her career was established before trying for a child.  Once she was ready for a baby it seemed her aging body had other plans.  After miscarriages, IVF, and Artificial Insemination, Mitch and Kate have begun to drift apart.  Mitch is ready to try using a surrogate, but Kate isn't prepared to let go of the dream of having her own biological child.  


I really enjoyed Lenfestey's, What Happiness Looks Like.  She wrote an honest portrayal of the struggles many women face today.  I warmed instantly to the character of Joely.  She was fun, witty, and a wonderfully, loving mother.  I took me a little while to rally behind the character of Kate.  I believe this is because at times I could see a little of myself in her.  Kate was the older, responsible sister who worked as an adolescent counselor.  She was super opinionated and wasn't afraid to share what she thought you were doing wrong.  However, as What Happiness Looks Like unfolded,  I truly began to like and feel for Kate.  Beneath her cold exterior was a scared woman with insecurities just like everyone else.  I quickly latched on to her story and wanted the best for her.

At the end of What Happiness Looks Like, Lenfestey wrote a passage that has stuck with me since finishing her book.  Because it has resonated so deeply within me I felt I should share it with you in the hopes that it would do the same.

"All of this time she thought she knew what happiness looked like: building sandcastles on the beach, posing for the Christmas card family photo, hearing other moms say, "she looks just like you".  Only now, seeing the dimple return to Mitch's smile, [...] now she knew the truth.  She knew that happiness wasn't about any of those images.  It was a feeling.  And today everything felt right." (Lenfestey 261).

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read and review Karen Lenfestey's, What Happiness Looks Like.  It is a great read that will pull at your heartstrings and leave you rooting for both Joely and Kate.  It also has some nice romance throughout which is always a plus! If you order yourself a copy of What Happiness Looks Like, you won't be sorry! 

Karen Lenfestey has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, What Happiness Looks Like, for the purpose of review. 

23 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind review! The novel is currently #4 on Amazon's siblings category. You can find it at www.tinyurl.com/whathappiness

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Karen, it is a great novel! Congrats on being #4!
      Candace

      Delete
    2. I loved, loved, loved What Happiness Looked Like!

      Delete
  2. Hey Candance, you followed my blog and now I'm following yours!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,thanks for the follow. As a writer, it's nice seeing a blog devoted to books.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm, hadn't heard of this book. I'm not sure if it would be one I'd read. I tend to go for the zombies, action adventure and fantastic fantasy :) But thank you for sharing!

    I hopped to your blog from the POV blog which I found on Mom Blog Society :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. New follower! Looking forward to reading more!
    Daisy @ http://trendymomreviews.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thansks for joining us at welcome to the weekend hop,following back :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for following my blog Candace http://onmymind1.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice review. I will check this book out. Thanks for following me. I now follow back.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the follow! I am following back! Your blog is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Awww, I really like that quote too! Sometimes it easy to lose perspective, the grass always looks greener... :)

    Great review and happy Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi sweety! I LOVE YOUR BACKGROUND! cant help but notice your layout..!following you now!

    xoxx Kiara

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks so much for the follow! What a great blog. Following you as well!

    ReplyDelete
  13. thanks for the recommendation...sounds like a book club book!!! the premise of the book probably holds true for most things in life!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are book club discussion questions in the back and on my website www.karensnovels.com. If your book club reads one of my novels, I'll be glad to Skype or call in to discuss it. --Karen

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the information, Karen!

      Delete
  14. Hi Candace,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm already on of your follower and I like your reading choices a lot. Like your review and will check this book soon...
    Lucie

    http://newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr/

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Candace, I just put this book on my huge TBR :) I also am a new follower, found you on Goodreads :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll think about it.

    I'm following you from Goodreads, care to follow me?

    http://emaginette.wordpress.com/

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey Thanks for the follow! I'm following you too now:)

    Lucy enchantedbyjosephine.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for following my blog! I'm following you back :)

    ReplyDelete