Happiness for Beginners
Molly Baker is living her best life.Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There's Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven't thrived in mainstream education. It's full on, but she wouldn't have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn't fazed.But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there's the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of - could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?

Happiness for Beginners Details

TitleHappiness for Beginners
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 21st, 2019
PublisherSphere
ISBN-139780751572100
Rating
GenreRomance, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Fiction, Contemporary

Happiness for Beginners Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    I have never read a Carole Matthews novel before, and I only chose to read this when I saw how well it was being received by so many readers. I have to admit that I struggled to get into it at the beginning when it crossed my mind that this was not going to be for me, but it was not long before everything changed. It grabbed hold of me and never let go until before I knew it, it was the end of the book. This is a delightful read, funny, witty, with bags full of heart and overflowing with charm. I have never read a Carole Matthews novel before, and I only chose to read this when I saw how well it was being received by so many readers. I have to admit that I struggled to get into it at the beginning when it crossed my mind that this was not going to be for me, but it was not long before everything changed. It grabbed hold of me and never let go until before I knew it, it was the end of the book. This is a delightful read, funny, witty, with bags full of heart and overflowing with charm. 38 year old Molly Baker is a misfit, a loner, shy, running Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, which she inherited from her beloved Aunt Hettie, now dead, but still desperately missed by Molly. The animals on her farm are the real stars here, unwanted, damaged, missing limbs, with attitude and health issues, all taken in by Molly who loves them to pieces. Molly's life is pared down to the basics, she lives in a dilapidated and ancient caravan, has no TV, her life revolves around running the farm, trying to make ends meet financially, but never succeeding. She runs the farm as an alternative school for those children that mainstream education cannot cope with, those with behavioural and learning difficulties, autism, and more. The children respond to the animals, taking care of them, learning to bond with other children, develop self esteem and confidence that has sadly been lacking in their lives. Helping Molly run and maintain the farm are the offbeat and capable Bev and the retired taciturn Alan. Shelby Dacre is the famous good looking celebrity soap star playing a farmer in a long running series. He is at the end of his tether, unable to cope with his son, Lucas, thrown out of school with a penchant for arson. He is hoping that Molly can reach and connect with Lucas when he cannot. Molly finds a troubled teen, having lost his mother, drowning in grief, getting barely any attention from his father. Lucas worms his way into Molly's heart, and despite their different lives, she begins to hanker after Shelby, surely she is setting herself up for inevitable heartbreak? Meanwhile, Molly's farm, her home, the school and the animals face being closed down for good. Become acquainted and entranced with Tina Turner, Rod Stewart and Johnny Rotten, the obstreperous trio of alpacas, the aggressive and anti-social sheep, one legged chickens, the pygmy goats and more. This is a fabulously entertaining read from an author who is a natural storyteller. I am thinking there will not be many readers who will be able to resist this novel! Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
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  • Rachel Gilbey
    January 1, 1970
    Always a happy day when I am able to read a new book by Carole Matthews, and Happiness for Beginners was a joy to read. Mollie introduces us to Hope Farm and what they do there, plus all the animals and their back stories over the first few chapters, in such a chatty style you feel like she is talking directly to you. And what fabulous place Hope Farm is, with its assortment of animals all with their own distinct personalities. And then there is the school aspect of what they do there, as its no Always a happy day when I am able to read a new book by Carole Matthews, and Happiness for Beginners was a joy to read. Mollie introduces us to Hope Farm and what they do there, plus all the animals and their back stories over the first few chapters, in such a chatty style you feel like she is talking directly to you. And what fabulous place Hope Farm is, with its assortment of animals all with their own distinct personalities. And then there is the school aspect of what they do there, as its not a farm in the traditional sense, rather a place where troubled teens who have most likely been excluded from schools, can learn practical skills and become more independent and more from helping to take care of the animals. And this really is a delight for all animal lovers, I'm not sure I could pick a favourite, but Fifty the sheep that thinks its anything else, the Shetland pony that is allergic to its own hair and Teacup the pig that is rather larger than its name all have soft spots for me. The story focuses on one pupil and his recently widowed father, and Lucas couldn't help but get under my skin. Such a lovely boy, just misunderstood. In some respects this feels quite different from Carole Matthews' other books, possibly due to the setting, but equally it has everything you would expect to see from her too, all mixed into one amazing book. Thank you to Sphere and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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  • Lizzie Lamb
