The Happiness Thief
She Writes Press
Published May 18, 2021
Amazon | Goodreads
This is a slow burn mystery/women’s fiction book with an ending you will not see coming. Natalie is trying to figure out the events of her past that make her what she is today. A car accident many years ago that killed her mother, and she feels guilty for. Another car accident in the present on an island getaway seems like more than her sister and the handsome stranger made it out to be. Is Natalie overreacting? Is she reliable? Natalie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth when things start to point to different circumstances than she remembers and she starts to remember what happened. Soon she might wish it all stayed in the past.
As I read it, I really did feel Natalie’s guilt from the past, but I struggled a little with her obsession. It’s as much about coming to terms with the grief and the past as it is with the mystery. I’m always a little leery of potentially spoiling a slow burn mystery with the wrong few words that tip the scales, but I will say that I kept reading because I was drawn in and wanted to know what happened and who was driving her search.
About The Book:
Forty-one-year-old Natalie Greene lost her mom and her childhood memories in a car crash two decades ago. What remains is a haunting feeling that she was responsible for her mother’s death. After her husband leaves for another woman, Natalie accompanies her famous stepsister, Isabel Walker (aka “The Happiness Guru”) on a retreat to the Cayman Islands. There, a late-night collision triggers Natalie’s long-buried trauma and a heightened sense of guilt.
Upon returning home to Boston, Natalie tries to settle back into her life as a food photographer and single mother to a teenage daughter―but then, one day, an anonymous email arrives about the Cayman accident that suggests foul play. In her search for the truth, Natalie must deal with a mix of fear, confusion, and suspects. With the help of Isabel and an attractive journalist, she uncovers a trail of deceit that begins on that deserted Caribbean road, circles back home, and ends in the most unexpected of places.
About The Author:
Nicole Bokat is the author of the novels Redeeming Eve and What Matters Most. Redeeming Eve was nominated for both the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction. She’s also published The Novels of Margaret Drabble: This Freudian Family Nexus. She received her PhD from New York University and has taught at NYU, Hunter College, and The New School. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Parents magazine, The Forward, and at More.com. She lives with her husband in New Jersey and has two grown sons.