Tuesday 2 January 2024

The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson #TheHappiestEverAfter @millyjohnson @simonschusterUK #RespectRomFic @TeamBATC #BookReview


Polly Potter is surviving, not thriving. She used to love her job – until her mentor died and her new boss decided to make her life hell. She used to love her partner Chris – until he cheated on her, and now she can’t forget. The only place where her life is working is on the pages of the novel she is writing – there she can create a feistier, bolder, more successful version of herself – as the ­fictional Sabrina Anderson.

But what if it was possible to start over again? To leave everything behind, forget all that went before, and live the life you’d always dreamed of?

After a set of unforeseen circumstances, Polly ends up believing she really IS Sabrina, living at the heart of a noisy Italian family restaurant by the sea. Run by Teddy, the son of her new landlady Marielle, it’s a much-loved place, facing threat of closure as a rival restaurant moves in next door. Sabrina can’t remember her life as Polly, but she knows she is living a different life from the one she used to have.

But what if this new life could belong to her after all?

The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson is published by Simon & Schuster on 15 February 2024. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I adore Milly Johnson's writing, she never fails to make me smile, pull on my heartstrings and ensures that I  laugh out loud in places. This is Milly's twenty-first novel (she has also written a novella and some digital-only books). I have no idea how she continues to create her amazing characters and satisfying plots but I'm really glad that she does. 

Polly Porter is fed up with life. Sidelined in her career by new management of a company that she's worked for for years and years, taken for granted and often ignored by her partner Chris.  She left him once, after he had an affair, but he still treats her like muck. Now she has the 'honour' of being a bridesmaid to Chris's totally overbearing sister when she and her husband renew their vows. The dress that has been chosen for Polly is drab, beige and far too big.  There are three things that keep Polly going; her step son Will who she really cares for, her secret creative writing class and the novel about Sabrina Anderson that she's working on and her plans to finally leave Chris ... she's going to do it as soon as the wedding is over. 

However, things don't go to plan and Polly makes her escape before the wedding actually begins, but it doesn't go smoothly. After an encounter with a thief and an episode involving a lost handbag and a bang on the head,  Polly ends up on the Yorkshire coast, living and working with a fabulous Italian family, and she really believes that she IS Sabrina - the lead character in her novel. Apart from her name, and a feeling of dread when she tries to remember her life, she cannot recall anything at all. 

Sabrina soon finds herself a huge part of the Bonnetti family. Marielle takes her in, and her son Teddy gives her a job. Every now and again Sabrina gives advice on how to make Teddy's restaurant better and more popular, she realises that she's a business analyst and when a rival chain of Italian restaurants announce that they are moving in next to Teddy's, she really starts to put her skills to work. 

As always, Milly's novel is full of Northern warmth and wit, I especially love the snippets from the Daily Trumpet - always apologising for mistakes in their paper, and always making it worse. There's a huge cast of characters here, from the loving Italian family, to the rogues who make a living in more 
nefarious ways. The sense of family is so strong, the tight bonds of friendships, especially between Marielle and her friends is wonderful and quite joyful. 

There's always something very special about a book from Milly Johnson and although her novel is full of joy, and lots of smiles, she doesn't shy away from serious issues either. There are some heart breaking and shocking reveals through out the story and these are dealt with so compassionately and with style. 

Another top notch read from a very favourite author. Highly recommended. 

Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. 

A Sunday Times bestseller, she is one of the Top 10 Female Fiction authors in the UK, and has sold millions of copies of her books sold across the world. 
The Happiest Ever After is her twenty-first novel.    
Milly's writing highlights the importance of community spirit and the magic of kindness. Her books inspire and uplift but she packs a punch and never shies away from the hard realities of life and the complexities of relationships in her stories. 
Her books champion women, their strength and resilience, and celebrate love, friendship and the possibility and joy of second chances and renaissances.

Milly's website is www.millyjohnson.co.uk
She is on X / Twitter as @millyjohnson 
Instagram as @themillyjohnson  and has a Facebook page @MillyJohnsonAuthor. She also has a monthly newsletter www.millyjohnson.co.uk/newsletter with exclusive, news, offers and competitions.

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