    January 1, 1970
    One thing I like about this author's books is that they come with an inbuilt 'feel good factor'. Secondly, I like the slightly older heroines she portrays - ladies who have given up on finding love and happiness and then - wham - it finds them. This book is no exception. It also has the added bonus of farm animals with attitude (good and bad), an assistant whose t-shirts keep the heroine and her sidekick guessing (nice touch) and a to-di-for-hero in the form of Shelby. Factor in children with le One thing I like about this author's books is that they come with an inbuilt 'feel good factor'. Secondly, I like the slightly older heroines she portrays - ladies who have given up on finding love and happiness and then - wham - it finds them. This book is no exception. It also has the added bonus of farm animals with attitude (good and bad), an assistant whose t-shirts keep the heroine and her sidekick guessing (nice touch) and a to-di-for-hero in the form of Shelby. Factor in children with learning difficulties, Lucas - still grieving for his dead mother and the fact that the government has decided to drive a high speed Trainline straight through the farm and you have many nail biting/page turning moments. I am now going to read all the Carole Matthew's books I've missed (I was a late beginner) starting with 'Platform 8' and my happiness will be complete.
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  • Meg Dean
    January 1, 1970
    Every single time I review a Carole Matthews book I say "this is her best one yet, it doesn't get better" and every single time she replies with "hold my tea"! I swear this woman is the QUEEN of #ChickLit!!!Carole has taken a lovely, quirky rom-com and added animal antics galore!!!Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!!!100 STARS!!!
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Such an endearing story! Happiness For Beginners is a fun romp through a wonderful world. The animals are awesome. The humans are loveable and real. It's an all around warm blanket read. If you want to smile, read this book. You will not be disappointed. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoy Carole Matthews novels, I haven't read many but the ones in which I have read have been really enjoyable and easy to read. This one really stuck out for me and I was so eager to read more about Molly and of course about Shelby and Lucas. I absolutely loved the idea of Molly working at a farm where they've all been rescued, that made my heart sing and my eyes water but it was really very lovely to read.The cover is so beautiful and very Spring-like. It certainly catches your eye wi I really enjoy Carole Matthews novels, I haven't read many but the ones in which I have read have been really enjoyable and easy to read. This one really stuck out for me and I was so eager to read more about Molly and of course about Shelby and Lucas. I absolutely loved the idea of Molly working at a farm where they've all been rescued, that made my heart sing and my eyes water but it was really very lovely to read.The cover is so beautiful and very Spring-like. It certainly catches your eye with the bright yellow background and I just adore the little flowers dotted around the cover, and the writing is really pretty! I also love Molly's little caravan, it's so quaint and cute! Overall, it makes for a really stunningly beautiful cover and I really, really like it.What I enjoy with Carole Matthews, is that she gives a brilliant back story and I feel like by the time the third chapter comes around, we know so much about the main character and we know quite a bit about the secondary characters too. So already, right at the start of the novel we can really relate to those characters and I find that that works really well and helps you settle into the book easier and quicker as well. The setting of this novel also sounded so idyllic, I'd love to live somewhere where you never tire of the view and have all the animals and fields.The whole book went so quickly for me, even though it took me a while to read it, I loved every page, not wanting it to stop. I loved Molly's character, she was so easy to relate to and I loved her chilled out vibes. Bev was also a funny one for me, I found myself laughing out loud at some of her quips about Shelby Dacre - and then of course what happens at the Hope Farm Festival with Alan had me laughing too! I also really felt for Lucas, he seemed so lost and misunderstood. I loved reading about the animals, such as Tina Turner the alpaca, I absolutely adored Anthony the Sheep and of course Little Dog (I also loved how they were called Little Dog and Big Dog!).Overall, this was amazingly written and I'll go as far as to say that this was possibly my favourite Carole Matthews' novels to date. It was fun, heart-warming and overall just an easy read. Thank you to the publisher for a chance to read this novel via Netgalley, which I have read and reviewed honestly.
