The Happy Camper

The Happy Camper

by Melody Carlson


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Home is the place to heal, right? At least, that's what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career and nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving and aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there and has taken over Dillon's old room. After a few nights sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift—her grandfather's run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.

But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon's noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses . . . and a ring.

Full of quirky characters, family drama, and sweet romance, The Happy Camper will have you scouring Craigslist for your own diamond-in-the-rough camper to restore and haunting your local hardware store for a handy guy to help your dreams come true.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800737238
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 66,903
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Customer Reviews

The Happy Camper 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
WildflowerMom 25 days ago
A delightful story from start to finish! Felt like a perfect script for a Hallmark movie, with characters who had their fair share of struggles along the rocky road to love. Uncertainty in life decisions and relationships, a neglected faith, plus dealing with some baggage from family relationships, added to Dillon's problems. It would have been interesting to have Brandon's and Jordan's viewpoint in the mix, adding a guy's perspective. A good take on showing the need for boundaries in relationships, romantic and with family too. Looking to God for direction and peace was a theme shown well through Dillon's situation; also a need for forgiving others and showing grace. Loved the whole tiny home, fixer upper type aspect with the trailer. It sounded like a fun way to gain a bit of independence and confidence. The ending was sweet and might have made me sigh a little. Light romance fans may enjoy this one. 4.5 stars (An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
lolly-pops 25 days ago
THE HAPPY CAMPER is a whimsical tale by prolific author Melody Carlson and almost enough to make this non-camper want a camper. But unlike Dillion in the story, I don't have a small fortune to spend on restoring and decorating a vintage camper. I'm not sure how I feel about the story. Dillion and her mother hardly try to get along. Margo (Mom) is lazy while Dillion is superwoman able to deep clean an entire farmhouse in a single morning and spend the afternoon cleaning a green house and planting a garden. And then both Dillion and Jordan are immature, pitting other people into the relationship triangle and then sulking... and then resolving it way too fast. Not to mention, the story is told, not shown. Still, Ms. Carlson is a fan-favorite with avid collectors of her books. And with camping season approaching, this would be just the book to put you in the mood--or to enjoy it from the safety of home. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
WomanbyGrace 2 days ago
I absolutely judged this book by the cover. Just looking at it makes my stress melt away; it's positively magical! In all fairness, I did also judge this one by the author. Sometimes I'm having a Melody Carlson kind of day, or week, or quarantine (I'm totally nailing this social distancing thing!) See, I know I can trust Melody to give me the kind of Hallmark-y experience that allows me to simply enjoy a book without super stressful plot twists and deep theological introspection. Don't get me wrong, you know I love all those things, too. But not all the time! Dillon has had enough! She doesn't even realize it until she has chucked the dead-end boyfriend and the dead-end job, but her heart knows exactly where to go, and Grandpa welcomes her home with open arms. When she finds her childhood bedroom occupied by her own mother, Grandpa solves the space issue by offering her a vintage camper. Restoring Rose gives Dillon purpose, as well as the opportunity to get to know Jordan Atwood through trips to his hardware store and a shared enthusiasm for vintage campers. It's a bit of a bumpy ride, but Dillon and Rose find their identity together. I enjoyed the support Grandpa gives, the understanding Dillon and her mother find for each other, the banter with Jordan, and the joy Dillon finds through her new fascination. Thank you, Melody Carlson, for delivering another truly enjoyable story! Thank you to the publisher for allowing me a copy to read and review. The opinions stated in this review are my own and are my completely honest assessment.
