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So Happy Together Hardcover – July 7, 2009

48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McFadden overreaches in her follow-up to The Richest Season, a too-busy family drama overflowing with common conundrums. Claire Noble, at 45, believes she's on the cusp of a new, liberated life—she's one year away from early retirement; her daughter, Amy, is grown and out of the house; and she and her fiancé, Rick, are planning to move from New Jersey to Arizona, where they can pursue their passions (photography for her, golf for him). The plans soon turn into pipe dreams when a massively pregnant Amy returns home, Claire's father's Parkinson's disease rapidly advances, and Rick has trouble coping with it all. In the midst of chaos, Claire drags her family to Provincetown, Mass., where she'll take part in a prestigious photography workshop while the town's romantic charms work their magic on Claire's clan. But with so many complications constantly disrupting the lives of major and minor characters, it's difficult to connect much less keep up with who's suffering from what. McFadden's prose has its moments of clarity and emotion, but the narrative leans too heavily on phoned-in sentiment to make an impact. (July)
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" I can think of no writer I'd rather have sing me songs of the sea, even sad ones, than Maryann McFadden. The characters in So Happy Together will speak to you, and the best ones -- Claire, Fanny, Amy, John -- all have the ocean in their voices."―Anne Rivers Siddons, author of Off Season

"In SO HAPPY TOGETHER, Maryann McFadden deftly weaves a story of three generations of women and the men who orbit around them. With a sure touch, she writes about the mother-daughter bond, the simple pleasures to be found in cooking, the pervasive nature of guilt, and the power of forgiveness. Ultimately she explores the ways that growth is possible at every stage in life, if only we remain open -- and how unexpected changes can lead us to places we never imagined."―Christina Baker Kline, author of The Way Life Should Be and Bird In Hand

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401301487
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401301484
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,570,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

THE BOOK LOVER, my 3rd novel, will debut on May 1, 2012. Stay tuned for more information! I am so excited to introduce a unique story about the book world, and the passionate people who inhabit it. This story is filled with love, loss, betrayal, and the daring risks we take to follow our dreams. It's a story I know personally, and one I hope you'll fall in love with.


Ever since I was a little girl, nothing gave me more pleasure than losing myself in a good book. And now, as a writer, I get that same joy as I lose myself in the creation of a rich and intricate story with memorable characters. Characters who are not so very different from you and me, really, as they struggle to find their way in life.

I began writing poetry and stories in high school. After college, I worked as a freelance writer while raising my babies, squeezing writing time in while they napped in the afternoons. I wrote for a variety of newspapers and specialized in health and fitness articles for magazines such as WORKING WOMAN and WOMEN'S SPORTS & FITNESS. But after nearly a decade of working mostly from home, a bit lonely, I must admit, I left writing and pursued a career in real estate, of all things. I found myself becoming intimately involved in people's lives. I loved it. And I was good at it.

For the next 15 years, I helped my customers sell their homes, whether for a job transfer, a divorce, a death, or simply the need for a change in life. I also helped them to pursue their dreams as they sought a first home, a cottage by the river to soothe a grieving heart, or a little ranch after spending more than 50 years in a rambling Victorian. These stories of people's lives, I began to realize, were rich and precious, the kinds of stories people like to read about..

And then my own children began leaving the nest, and the need to write again began to consume me.

I returned to school, got a Master's Degree in Literature with a Concentration in Writing, and turned to the kind of writing I always loved best: fiction. My first novel, THE RICHEST SEASON, is the story of a corporate wife who runs away. As a realtor, I witnessed first-hand the trials and tribulations of families relocating every few years all around the world. My second novel, SO HAPPY TOGETHER, is a sandwich generation novel, something so many of us are familiar with these days. What happens when you've finally hit that age where you think you can spread your wings and live your dreams--only to find your family tugging at you from all directions. That's what happens to Claire as she's about to leave for a dream summer in Cape Cod.

I enjoy setting my stories in the kinds of places I like to escape to. THE RICHEST SEASON takes place at one of my favorite beaches in the world, Pawleys Island, South Carolina. And SO HAPPY TOGETHER unfolds in a charming little town in northwest New Jersey, not unlike the place where I live, and also at the tip of Cape Cod, otherwise known as "land's end."
So Happy Together will be coming out in Summer, 2009.