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  • Lisa M
    January 1, 1970
    I have long been a fan of Carole Matthews' novels and this did not disappoint. Molly lives on a farm with literally all shapes and sizes of animals, to say it is her passion would be an understatement and I loved reading about the quirks of all the animals - they each had their own definite character and there was a lot of humour relating to them that had me chuckling along!Molly has thrown open the farm doors to young people with either special needs, mental health or behavioural issues and thi I have long been a fan of Carole Matthews' novels and this did not disappoint. Molly lives on a farm with literally all shapes and sizes of animals, to say it is her passion would be an understatement and I loved reading about the quirks of all the animals - they each had their own definite character and there was a lot of humour relating to them that had me chuckling along!Molly has thrown open the farm doors to young people with either special needs, mental health or behavioural issues and this is a concept I think so very highly of. The young people are given various farm tasks such as egg collecting or grooming the Shetland ponies. I have always thought animals have a calming influence on people and so this was a very believable storyline and thoroughly enjoyable reading about the, often misunderstood, young people.TV star Sheldon brings his son Lucas along to the farm to try and get him to open up more following the death of Lucas' mum which has distanced him from Sheldon. Along the way sparks fly between Sheldon and Molly and I adored their romance which was a real slow-burner however I actually enjoyed reading more about the relationship between Molly and Lucas which was ridiculously heartwarming!I appreciated the writing style as it's written in first person from Molly's perspective and she chats to the reader along the way which was very engaging!My many thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK via NetGalley for providing me with this advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Frenchorchidea
    January 1, 1970
    What a delight to read this book! I was so happy to read the new Carole Matthews! Carole is one of my all time favorite author. When I pick up a book from her, I know in advance that I will have a great time and this time wasn't an exception, I had a wonderful time! one of the things I love about Carole Matthews books is that there aren't two books from her that are alike. The stories are always so different from one another. Carole Matthews has such a creativity and imagination! I love that! Th What a delight to read this book! I was so happy to read the new Carole Matthews! Carole is one of my all time favorite author. When I pick up a book from her, I know in advance that I will have a great time and this time wasn't an exception, I had a wonderful time! one of the things I love about Carole Matthews books is that there aren't two books from her that are alike. The stories are always so different from one another. Carole Matthews has such a creativity and imagination! I love that! This time the story takes place in a farm with all kind of animals but also kids who have some difficulties in life and that learn how to reinserate themselves back in the society. It was the first time for me to read a chicklit book where the main character lives in a caravan with no shower and who always have her fingers dirty. I loved that! Also and of course ;-) there is some romance in the book and this lovely story a touch of magic. I recommend this book!!!
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  • Kirsty Oughton
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a fan of Carole’s books for a while and I have never been disappointed. I was over the moon to be approved to read ‘Happiness for Beginners’ I absolutely love the cover of this book. It’s interesting and of course bright. It gives you an insight as to what it’s about and hooks you in before you even start reading the first chapter. The narrative is so easy to read, it flows and I love the short snappy chapters. This makes it easier to put down when I had to! I would just always made I have been a fan of Carole’s books for a while and I have never been disappointed. I was over the moon to be approved to read ‘Happiness for Beginners’ I absolutely love the cover of this book. It’s interesting and of course bright. It gives you an insight as to what it’s about and hooks you in before you even start reading the first chapter. The narrative is so easy to read, it flows and I love the short snappy chapters. This makes it easier to put down when I had to! I would just always made sure I finished a chapter before putting it down (reluctantly) It was different to see how Carole introduced the main character Molly by explaining the back strory of Hope Farm. It gave you a good background and to imagine the farm in your mind. I would certainly love love to meet those crazy animals. I was drawn to Molly’s character especially. She’s clearly an introverted person and I hoped that would change in some ways throughout the story - I know you can’t change a person completely however everyone has an affect on each other in some way or another. Molly’s connection to every single animal on Hope Farm is very special, also how she took over the farm from her aunt and built it up to help others, she just wants to care! I found some parts very amusing especially the alpaca incident (will let you all find out about that one!) Other parts were sad, though I won’t mention those as I will get emotional all over again. You end up really pulling for relationships to be mended and even formed. I was convinced that I just didn’t know how this story was going to end. Will Hope Farm succeed? Will love come into Molly’s life and stay there? You will have to read Carole’s latest creation to find out. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Happiness for Beginners’ and I will certainly be reading it again when it is published in February 2019. I give it a deserving 5*/5* 😀