Virginiaw 5 days ago
This is a wonderful feel good romance. This made me laugh and cry but mostly I laughed. It was fun to read how an old trailer can be renovated. This book also shows that you can go home sometimes and make it. I received a copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
PrincessGlor 5 days ago
This story was absolutely charming. First, that cover?? Adorable!! I loved the fun of the vintage trailers and enjoyed the seeing Dillon restore and decorate the trailer. The story was a quick and easy read and perfect for being stuck inside during what's going on in our world currently. Light and fun with romance, humor, great characters and the RV theme made this book a near perfect read. Would love another story about these characters down the road. Melody's stories are always must reads for me and this one is going to the top of my favorites of hers. If you are in need of a light and fun read, give this one a try. I don't think you will be disappointed! I received this book from the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Deanne-Patterson 5 days ago
I can always count on a book by prolific author Melody Carlson to make me happy and feel uplifted. A fun,fast,nostalgic read it easily took my mind off the troubles going on in today's world. A fun escape from reality, I think you'll really enjoy the characters in this one. A little bit of romance,friends,family,a charming story line are what you'll find in this book. I was swept up in the telling of this whimsical story and even though I don't have a camper it makes me long for one now as a fun escape for a short time. Published March 3rd 2020 by Fleming H. Revell Company I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
Lori782 6 days ago
This was a light hearted fun read from Melody Carson. I love her stories so much and this one is no exception. This little read will capture your attention and so will the characters within. What really captured my attention was the cute little camper on the cover of the book. This little camper brought back so many memories of me and my grandparents when we'd go camping in the summer at Lake Alma. I miss those days. Grandpa is my favorite character. I love him because he's a very wise man and he loves Dillon for being herself. Reminds me of my relationship with my grandparents. We were best friends. Carson does a great job in making this story realistic and believable. You'll want to laugh and cry with Dillion and Grandpa, and yes even Margot. I think that Margot and I would get along famously since we pretty much have the same personality. If you love being in a family that has drama, heartbreak, and forgiveness as a theme for this sweet book then I highly recommend. My thanks to Netgalley and Revell for a complimentary copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
chattynatty 6 days ago
Thanks to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for sending me this book to review. This book was a needed read this weekend. With the heaviness in the world sometime you need to escape to another person's life. When this book first arrived in the mail my daughter, a 6th grader, was interested in the cover and opened the book and started reading the first chapter. She asked if she could read it and I said "of course". She loved it. Her comments were, " a Hallmark Movie plus more realistic". We plan to have a little book club discussion soon. Dillon Michaels is in her early 30's lives in Colorado and is in a job she doesn't like (over worked and under appreciated) and in a relationship with a boyfriend who doesn't appreciate or respect her. She receives a call from her mom, Margot, telling Dillon that her grandfather is struggling. Her grandfather had fallen into depression after losing his wife, her beloved grandma, within the last year. Dillon had always been close with her grandparents, and so she never thought twice about leaving her job and breaking up with the boyfriend and moving home. Her hometown is in Oregon and along with her grandfather's welcoming her home her town does too. This move home is where the story really begins. Dillon finds herself with the ability to start over, start afresh, and find herself. She meets challenges with this new start- figuring out where she will stay in her grandfather's home as Margot (she calls her mom Margot throughout the book a hint to their relationship) has moved home also after leaving a relationship with her long term boyfriend Don. Dillon also needs to figure out how to make some money being unemployed. She through her becoming familiar with her hometown meets some old friends and new. The combination of realism and romance was really quite delightful and really made this book an easy quick read. My only complaint was that I felt the book ended a little abruptly- would have liked a little more buildup to the end or an epilogue telling us where Dillon was "a year" from now, etc. Sometimes that is a sign to me that I didn't want the book to end. I previously read "Christmas in Winter Hill" by Melody Carlson and highly enjoyed it too. She will be an author I look forward to reading more of.
tickmenot 7 days ago
Happiness & How You Make It! In 24 hours, Dillon has broken up with Brandon--her boyfriend--quit her job, given up her apartment and hit the road to surprise her grandfather at his farm hundreds of miles away. Dillon is shocked to find her irresponsible, counter-culture mother has taken up residency at the farm. Her mom is well on her way to starting another crazy scheme—which Dillon often gets pulled in to do all the work, while her mother conveniently disappears. In the midst of all of this, Dillon’s grandfather gives her a decrepit, run-down trailer. Even though she has no experience with camping, she instantly falls in love with the vintage trailer, and becomes obsessed with restoring it. Just when a man from town, Jordan, begins to show interest in Dillon, commitment-phobe Brandon reappears. Even though Brandon ignored Dillon while they dated, now he is obsessed with her, and doggedly pursues her no matter where she goes or how often she tells him it is over between them. Will Brandon succeed in winning Dillon back? Will the past problems between Dillon and her mother torpedo any chance of future happiness for them? Can Dillon hang onto her trailer, or will her mother find a way to take it despite all of Dillon’s work? This book had lots of fun situations but the story is realistic—especially the mother-daughter angst. I loved the trailer situation, the inclusion of Dillon’s faith, and the sprinkle of humor throughout the tale. I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys well-written fiction and romances. Revell Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of, The Happy Camper, for the purpose of review.
