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    Heartwarming friendship between three mothers

    Three friends, all mums, make new year's resolutions: Alison the hyper-organised perfect wife and mother wants to get fit; Kate the pregnant mother of two is feeling a bit overwhelmed and just wants to be a bit more zen; and Frankie, the single mother, just wants to be able to hold down a job and 'adult'. These three unlikely friends have to combat their own high expectations (Alison), boyfriend's ex-wives (Frankie) and newly pregnant friends who judge their parenting skills (Kate). I liked this, three unlikely friends each with their own problems, each with their own resolution as they meet their resolutions in unusual ways. It's a reminder that what we look like on the outside isn't always how we feel on the inside, the carefree fun single mum who breezes through parenting may feel like a complete failure on the inside when compared to the mum who prepares homemade packed lunches, labels her child's clothes properly and is a member of the PTA. Recommended for fans of Katie Fforde. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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    Brings a smile to your face and happiness to your

    Frankie, Katie, and Alison. Three women, three mothers, different lives and personalities. What a breeze of fresh and funny air do those ladies bring! Kicking stereotypes in the bottom as well as liberating us from the impression we women can have of each other, The Happiness Project is a beautiful tale of friendships through good and bad days. I just loved getting to know these women – three different point of views to help the reader figure out the truth from the appearances, the reality behind perfection, and face our own fears and insecurities. Alison is ‘the perfect mother’. Home-cooked cakes for school events or dinners, pristine house, never a hair out of place. But it is exhausting maintaining such a high-maintenance lifestyle. Especially when you lose the maternal figure you looked up to, the constant in your life that brought joy, comfort, and love. Finally, a novel in which the mother-in-law is not a loathed cunning monster for whom her son can do no wrong! I felt Maggie’s absence through Alison and her husband’s grieving process, beautifully written, emotions perfectly conveyed. I couldn’t help but side with Alison and get quite upset with her husband’s reactions. No, Alison is not what you’d call spontaneous, yes, she plans things and double checks things, but that’s not a bad thing. Okay, that may be because I connected the most with her, so I just HAD to take her defense. But I stand by what I say, although I do understand her hubby trying to help her to let go of the perfectionism that regulates her life in order to enjoy life a little more. Frankie…Alison’s opposite! Single mother trying to make ends meet with small jobs, juggling a boyfriend and an ex – and father of her boy who wants in in his life. Frankie is quite busy! She might appear strong and confident but it is only a façade. My heart ached for her whenever she did her best but felt she wasn’t enough, comparing herself to Alison, unfairly unleashing her insecurities on her. Unfair but so true. I can’t say I would never react his way. It felt so natural, and the author created the perfect little snippets of life to show just how quick we are to snap, to retreat into the ‘anger zone’, to stubbornly stay on one’s position when we know we are wrong. I loved Frankie for her boundless love and her complicated, ‘I’m worrying but there’s no way on earth I’m letting you know’ way. She has a giant heart and witty remarks that made the reading really cute, hilarious, and kept things on the extreme side of things. Frankie is all about ‘go big or go home’! Katie. Mother of two and a half (what? It’s in her uterus, it only gets half points!!!) wondering if her marriage is okay and how to deal with this new pregnancy. There is such stigma around what pregnancy should be like, how women must react to it, but there are also different schools and it can be hard to find the way that suits you through the process. When an old friend comes back into her life with a completely different lifestyle and view on what being an expecting mother is, Katie must come to terms with what she really wants to be, feel, and give to her next kid. I really enjoyed hearing about her first baby, followed too soon by the second, not giving her the chance to fully get into “pregnancy” mode, and that step back with this third baby, the reflection, the determination to do things the right way. But most of all, the idea that even if it’s the third time your body hosts a guest, you don’t have all the answers, even if some things come more easily, more naturally. So, where does the happiness project fit into those lives? Well, all three women want change, and the New Year is the perfect time for some resolutions. Each picks a goal, wills herself to stick to it, and drink to a better life. That’s on paper! The reality is trickier, fuller, more colourful, and so much better! With heart and fun, those three friends tackle the months to follow with an intention in mind, not always in action, but forever holding the others’ hand (even with less enthusiasm at times!). What begins as a simple list of goals ends up inspiring Alison, Katie, and Frankie, and me! I was moved by the obstacles they faced, the joys they felt, and those little moments of thoughts and doubts. What a treat! The Happiness Project is heart-warming. It’s the kind of books that smells like the right subtle incense in the house to make it a home, like the skillfully prepared mug of tea in your hand, like life itself. Tantrums, muds, long hours, walks, laughs – months of their lives pass by and I devoured them in one sitting, escaping the bitter cold of Bordeaux to share hours with women who remind you that you have it in you to be happy. Uplifting, filled with emotions and laughing-out-loud moments, The Happiness Project brings a smile to your face and happiness to your mind!

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