Recipe for a Happy Life by Brenda Janowitz


Hannah Goodman doesn’t grow up like most kids on the Upper East side. Her mother, Gray, is an award-winning photojournalist with little time for the banalities of child-rearing, and when she’s not jetting off to follow the latest scoop, she’s camped out at the Hotel Chelsea. The closest thing Hannah’s got to a traditional matriarch is her grandmother—a glamorous widow six times over with a sprawling Hampton’s estate. But Gray is determined that her daughter resist the siren song of the trust fund set, and make her own way in the world. So Hannah does just that—becoming a successful lawyer in New York City, and dating a handsome musician. Hannah has it all, or so it seems, until one hot June day the carefully constructed pieces of her life break apart. When she throws it all in and seeks solace at her grandmother’s estate, she discovers that where happiness is concerned, you don’t have to stick to the recipe.

Source: purchased 

After a horrifically bad day (in more ways than one), Hannah escapes to the Hamptons to her grandmother’s house.  Her grandmother (charismatic, classy, always says and does the right thing, married seven times & widowed six), is more of a mother to Hannah than Hannah’s own mother. Hannah immerses herself in her grandmother’s presence in an effort to forget her troubles.  What Hannah encounters in South Hampton, besides the trust fund set and million dollar real estate, is a place to reset herself, and maybe her life.

Hannah hasn’t ever felt a part of the crowd she grew up in, in part because her mother never wanted her to be a trust fund baby, but also because she’s a little bit socially awkward.  But anyone would be socially awkward around Hannah’s grandmother, especially since grandmother keeps such a full social calendar.  Then Hannah’s mother makes a surprise appearance and Hannah’s begins to see a new side to a hated law school classmate.

Overall Thoughts:

I loved this book.  Brenda Janowitz is a fave author of mine, though she currently only has 3 books out.  I don’t know why it took me so long to read this one because I do love her first two books.  I think it may be because of the rather bland cover, but reading the book, I understand the white on white cover.

Anyway, Hannah’s issues are interesting to read about from my position.  She seems to have it all together, but as we learn more about what happened with her ex, her past, and her relationship with her mother, we understand what she needs to work through in order to grow up and make the most of her life. This is a book about relationships, both familial and romantic.  I loved that the romance didn’t overpower the more interesting and dynamic family issues.  Hannah learns a lot about forgiveness and love during this summer, and just in time.  If you’re a fan of chick lit, this is a great book to fill your day. Then pick up her book, Scot on the Rocks, because it’s a fave of mine and tell me what you think. You’ll put her on your auto-buy list, too.



3 thoughts on “Recipe for a Happy Life by Brenda Janowitz

  1. Rather Be Reading (@ReadingGals) March 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm Reply

    I loved this one so much. Going to look into your recommendation!

  2. […] Recipe for a Happy Life by Brenda Janowitz […]

  3. […] Recipe for a Happy Life by Brenda Janowitz […]

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