MFurumasu 8 days ago
I love camping and experiencing the outdoors, so when I saw the title of this book, I knew it would be fun to read. Now, let me tell you, it was such a delight to read! It was the perfect book to read as I’m house-bound hoping for the summer months to start. It was also a great thing to get me into the camping mood. Unfortunately, we no longer have our trailer, but the memories are still there. Throughout this whole book the author, Melody Carlson, used wonderful descriptions and details to help the reader picture all the feelings of owning and setting up a trailer. I remember the time when we had a trailer, I LOVED going to the camping stores just to find those cute things that added personality to our trailer. Another thing about this book is the very cute cover! It really gave a wonderful visual of Dillon’s trailer and set up. The colors and images are totally fresh and whimsical. I could truly see this book being made into a Hallmark movie and be one people would watch over and over. All the characters the author has in this book are fun and endearing to get to know. I loved the interactions between Dillon and Jordan. Melody Carlson has written a wonderful story of finding a home and what that really looks like. I was given this book by the publisher which did not influence my review in any way, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
summer_no9 9 days ago
This book had beautiful writing and compelling to read with that also had a good romantic love story. You will not believe it about that kind of story still had been exit now. The story of a young woman who had been able to have the other chance of her life to getting started a new life again with hope and believe that will be better for her to go back to her home town and leaving everything to finding happiness again with unexpected to have been in love again. The smooth and soft story of love, hope, and kindness will make your heart melt again. I highly recommend to everyone must read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Revell Reads for this review”.
JudyinHuntsvilleAL 9 days ago
It's a lighthearted read that was a fun escape from the world right now... The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson is a joy! Here's the thing, we love vintage camping!! We've renovated a 71 Scotty (#LottieScotty) [who was just as cute as Rose] and we're currently working on our 73 #AnnieLeetheArgosy, so I really enjoyed reading about Dillon creating her own space in her own little camper. And I loved reading about how she found her space in this life too, despite having such an unconventional relationship with her mother... I think y'all would love this fun little escape from the world... if only for a little while...
WilmaZ 9 days ago
The Happy Camper is a book about Dillon in her early 30s who is ready for a new direction in life. I was excited to get to this book so much so that I put aside all my other books. The cover to this book is so adorable and bright and cheerful. As Mary Poppins says, "a cover is nice, but a cover is not the book." I hate this part because I know what it's like to get a bad review, but I honestly was disappointed with this book. I expected it to be much more involved. Instead the story felt stiff. The writing was filled with cliches which could have been done in a cute way. The spiritual line felt tossed in instead of integrated. When the character sat down, then she occasionally brought up God, to her mom too. It probably would have been even better had it been left out. I never really got a good feeling for Jordan so by the time we got to the end, it all felt very contrived. He never explained how he had been hurt. We had to hear it from his mom. We found everything about him from everyone else. There was lots of descriptions of how Dillon restored her camper or how she painted it, learned to drive and back it up, or how she fixed the garden, but it was simply for show and didn't really add to the story so I ended up skimming. No need to prolong my disappointment. Just wanted to be clear that the story was very shallow and could have been better with 2 POVs (Dillon and Jordan) as most romances are. FTC Disclosure: Revell Reads gave me a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.
boclairedesigns 10 days ago
This was a new author for me and I enjoyed this story. It was heartwarming and lighthearted. Jordan and Dillon both renovated campers and bonded in the process. As the new girl in town, although she summers here with her grandparents, growing up. Jordan also returned home after years away to run the hardware store after his dad died. Dillon came home after her life imploded. She broke up with her boyfriend and lost her job, only to find her mother living in her old bedroom. She ends up renovating an old camper, to provide her with a home and in the process a new love. I recommend this book for a fun and uplifting read! I received a free ARC eBook from Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions.
grammy57 12 days ago
I have not read anything by Melody Carlson before but I'm sure glad I read this book. She has a real talent to bring her characters alive. Even the minor characters were believable. The story flowed very well and was quite unique. On one hand, it was a typical love story but the other hand, it was also about the joys of owning a vintage camper. She brought these two things together very nicely. Also, the editing of this book was very well done. I find it quite annoying to have to re-read things because of poor editing. I noticed only a couple of things and they were very minor issues and didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. This was not an "I can't put this down, page-turner" but it did keep my interest throughout. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. A 5-star book is over-the-top, can't put it down kind of book. A 3-star book is a book I really enjoyed but nothing special.