My writing is filled with things I am passionate about: nature, wildlife, gardening, writing, family, love, and the spiritual side of life. And also the complicated dance of the human heart.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pippa Lee VINE VOICE on June 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." This quote from John Lennon just kept popping up in my mind while I read "So Happy Together." Claire Noble, a high school history teacher and single mother, finally can look forward to the future. She'll spend the summer studying photography in Cape Cod, marry Rick in the fall and move out with her new husband to Arizona where they will have a carefree life. She will pursue photography while Rick will indulge in playing golf. It's the kind of life that she deserves after working hard to make right the mistakes of her youth: falling in love with the wrong guy and having a baby out of wedlock. She's tried but is afraid that she has not done a great job at raising her daughter Amy alone. If she had, Amy would have not run away. But all that is in the past and her plans for the future filled her with excitement. At age 45, it is about time she allows herself to follow her dreams. However, life throws a monkey wrench at her plans. Just when she's about to leave for Cape Cod, Amy returns home alone and ready to give birth. Claire's aging parents, Joe and Fanny go from one crisis to another one as Parkinson's disease robs Joe of his mobility and dignity and turns their lives upside down. And to top it all, a handsome writer walks into Claire's living room and perhaps into her heart.

In "So Happy Together," McFadden skillfully weaves a touching tale of three women moving through three different stages of life toward one common goal--to find meaning in their existence. It's not difficult to like the characters. As I followed Claire, Fanny, and Amy, I could think of real people who were walking in their shoes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laura on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Really great book, by an author I was totally unfamiliar with. Her descriptions of the sun sets and sun rises on Cape Cod made me add it to my list of must see destinations - so descriptive I could actually see the beaches in my head. On top of that very good story!

If you are a mother or daughter you can't not relate to the characters. So much emotion for the main character Claire - I felt her angst and guilt over caring for her mother and daughter - as a mother I have felt this guilt many times - wanting to do something for yourself but unable to enjoy it because of the guilt you feel for your children.

The only negative to the book was that a few times I felt there were too many story lines going on. However all the story lines were so good I would not have enjoyed the book as much if any were left out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Adams on June 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
So Happy Together is the story of 45 year old Claire who's just one year away from early retirement and is starting to think about ways to do something with her life now that the grown up daughter is out of the house. So Claire decides to open up her own business while dealing with the ageing parents and the difficult grandchild. While I'm probably not exactly the target market, I thought this was a positive, inspirational read and a decent romance. The writing was pleasant and the plot had one or two funny moments. All in all, a light and entertaining story that might just give direction to someone who wants something similar out of their life. I'm giving it five stars because of the positive message and inspirational factor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Good Life on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
So Happy Together is a story of regret and missed opportunities, but also hope and reconciliation, as several members of an extended family try to free themselves of past disappointments and take advantage of new opportunities. Happiness and satisfaction with their lives seem to have eluded them. Just as it seems the main character, 45-year-old high school history teacher Claire Noble, is about to change all that, the return of her estranged and pregnant 24-year-old daughter puts her plans and needs on the back burner once again, and possibly permanently.

When getting pregnant herself at 21 by Liam, the man she thought was the love of her life, Claire has to put her life on hold and raise her daughter Amy alone, after Liam completely bails on them. He skips out on child support as well, and Claire scrapes by on a teacher's salary for 20 years, all the while longing to pursue her dream of being a photographer. But Amy resents her and blames her for her father's absence, nearly flunks out of college, and doesn't seem to care what she does with her life. After a huge fight in which Claire kicks her out, Amy disappears for 18 months.

As the book begins, Claire seems to have everything finally in order: she is engaged to the handsome and successful Rick, she is heading off to Cape Cod for an amazing photography course over the summer, and marrying Rick upon her return. Their plans are fully laid out: she'll retire at the end of the school year and move to Arizona, where they can enjoy a careful lifestyle of photography for her and golf for him. She has pangs of guilt about leaving her native New Jersey and her elderly parents, especially since her father has Parkinson's.
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