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  • Isabella
    January 1, 1970
    I know I keep saying so, but since I bought my very first Carole Matthews’ novel nearly 20 years ago it’s been a crescendo of laughter, emotions, tears, more laughter, more emotions and yes, more tears (mainly tears of joy, I hasten to add). Hers are captivating, beautifully written stories that you can’t possibly put down until you reach the end (and usually leaving you with a strong will to go to the first page and start all over again).Happiness for Beginners is no exception and it had me up I know I keep saying so, but since I bought my very first Carole Matthews’ novel nearly 20 years ago it’s been a crescendo of laughter, emotions, tears, more laughter, more emotions and yes, more tears (mainly tears of joy, I hasten to add). Hers are captivating, beautifully written stories that you can’t possibly put down until you reach the end (and usually leaving you with a strong will to go to the first page and start all over again).Happiness for Beginners is no exception and it had me up until the small hours for a couple of days until I reached the final page.With her trademark positive approach to life and to its ups and downs, the author tells us the story of a quirky and well assorted group of characters (and I’m not only talking about the humans here. Animals do become characters themselves and I dare you not to fall in love with them all) through the voice of the protagonist. I can promise you you’re in a for a fantastic read. The positivity and the optimism radiating from this book (make that all of her books) should be bottled and prescribed when in need of a tonic for the soul.As a Carole Matthews’ fan I was beyond happy and beyond grateful when I was granted access to a review copy of Happiness for Beginners on NetGalley for which I thank the publisher, the author and NetGalley .
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  • Akcherrybomb
    January 1, 1970
    Molly felt like a kindred spirit as feel she is holds all the values I love of putting her animals first and taking in any waif and strays... Animal and human form! She lives in an old caravan wit no TV, no social media and it actually sounds bliss! Her relationship with Lucas was interesting to see develop but I could see straight away who her love interest was going to be. Loved the animals as felt we got to know their personalities - especially Anthony! Baa! Lovely book, easy read, if you lik Molly felt like a kindred spirit as feel she is holds all the values I love of putting her animals first and taking in any waif and strays... Animal and human form! She lives in an old caravan wit no TV, no social media and it actually sounds bliss! Her relationship with Lucas was interesting to see develop but I could see straight away who her love interest was going to be. Loved the animals as felt we got to know their personalities - especially Anthony! Baa! Lovely book, easy read, if you like Carole Matthews other books then this has a is similar kind of feel.Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Aimee Walker Editorial
    January 1, 1970
    Another heart warming tale from Carole Matthews. Exactly the kind of escapism I needed this week – heading to bed with Happiness for Beginners at the end of a stressful day was blissful. Molly has been fighting to keep her Hope Farm afloat for years. Not only does she look after her animals but she takes special needs children under her wing and changes their lives for the better. When the farm comes under threat Molly has to learn to let other people help her and even starts to enjoy it.If you Another heart warming tale from Carole Matthews. Exactly the kind of escapism I needed this week – heading to bed with Happiness for Beginners at the end of a stressful day was blissful. Molly has been fighting to keep her Hope Farm afloat for years. Not only does she look after her animals but she takes special needs children under her wing and changes their lives for the better. When the farm comes under threat Molly has to learn to let other people help her and even starts to enjoy it.If you love Carole's other books you won't be disappointed. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Shirley
    January 1, 1970
    I was so thrilled to be excepted to read Happiness for Beginners, Carole Matthews is my favourite author and have loved everyone of her books.Happiness for Beginners is such a beautifully written story set in Hope Farm, I absolutely fell in love with Molly, Shelby and Lucas everything about this book was just perfect and is a highly recommended read.
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    Happiness for beginners, this book is happiness ! Such a joyful happy read tha makes you feel good and happy. I loved Molly and Lucas so much and Shelby grew on me, but I am a sucker for a happy ending. Such a lovely tale, a brilliant pick me up in January blues time. Highly recommended Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    A truly wonderful heart-warming story containing all the best ingredients - love, self-discovery, animals and friendship. A springtime must read for anyone looking for that ‘hallmark’ fuzzy feeling.
  • Gem ~ Bee
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful book that is very character led and truly heartfelt. Perfect if you love animals.Full review featured on my blog shortly.
