So Happy Together

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Overview

"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 and Colony

"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 ...

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So Happy Together

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Overview

"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 and Colony

"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

Everyone needs a dream . . .

Claire Noble gave up on her dreams a long time ago. A single mother and respected history teacher, she has also been caring for her aging parents. But now it's finally Claire's turn. She has fallen in love with Rick Saunders, who is offering her both security and the opportunity to travel. Before their fall wedding, she will be leaving for a summer on Cape Cod, where the fabled light has been luring artists for a century; and the chance of a lifetime to study with one of the most noted photographers in the country.

But just as Claire is about to step into her new life, her estranged daughter suddenly shows up with a backpack full of problems. Claire's father reveals a fifty-year-old secret that threatens to unravel their family. Her mother confides that at seventy-eight years old, she's still waiting for the love of her life. And a chance encounter with an environmental writer results in an intriguing new relationship, undermining Claire's certainty that she's found the man with whom she hopes to spend the rest of her life. In the midst of all this turbulence, Claire begins to question everything she thought she wanted. And surprisingly, so do her mother and her daughter.

Set in the lush, rolling hills of northern New Jersey and the romantic, windswept dunes of Cape Cod, So Happy Together is the story of three generations of women who find their lives, and dreams, suddenly transformed in ways they never could have imagined. But ultimately, it is the heartbreaking and joyful journey of one woman who comes to realize that when you're a mother, or a daughter, you are never truly free.

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Editorial Reviews

The News & Observer
So Happy Together is an honest book . . . that will resonate with many women who struggle to care for family members and themselves.
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)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A middle-aged woman anticipates new freedom, only to have troubles land on her with a vengeance, in McFadden's follow-up to The Richest Season (2008). Claire, 45, is ready to get out of Jersey. She's winding up 25 years of teaching, has taken up serious study of photography and is engaged to marry Rick, a golf-loving hedonist with an Arizona townhouse. Then Claire's estranged daughter Amy, 23, returns home, her weight problem apparently worse than ever-until she gives birth just as her mother is about to leave for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a career-making photography workshop in Cape Cod. Claire is now stuck with a resentful daughter, a newborn granddaughter, Rose, whose paternity Amy won't discuss, and elderly parents who rely mostly on her, since out-of-state brother Eugene is too busy with his own career and family. Claire's father Joe has Parkinson's, and her mother Fanny, increasingly addled at 77, can't cope. The workshop and the wedding must wait, but what is she going to do about John, the freelance writer who's supposed to be renting her house while she's in Provincetown? He finds another place, but he wants to use her photographs in an article on New Jersey's abandoned canal system; working with John, Claire finds herself dangerously attracted. Then she gets another chance at the workshop, and with Amy, Rose and her parents (sprung from assisted living) in tow, Claire heads for Cape Cod. There, Joe tries to reconnect with a wartime love, Ava. Upset that Joe has never come clean with her about Ava, Fanny seeks solace in Buddhism and romance with local restaurateur Dominick. Provincetown also happens to be home base for John, who is working to publicize the plight ofendangered whales and seals. The ever-escalating complications are fun, but this story of second chances smacks of middle-aged wish-fulfillment: There's even a scene in which Rick and John fight over Claire. A busy plot, rendered in listless prose and populated by one-dimensional characters.
Anne Rivers Siddons
" 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."
Christina Baker Kline
"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."
From the Publisher
" 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

  • ISBN-13: 9781401310202
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Maryann McFadden runs a successful real estate business but always wanted to write a novel; she did so and self published The Richest Season in 2006, selling 4000 copies. Hyperion's edition came out in June 2008, and received rave reviews. Maryann lives in Hackettstown, NJ.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    So Happy I Read This One!

    I haven't read a book in a long time that I could truly relate to, but Maryann McFadden changed that with So Happy Together. As Claire Noble, I am also dealing with aging parents and rebellious teen grandchildren. It seems I am running from one to the other on a daily basis and it leaves you wondering if you will have time to ever follow your own dreams. Ms McFadden's book gives me hope that these hurdles can be jumped and there is hope for a successful ending! I am also a photographer so the storyline just enveloped me from all angles (no pun intended). I loved the story, Ms McFadden's writing style, and will be keeping an eye open for more from this author.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Spread the word, an excellent book for reading and gift-giving. It should be made into a movie!

    So Happy Together is one of my favorite top 10 books ever read.  I was able to identify with the main character from the 'sandwich' generation.  Claire, who is caught between her dreams and family responsibilities.  Claire is a school teacher who is about to embark on a new career (her passion for photography) all while trying to meet the needs of aging parents, an estranged daughter (returning home with problems of her own), and trying to plan for a wedding to the 'man of her dreams'.  Add to the mix the male environmental writer who needs a photogher and you begin to feel the pull between three generations of women whose dreams and lives are being transformed. Claire's mother and father who want to stay independent, have problems and history together that eventually comes to light.  Claire's estranged daughter who also wants to remain independent returns home with problems of her own.  And the two men in Claire's life 'the man of her dreams' and the environmental writer add to the mix of making choices add intrigue to who Claire will become. This book is also about keeping the history of our home towns and family generations alive by passing on what our towns used to be like and also our ancestors.  There is always a lesson to be learned.  Thank you Maryann for a wonderful book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    Excellent read!

    While I enjoyed this author's first book very much, I enjoyed this story even more! Family interactions and circumstances in this day and age have become so much more complicated than any of us ever anticipated. This book will hit home with anyone who is dealing with caring for parents, their own personal crises and their children's problems as well. I had a very difficult time putting this one down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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