I purchased The Sweet Life, the first book of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Cape Cod Creamery series last spring, but didn’t actually read it until this January. I’m almost glad I waited because that meant book 2, The Secret to Happiness was right around the corner. And I couldn’t wait. I can’t tell you how many times I searched for it on Netgalley, and then cheered when it was finally posted. Such a great book. I’ve yet to be disappointed by her contemporary fiction works.
The Secret to Happiness releases May 2nd
Fired from her dream job after making a huge mistake, Callie Dixon lands at her aunt’s Cape Cod ice cream shop, hoping that in time, she’ll bounce back. But she made that mistake for a reason that time won’t help. When her cousin drags her to a class on happiness, the instructor–curiously gloomy and demanding–has a way of turning her feelings upside down.
What is the secret to happiness? Does it even exist? And if so, where can we find it? That’s what Callie Dixon was looking for when her cousin Dawn dragged her to The Secret to Happiness class one Saturday morning in Chatham, MA (Dawn’s way of trying to “fix” Callie and knock her out of her depressive state). All Callie was interested in was a quick answer, the one thing that would finally make her…happy.
But it wasn’t just a quick, snap-your-fingers answer, and it couldn’t be found in just one thing. Throughout this story, Callie was taken on a journey to find what she was looking for.
And she had the help of some pretty great characters, some who graced the pages of the first book in the Cape Cod Creamery series, and a couple of new ones.
Callie arrived at the Main Street Creamery after losing her job as an executive chef when she poisoned the entire Food Safety Conference. An accident? Perhaps. When she first arrived at the ice cream shop and home of her aunt and cousin, she took to her air mattress in Dawn’s tiny bedroom and refused to move. But with a little (read: HUGE) nudge from Dawn, she showered, dressed, and landed in the front row of that Saturday morning class.
The Secret to Happiness focused on a few POVs: Callie’s, Dawn’s, and (Aunt) Marnie’s, with the main focus on Callie’s story. Callie’s was my favorite to read, and at times I just wanted to get done with the other two to get back to hers, especially when it was Dawn’s. I did appreciate Marnie’s perspective, her take on what was going on with Callie (and her own life), but I struggled with Dawn’s which made it a little bumpy in my reading enjoyment (a personal issue, I can assure you).
Sweet, sweet Leo. The little cowboy from book one made his return in book two and filled Callie’s heart. I loved watching the two of them interact with each other, with Leo blowing in and out as quickly as the wind. And with her love for Leo, Callie began to pepper him with questions about his parents. I appreciated this as I had wondered about them in the first book.
Bruno Bianco was introduced this time around, and I took to him rather quickly. He was the author of the book inside the book, The Secret to Happiness, and the instructor for the class. Callie wondered about him throughout their interactions, and I was right there with her. What was his story? Though to be honest, I did predict a few things….
When I first met Callie, I will say she was…okay. I found myself siding with Dawn’s assessment of her because it was what I had to go on. But once I got to know her more, I found myself loving that girl, hurting for her, rooting for her. If I could give her a giant hug, I would.
Suzanne Woods Fisher did a wonderful job walking the reader through the thoughts and emotions of a girl who was hurting for who knew how long. It was a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery, of taking off the expectations of the world and leaning into what was true and right.
And with that came a faith in God just as true, just as good. Marnie and Bruno were Callie’s lifeline to God, someone she didn’t have time for, someone she never really gave a second thought to. But as I always say, God is good, and He works in mysterious ways.
I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a slow romance, quirky characters, and tough questions. This story focuses on self-worth, depression, anxiety, and grief, to name a few. The Secret to Happiness could be read on its own as the author does a quick catch-up at different times, but honestly, I would start with the first book, The Sweet Life before diving into this one. You won’t want to miss how the Main Street Creamery came to be.
I received a copy of The Secret to Happiness by Suzanne Woods Fisher thanks to Revell and NetGalley. Opinions are my own.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher wrote her first novel in sixth grade, about Pompeii, a dog, and the erupting volcano (terrible ending!) and, from that point on, she was hooked on the writing life. Curiously, she doesn’t remember anyone, ever, telling her she was a talented writer. She just loved to write. (And she worked hard at the craft. She still does.)
College happened, work, then marriage, children, a sprinkling of corporate transfers, and Suzanne kept plugging away at freelancing for several magazines. (Four kids = lots of great material.)
As her children headed off to college, Suzanne had the time to get serious about writing. She wrote a little World War II love story, Copper Star, which was published by Vinspire, a small royalty press. The novel won some awards, and it also caught the eye of a wonderful agent. And that’s when things started to happen.
Joyce Hart of the Hartline Literary Agency knew of an editor at Revell Books who was looking for an author who had a genuine connection to the Plain People. Knowing that Suzanne’s grandfather was raised Plain, Joyce connected her to that editor. The result was Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a finalist for the ECPA Book of the Year.
Thirty-some books later (in a variety of genres—historical fiction, contemporary women’s, and Amish fiction), Suzanne is still writing for that same editor at Revell Books. And she still loves to write.
Book #1 in the Cape Cod Creamery series
Three Sisters Island series