  • Becka
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like this book but I always feel distanced from the story when it's written in first person. It prevents me from getting really stuck in. A nice read but it could have been better with a different narrative.
  • Chrys
    January 1, 1970
    A nice light read, but I was frustrated at the lack of depth. I really didn't feel like I got to know any of the characters properly, apart from Lucas who was great. I felt that the Alan and Bev storyline was most frustrating, very shallow. But on the whole I enjoyed the story.
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  • Agi
    January 1, 1970
    Molly Baker is a shy, single and also lovely and welcoming woman, running Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, which she inherited from her beloved Aunt Hettie. It doesn't bother her that she lives in an ancient caravan, with neither TV not shower, the main thing is that her animals and students are happy. Students - because the farm is also an alternative school for children with learning difficulties, autism, behavioural problems. One of the new students, Lucas, finds a way to Molly's heart - his fat Molly Baker is a shy, single and also lovely and welcoming woman, running Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, which she inherited from her beloved Aunt Hettie. It doesn't bother her that she lives in an ancient caravan, with neither TV not shower, the main thing is that her animals and students are happy. Students - because the farm is also an alternative school for children with learning difficulties, autism, behavioural problems. One of the new students, Lucas, finds a way to Molly's heart - his father finds this way as well but because of their totally different life styles it's a recipe for a guaranteed heartbreak, right? Also, Molly's farm, that is so much more to her than only a farm, it's her home, a place to live and to bring happiness, is facing being closed down for good. Will she manage to save the farm and her heart?I haven't mentioned any lovely covers lately and this one deserves a standing ovation. It's gorgeous, and I love this beautiful yellow colour - you can feel spring in the air only by looking at this cover, and the little flowers dotted around are so lovely. And it is as uplifting and full of warmth as the book itself.I loved Hope Farm, it was simply my kind of heaven, even with all of its inconveniences. OK, I'd maybe need a TV and a good internet connection but I so could live with the rest, just like Molly. I know it is said one shouldn't work with children and animals but I work with both and I am still going, so it can't be that bad, right, and so I immediately connected with Molly and could resonate with her on all levels. I also feel the best in my wellies and I always smell of dogs and horses treats. The assortment of animal at the farm was absolutely perfect, and their personalities were very, very well captured by the author. But Hope Farm was not only about animals, and here comes the great idea - it was to help children who couldn't find help anywhere else, it was their last chance saloon - they, usually already excluded from schools, could come to the farm and learn how to be around animals, some practical skills as well, and also learn from animals and about them being so good at simply being there. I totally loved all of the animals on the farm, they were all so special, and well, yes, it weren't only the pupils that had problems but the animals as well. The children react to animals, learn to bond with them, to open to them and to develop the so much needed self confidence, and it was incredibly important for them, and it was really well described by the author.I immediately fell for Molly. Immediately. Her love and passion to the things she has devoted herself to was overwhelming and palpable. She really knows what her animals of all shapes and sizes need, and her students as well. She was so chilled and relaxed and I really could get her reluctance to engage with other people. Her side - kicks Bev and Alan were also special, absolutely loveable and it was impossible not to like them. The story is told from Molly's point of view and her narration is flowing, it's chatty and honest, and the short chapters are what I really like in Carole Matthews' books.I always appreciate the fact that Carole Matthews tries to touch upon more serious issues in her books as well, of course with this gentle touch of humour. This time she's factoring children with learning difficulties and dealing with grief - through Lucas, still grieving for his dead mother, feeling neglected by his father, lonely and mobbed at school. Molly tries to come through to Lucas, get him to open up and quickly she finds herself involved not only in his life but also this of his father's, the famous soap opera actor Shelby Dacre. The relationship between Molly and Lucas, and actually between Molly and all of her charges, was so genuine and heart-warming and it was a real pleasure to read about them.Even though you know from the very beginning that the book is going to end with a happy end, it is still full of moments that are going to make your heart stop beating, and you're going to keep everything crossed for Molly and her charges. Because - of course - life is not a bed of roses for Molly and her farm, and she's struggling financially, but there is also one small problem of finding a new place for the farm. Why? Read for yourself, you're really going to fall for Molly and Hope Farm.This book would be perfect if it weren't so slow. I loved this story, and the characters - it was warm, funny and uplifting but not too sappy but I had a feeling that it doesn't move, that we stay in one place, that the one idea has been taken and written on thousand different ways. As much as I enjoyed reading it, I simply wished for something to happen, for something refreshing to arrive and take us by surprise. And this time I missed the depth a little.However, altogether, "The Happiness for Beginners" was a funny, uplifting and overflowing with charm story, full of the feel - good factor that I know I can expect from Ms Matthews's books. Carole Matthews is simply a natural storyteller. She has a way with words and she describes her characters in such a way that you quickly feel like knowing them all since childhood, and not only the main characters, but also the secondary ones as well. She makes them relatable, genuine and realistic. The book was emotional, it was funny and poignant at the same time, a great mix of laughter, tears, emotions and feelings. You won't want to miss it!Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Claire Mc Partlin
