Fiction Book Reviews

Romance | Happiness for Beginners | Carole Matthews

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Don’t miss Carole Matthews latest release, Happiness for Beginners.

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews (book cover)

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?

An absolute must-read from the queen of romance Carole Matthews, Molly’s story will make your heart sing.

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews is published by Sphere and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats.  The paperback releases 30th May 2019.


It was easy to become emotionally invested with Molly, Bev and Shelby Dacre.  The relationship that brought me most joy (and pain!) is the one between Molly and Lucas.  Molly is so patient and gentle with Lucas, not judging but building trust and admitting her own mistakes.  I must admit to shedding a few tears.

Carole Matthews humorous writing is very much in evidence, not least because of the quirky animals who have found a home at Hope Farm because they’re not wanted anywhere else.  Characters in their own right, I did chuckle at a few of the scenes.

I enjoyed the opposites of glamour and farm life.  Molly and Shelby are a catalyst for each other as they learn about the different worlds and adapt their own approaches to life and what is important.

I’m a fan of Carole Matthews writing and Hope Farm (all that it represents) is close to my heart.  Young people with learning differences are portrayed sensitively and accurately and Molly, well Molly is everything that’s right about inclusion.  There should be more settings like Hope Farm available for our vulnerable children and I love Carole Matthews for highlighting the difference these alternative provisions make to young people’s lives. 

If you’re looking for an uplifting and feel good read, don’t miss Happiness for Beginners.  You’ll experience a host of emotions whilst cheering on these fabulous characters.

Carole Matthews author photo

Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of thirty-two novels, including the Top Ten bestsellers Let’s Meet on Platform 8, A Whiff of Scandal, For Better, For Worse, A Minor Indiscretion, With or Without You, The Cake Shop in the Garden, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, A Cottage by the Sea, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas, The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding, Million Love Songs and her current novel, Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights. Carole has also been awarded the RNA Outstanding Achievement Award. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world. 

For all the latest news from Carole, visit, follow Carole on Twitter (@carolematthews) and Instagram (matthews.carole) or join the thousands of readers who have become Carole’s friend on Facebook (carolematthewsbooks).

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.


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