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Accidental Happiness: A Novel Hardcover – January 25, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (January 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345462173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345462176
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,775,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two women who loved the same man are thrown together after his death in this smoothly written second novel by the author of A Blessed Event. After losing her 35-year-old husband in a freak accident, Gina, a freelance writer, moves onto his boat on the Charleston waterfront, drinks too much and attempts to create some semblance of a new life. She's shocked out of her grief when an intruder frightens her one night and she responds instinctively, discovering to her horror that she has shot seven-year-old Angel, who happens to be the daughter of her husband's ex-wife, Reese. While Angel is recuperating, mother and child share the boat with Gina, who gets help coping from handsome Derek, who works at the marina. Reese, a pretty, hippie-ish wanderer, is friendly but clearly unstable, and claims she isn't sure whether Benjamin was Angel's father. Gina can't help being suspicious, though a bond begins to form between her and Angel. When Reese's moods start to change radically from one moment to the next, it's clear that something is seriously wrong with her. Meanwhile, Gina is haunted by painful memories of a sister who died as a child. Page steps easily into the shoes of her appealingly flawed characters as she weaves a convincing web of unconventional family relationships.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Three months after losing her young husband, Ben, Gina, who lost her younger sister at age 12, is only going through the motions. But then Ben's ex-wife, Reese, shows up with her seven-year-old daughter, Angel. Reese isn't sure if Ben is Angel's father, and the child unnerves Gina, whose only argument with Ben was over children. And Reese stirs up feelings of jealousy in Gina. In spite of her emotional discomfort, Gina, who is living on Ben's sailboat in a Charlotte marina, eventually realizes that the intrusion of these two people is bringing her back to the world of the living, and piercing the fog surrounding her. A touching novel about loss and the courage necessary to move beyond the past, Page's tale is filled with genuine and sympathetic characters who make the reader feel vested in the outcome of the story. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Jean Reynolds Page is the author of Leaving Before It's Over, The Last Summer of Her Other Life, The Space Between Before and After, A Blessed Event, and Accidental Happiness. She grew up in North Carolina and graduated with a degree in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as an arts publicist in New York City for over a decade. After leaving New York, she reviewed dance performances for numerous publications before turning full time to fiction in 2001. In addition to North Carolina and New York, she has lived in Boston, Dallas, and Seattle. She lives with her husband and three children in the Madison, WI, area.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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"I just wanted to tell you how wonderful it was," she said.
Cojonu
Contemporary fans will appreciate this deep look at the extensive modern day family whose foci has recently passed away leaving guilt and remorse behind.
Harriet Klausner
The story was very "different" than most chick lit that is out there, and the characters were very real.
Janeway

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Three months ago Benjamin Melrose died in a car accident leaving behind a grieving widow Gina whose feelings are compounded by guilt as she insisted he, not AAA, pick her up when her car was out of gas during that fatal drive. Struggling to cope with remorse, Gina moves into her late husband's sailboat River Rose. Late one night Gina sees movement on her sailboat and fires a gun, shooting Angel, the daughter of Ben's first wife Reese. Gina joins Reese at the emergency room where Angel is provided medical care.

As Angel recovers, she and her mom move in with Gina, who feels she is doing the right thing by her late husband. Soon Gina begins to heal mostly because of Angel who she wonders if the kid is Benjamin's child, a question Reese refuses to answer. As Angel and Gina become close and in many ways more like a daughter-mother relationship than Reese has, the first wife begins acting bizarre making the second spouse determined to keep the potential offspring safe and nurtured at any cost to herself.

ACCIDENTAL HAPPINESS is an intriguing extended family drama in which the five key players (the two spouses, the child, the deceased and Georgie the dog) contain different personalities as each one seems real and their interplay authentic though strange. The characters make the story line with the varying relationships between each of them interesting and supportive of their particular values to include a well designed look at mental illness. Contemporary fans will appreciate this deep look at the extensive modern day family whose foci has recently passed away leaving guilt and remorse behind.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Diane Hammond on March 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Accidental Happiness was that most wonderful thing, a great read, as substantial and satisfying as dinner at a five-star restaurant. The book was perfectly paced, beautifully plotted, with the authority and precision you only get with first-rate storytelling. It has an especially brilliant plot twist near the end, yielding a Tah-Dah! sort of moment when you smack your forehead and say, of course! It all makes sense now! How could I have not seen it coming? And yet, you don't.

I loved these characters for their flaws and their transcendent moments, something Jean Reynolds Page does through the kind of small epiphanies that happen to us without witnesses or guides. Gina and Reese are both vivid, real, and damaged in absolutely believable ways. There are no goddesses here, only people held together by love and a keen desire to do what's right, when it's not at all clear that there IS a right.

Page's excellent critical reviews are both well-deserved and well-earned. If you enjoy Accidental Happiness, than you'll also love the author's first novel, A Blessed Event.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erin Brooks on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I decided to read this book after I finished A Blessed Event, which I found quite good. This story is about Gina, recently widowed, and her husband's ex-wife who comes waltzing back into her life with a daughter in tow. I found that this book was better written than Page's first, but unfortunately I got really bored about halfway through the story. I don't want to spoil the plot for any reader, but let me just say that Gina and Reese are not consistent characters, are each as insecure as the other, and each time you think you got a pretty good idea of who they are, Page throws something in the story that confuses you. I didn't find the characters that well developed and after a while, I just wanted her to get on with things rather than move so slowly through the plot, which I found unrealistic at some points. Overall, I would not recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Ann OMalley on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sometimes we are forced into a situation that we DO NOT want to deal with. How fortunate for us when we are able to find happiness in a situation like that in spite of ourselves!

I loved the way this book read - from start to finish, it was a pleasure to read the language, the author's thoughts, the problems of others and they ways they found to deal with those problems. It may not be a classic, destined to be around forever, but my life is a little brighter for having read it. I highly recommend this book.
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