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very enjoyable story set around Hope Farm, a wonderful place that caters for children needing a bit of extra help due to various issues that stops them from conforming to the 'norm' in mainstream education, and a whole lot of animals full of character!Molly runs the farm, with help from Bev and Alan. Her aunt, who took Molly in when she was young, used to run it. Then as her aunt got older Molly was helping out more and more, and then when her aunt eventually died Molly just continued This was a very enjoyable story set around Hope Farm, a wonderful place that caters for children needing a bit of extra help due to various issues that stops them from conforming to the 'norm' in mainstream education, and a whole lot of animals full of character!Molly runs the farm, with help from Bev and Alan. Her aunt, who took Molly in when she was young, used to run it. Then as her aunt got older Molly was helping out more and more, and then when her aunt eventually died Molly just continued living and working there, in the caravan they both lived in on the farm, as there is no house.The story mainly revolves around Lucas and his soap-star father, Shelby, and how their lives start getting closer as Molly helps Lucas overcome his anger with his father, and life in general. But the animals are the main stars, they have all been donated to the farm as they also have issues and no-one else wanted them, amongst them ex-police Shire horses who are afraid of their own shadow, a sheep that thinks he's a dog, and the very grumpy and naughty Anthony the sheep, to mention a few. They are all absolutely delightful and really made the story!Of course there's always a glitch, and this time it's that horrible HS2 train line going through Hope Farm and Molly has to find a new home as she is being evicted in 90 days, which she really struggles with, until Shelby comes to her rescue.As I also live in Buckinghamshire near the route that awful train is taking I completely agree with Carole, who makes good use of this book to underline the atrocious way 'people in power' are ripping homes and land away from people, all to shave a few minutes off a train journey that a lot of people won't be able to afford to go on anyway. Absolutely appalling, they should be really ashamed of themselves. Some families have passed their houses and land down generations, but it will all be demolished. But of course those 'people in power' making the decisions won't be affected, it won't be their homes that are being bulldozed for 'progress'. Sorry, rant over, but it just really makes my blood boil the way they are decimating the English countryside and throwing people out of their homes with their compulsory purchase orders.The book itself is really lovely (nothing happens to any of the animals!) and Molly and Shelby, and Lucas eventually, develop a wonderful relationship. A real feel-good book that I thoroughly recommend.
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  • Joanne D'Arcy
    January 1, 1970
    The latest novel from Carole Matthews is full of so much joy, hope and happiness that the book could almost be a self-help one!Molly lives on Hope Farm, inherited from her Aunt when she died. Molly has no one in her life, a disruptive childhood meant she spent a lot of time at Hope Farm and was at her best when it was just her, the animals and nature.There is something special about this farm - it gives hope and inevitably happiness. All of the animals need that bit extra attention. Whether it b The latest novel from Carole Matthews is full of so much joy, hope and happiness that the book could almost be a self-help one!Molly lives on Hope Farm, inherited from her Aunt when she died. Molly has no one in her life, a disruptive childhood meant she spent a lot of time at Hope Farm and was at her best when it was just her, the animals and nature.There is something special about this farm - it gives hope and inevitably happiness. All of the animals need that bit extra attention. Whether it be a skittish alpaca, a one-legged chicken, or a sheep with a chip on its shoulder. They are all animals who would have been written off and forgotten.The same could be said for the children that also come to Hope Farm, because Molly has turned this place into a last chance saloon for children who have exhausted all traditional forms of educating and in some ways the system has failed them. Interacting with the animals seems to bring them a whole different perspective with some school work thrown in for good measure.That is until Lucas turns up at Molly's door. Neglected by his father, the well-known television actor Shelby Dacre. Lucas is a handful and one of the most reluctant of students, but when you stand in the shadow of a very handsome father perhaps Lucas behaviour is the only way to get his father's attention.Molly is struck by Lucas more than any of the other children and finds a place in her heart for him. He thrives on the farm but when that is threatened it looks like Molly and all her waifs and strays are going to have to go their separate ways.This is such a joyous book from beginning to end. The author throws you straight into life on the farm, to the problems of the children and the basic life that Molly leads. I wanted to dive into the pages and be part of the farm, to help those kids find some sort of purpose in life and to enjoy being in nature and living perhaps a less gilded life than that of Shelby Dacre.I loved it and would recommend it for anyone who needs to have a bit of sunshine and happiness in their life!
