According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.
Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.
Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck’s The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.
I loved reading The Theory of Happily Ever After, a romantic comedy set on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Maggie Maguire looks like she has it all together. She’s a professor at UCLA, a scientific expert on happiness, and she is the author of a NYT bestselling book, The Science of Bliss. In reality, Maggie is a hot mess after being dumped by her fiancé who is now marrying a young and pretty acrobat. Maggie has taken an unauthorised two month sabbatical where she’s hiding out in her L.A. apartment watching Hallmark romance movies, eating ice cream, and borrowing a cat from somewhere.
Maggie’s next contracted book is due soon, and she hasn’t started writing it. Maggie’s friends, Haley (her publicist), and Kathleen stage an intervention. They drag Maggie to Galveston, Texas, for a New Year, New You singles cruise where Maggie has speaking engagements booked, her face plastered all over the ship, and her new publisher onboard.
The cruise is LOL hilarious with crazy romantic situations, combined with Maggie’s impulsiveness and interesting social skills, creating chaos. She boards the ship and meets Sam, the attractive brother of her publisher who tells her upfront that he thinks her happiness theories are junk science. And then she meets the bartender, Brent, a restaurateur from Texas who’s happy-go-lucky and intent on having fun all the time.
The story is in first person point of view from Maggie’s perspective, and I appreciated the faith thread that underpinned the story. I recommend The Theory of Happily Ever After to contemporary romance readers who like romcoms with depth and a relevant faith element in the story.