Publisher: Sphere (an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group)
Publication Date: 21st February 2019
Molly Baker is living her best life.
Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.
Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed.
But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?
An absolute must-read from the queen of romance Carole Matthews, Molly’s story will make your heart sing.
When I discovered that the very first line of Happiness for Beginners begins with the introduction of Anthony the Anti-Social Sheep, I just knew I was going to love this book!
The story centres around Molly Baker who, after inheriting Hope Farm from her aunt, turns it into a place for children who struggle in mainstream education. The students can undertake their school lessons whilst also learning various farmyard tasks/activities. It’s a really engaging premise for the story. Unfortunately, the future of the farm is under threat. Can Molly save the farm or will the students lose the one place where they can be themselves?
Told with Matthews warm writing style and usual wit, the book explores the themes of friendship, hope and acceptance. It takes a look at the importance of giving people a second chance and the fact that everyone needs help at times, even if it’s not always apparent.
There is rather a large cast of characters, both human and animal, and all are very likeable, particularly the lovely Molly who does such wonderful work helping the children who attend her farm. As an animal lover, I absolutely loved the quirky, characterful animals on the farm (particularly Anthony the sheep – the real star of the story!).
It’s lovely to watch the progress of the students as they settle into life on the farm. Molly has a knack of connecting with the children, accepting them for who they are and allowing them to learn at their own pace. She really is such a likeable and engaging character.
And, of course, there has to be a little bit of romance. In this case, it involves the swoon-worthy tv star, Shelby Dacre. Molly’s head may be turned by his dashing good looks, but matters are complicated by his delinquent son, Lucas.
This is a humorous, heart warming and uplifting read. I loved everything about it – the plot, the setting, the characters, Tina Turner the Alpaca… I would happily recommend this book.
Thank you to Sphere and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for review.
About the Author
Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of thirty-four novels, including her latest Christmas for Beginners. Her numerous Top Ten Sunday Times books are Million Love Songs, Paper Hearts & Summer Kisses, Sunny Days & Sea Breezes. Matthews is also an Amazon number one bestseller. Carole has been awarded the RNA Outstanding Achievement Award. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world.