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Molly runs Hope Farm giving homes to anti-social sheep, alpacas with attitude, definitely-not-miniature pigs and offers alternative education to kids who haven't blossomed in mainstream schools. A distractingly handsome Shelby Dacre turns up hoping to enrol his wayward son, Lucas. Molly isn't fazed and immediately accepts him as a student but soon she realises Lucas is more of a handful than she predicted, has she made terrible mistake or can everyone find a second chance at Hope Farm? This nove Molly runs Hope Farm giving homes to anti-social sheep, alpacas with attitude, definitely-not-miniature pigs and offers alternative education to kids who haven't blossomed in mainstream schools. A distractingly handsome Shelby Dacre turns up hoping to enrol his wayward son, Lucas. Molly isn't fazed and immediately accepts him as a student but soon she realises Lucas is more of a handful than she predicted, has she made terrible mistake or can everyone find a second chance at Hope Farm? This novel is irresistibly quirky, funny and absolutely jam packed with heart! Join Molly and the cast of dysfunctional but lovable characters on the farm that gives them purpose, joy and a sense of community. The antics the animals get up will have you giggling in no time. When the farm is threatened with closure Molly needs all the help she can get making sure that it doesn't happen. Molly has a full on life and doesn't have time for to fall in love but her heart has other ideas... curl up with a cuppa and treat yourself to Matthews at her very best, this is feel-good fiction at it's finest I didn't want it to end! Thanks to NetGalley & Little Brown Book Group UK for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
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  • Sara Oxton
    January 1, 1970
    Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews a five-star read you will want to start from the beginning as it’s just so good. This may just be the best comedy I will read in 2019, it has everything drama, funnies and a hot male love interest who you want to punch on quite a few occasions. I really mean it, this story has it all from some of the cutest/creepiest animals that will make you aaawww to the greatest of teenagers (complete with tantrums) who will make your heart sink so far that you will Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews a five-star read you will want to start from the beginning as it’s just so good. This may just be the best comedy I will read in 2019, it has everything drama, funnies and a hot male love interest who you want to punch on quite a few occasions. I really mean it, this story has it all from some of the cutest/creepiest animals that will make you aaawww to the greatest of teenagers (complete with tantrums) who will make your heart sink so far that you will sob like a teenager who just had their heart broken for the first time. Hope Farm is an amazing place and I only wish that there were more places like this in real life. This is one of those stories that will stay with you. Carole Matthews has a talent for writing that few will ever match, this story is one that will draw you in and make you envision that you are in a field in Buckinghamshire with a sheep on the rampage and a couple of cute shetlands with horns.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I love Carole Matthews books and was really excited to receive an email about the upcoming release of this book. The eye catching book cover won me over and I loved that it was based on a farm and I was excited to get stuck in. Happiness for Beginners is a light hearted and humorous read that took me on a journey away from the bleak winter weather. From the first page this book pulled me in and didn't let go until the very last page. A fantastic story about the lovely Hope Farm with some brillia I love Carole Matthews books and was really excited to receive an email about the upcoming release of this book. The eye catching book cover won me over and I loved that it was based on a farm and I was excited to get stuck in. Happiness for Beginners is a light hearted and humorous read that took me on a journey away from the bleak winter weather. From the first page this book pulled me in and didn't let go until the very last page. A fantastic story about the lovely Hope Farm with some brilliantly quirky animals and the lovely Molly who wants to help children who don't necessarily sit within the normal behavioural constraints and rules of school. I loved this book and whilst reading it I became more and more emotionally invested in Molly, I love a book that triggers my emotions and makes me relate to the characters on an emotional level. 
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and initially requested it based upon the description. It sounded interesting and like something that I could relate to due to my professional career. Unfortunately, this was not one of my favorite reads. I thought there was too much detail about all the animals early on. I had great difficulty moving past that to gain any interest in getting to know the characters. It was a struggle for me to finish this story. However, this was my first book by I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and initially requested it based upon the description. It sounded interesting and like something that I could relate to due to my professional career. Unfortunately, this was not one of my favorite reads. I thought there was too much detail about all the animals early on. I had great difficulty moving past that to gain any interest in getting to know the characters. It was a struggle for me to finish this story. However, this was my first book by Carole and at some point down the road I’d like to try reading a different book that she has written. Also, I was glad to see fellow readers that enjoyed the book based upon their own reviews of this novel.
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  • Claire Watson
    January 1, 1970
    If you want a fantastic feel good read then Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews is definitely for you. It follows the story of Molly who runs Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire. It’s a refuge for waifs and strays including Anthony the angry sheep, high maintenance alpacas and a pony that’s allergic to its own hair. It also offers local children with special needs or those who’ve been excluded from school to spend their days at an alternative school. Add in a dashing actor and his wayward son an If you want a fantastic feel good read then Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews is definitely for you. It follows the story of Molly who runs Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire. It’s a refuge for waifs and strays including Anthony the angry sheep, high maintenance alpacas and a pony that’s allergic to its own hair. It also offers local children with special needs or those who’ve been excluded from school to spend their days at an alternative school. Add in a dashing actor and his wayward son and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect book.Thank you to NetGalley, Little, Brown Book Group and the author for the chance to review.
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  • Christine Galletly
    January 1, 1970
    Review will be live on donnasbookblog on publication day - 21st February 2019!This was another great read from Carole Matthews - she never disappoints!It is a heart-warming and touching storyline.It had great attention to detail and was a real page turner for me, I was addicted to the story and couldn't wait to see how it would all end for the characters!The book has strong and well developed characters that were easy relate too and I warmed to them from the outset.5 stars from me - very highly Review will be live on donnasbookblog on publication day - 21st February 2019!This was another great read from Carole Matthews - she never disappoints!It is a heart-warming and touching storyline.It had great attention to detail and was a real page turner for me, I was addicted to the story and couldn't wait to see how it would all end for the characters!The book has strong and well developed characters that were easy relate too and I warmed to them from the outset.5 stars from me - very highly recommended and can't wait for her next book!
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  • Sinead
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to be approved by NetGalley to review this book. This is such a good, heart warming read. Having grown up on a farm, I love how realistically Matthews shows life on the farm and how important the animals are no matter what else is going on. I loved the maternal relationship between Molly and Lucas. Not many romance novels deal with this sort of relationship, and I could feel the love she had for Lucas leap off the page. If you’re looking for a nice, heartfelt read - this is th I was lucky enough to be approved by NetGalley to review this book. This is such a good, heart warming read. Having grown up on a farm, I love how realistically Matthews shows life on the farm and how important the animals are no matter what else is going on. I loved the maternal relationship between Molly and Lucas. Not many romance novels deal with this sort of relationship, and I could feel the love she had for Lucas leap off the page. If you’re looking for a nice, heartfelt read - this is the book for you!
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  • Belinda Munro
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars! I was so excited to receive an ARC of this wonderful new book by the talented Carole Matthews. I’m yet to be disappointed by this authors work and this story is probably my favourite so far. All the characters were gorgeous and I really related to the main character Molly. I loved the farm setting as well. Highly recommend! Thanks kindly to Netgalley, publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first introduction to Carole Matthews work and overall I would say it was a fairly good introduction. This was a proper feel good, chick-lit style book. I enjoyed the premise and the story. The short chapters kept me reading and kept the story moving at a good pace. The animal cast were the stars of the story for me. Overall a decent read which you don't really have to think much about. Arc provided by netgalley for an honest review.
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