SemmieWise 13 days ago
** “Her only recourse — a lesson she’d learned long ago, but sometimes forgot — was to give her heartache to God. She knew his ways were higher than hers. And she knew he could handle her brokenness … and that, in time, he would restore her. She would get past this.” ** Melody Carlson is a master at crafting the deliciously sweet love story, and she does it again with “The Happy Camper.” When Dillon Michaels’ life seems to fall apart — she breaks up with her non-committal boyfriend and loses her less-than-stellar job — she decides to pack up and move back home to her Grandpa’s farm in Oregon. When she discovers her mom — a woman who can never quite finish a project — also also moved back to start a lavender farm, Dillon must learn patience and understanding while also trying to reset her own life. But when her Grandpa gives Dillon an old vintage trailer and truck, she finds herself creating her own little dream home as she renovates and decorates it, inside and out. Of course, while undergoing the project, Dillon meets the town’s eternal bachelor, Jordan Atwood, the owner of the local hardware store. As she gets to know him more and more, as well as his sister and her water-fearing twin girls, she hopes the signals she keeps picking up on aren’t just all in her head. But things get complicated when her clueless ex-boyfriend keeps popping up in town. “The Happy Camper” is a sweet romance tale filled with humor and moments of clarity and revelation, as Dillon learns to trust God and His timing. Carlson is incredible at creating delightful characters, like the relatable and not-so-perfect Dillon and Jordan; her mom, Margot, searching for life’s answers; Emma and Chloe, Jordan’s adorable nieces; the clueless ex-boyfriend Brandon; and her Grandpa, the grandpa everyone wants to have. This book also includes a number of great themes, like asking God to direct one’s path; making an investment in happiness; taking one’s weaknesses and troubles to God; and giving one’s heartache to God. Five stars out of five. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
BookReviewerTG 13 days ago
Every once in awhile I like a story that is off the beaten path. Not the same ole, same ole, type of story. And that's why I like to read stories penned by Melody Carlson. This book cover reached and literally grabbed me. I absolutely love the cover! Now Dillon Michaels is at a disappointing place in her life. So what does one do when one feels at a lost? One goes to grandpa's house. But unbeknownst to Dillon her mother beats her to grandpa's and takes Dillon's old room and the only guest room. Who can sleep on a couch all the time? No one. So Dillon sees her grandfather's vintage, which means old, camper and decides to make it her own. One problem...she needs help. Jordan Atwood gladly jumps in to help Dillon and then Dillon's noncommittal boyfriend pops in with a ring and a promise....ooopsie! Such a fun, light hearted read with tidbits of wisdom thrown in for the reader to digest. This is one of those great for the beach or spring break reads. *This book was provided for review by Revell Reads*
Faye_reviews 14 days ago
Dillon Michaels has fond memories of a stable home with her grandparents, after a rough upbringing with her single mother. She is burned out juggling her finances, job, and non-committal boyfriend. After her grandmother's death she decides to go stay with her grandfather, only to find that her mother has beat her there. Blessings come in surprising packages with the gift of a vintage trailer that Dillon can make her own. She sets to work restoring the camper, with the help of the local hardware store owner, while supporting her grandfather while navigating her tricky relationship with her mother. A heartwarming read about family, forgiveness, and new beginnings. I loved the welcoming small town setting, with great characters. I loved the surprises and twists along the way, as Dillon struggles to find stability, hope, and forgiveness. I loved her relationship with her grandparents and how they gave her roots and wings, as well as how she was challenged by her mother to grow, and give grace. Jordan is a kind community member, fun-uncle, and overall a somewhat baffling man. He is genuine, and well-loved in the community. I liked how he offers to help Dillon, and how he takes the time to be present in the life of his family. Overall, a heartwarming, enjoyable, small town read, filled with family, love, humor, and forgiveness. A great feel-good read, with a great premise, and steady pacing. Highly enjoyable. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Nicnac63 14 days ago
If you enjoy a fun, sincere, clean, inspirational, often predictable Hallmark movie, then you’ll undoubtedly enjoy The Happy Camper. Melody Carlson is a warmhearted storyteller who infuses her stories with romance and faith. Just as in her delightful Christmas stories, Ms. Carlson has created authentic, likable characters, and a storyline that warms my heart. I love starting-over, or new-beginning stories, where a new outlooks, friendships, and romances bloom. It was easy to connect with Dillion, the camper aspects of the story kept my interest, and the relationships had my on my toes. At times I sympathized, at times I rolled my eyes, but mostly, I cheered for Dillion to have a good outcome. If you’ve read Ms. Carlson’s previous work I think you’ll like this one. This story has a slightly different feel, I’m not sure why, (perhaps because it isn’t during a Christmas setting?) but it’s an enjoyable, quick read. I received a complimentary copy of this book the publisher.
MaureenST 15 days ago
I have been reading some heavy in-depth books lately and this one hit the spot, light hearted and kept me smiling most of the time. I loved the twins, they seemed so real, and could actually picture them, first hating to learn to swim, and loving when they were with Dillion at the camp ground. The author gives us family dynamics at all levels, and you wonder if they will all survive to the end, will there be healing and forgiving? There is some sweet romance here, and some that don't get the message, or at least need it hammered in. Sometimes we take for granted what we have, until it is gone, but will be able to retrieve it? Add in a sweet old camper, and then the truck to pull it, and we are on a restoration, we also have gardening, and mega amounts of lavender! You will be quickly caught up here in this small town, and I would love to go camping with this loving group! I received this book through the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
KrisAnderson_TAR 17 days ago
The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson is an entertaining story. Dillon Michaels dumps her commitment phobic boyfriend and then loses her job within twenty-four hours. She has been unhappy with her life for a while and decides it is time to make a change. Dillon packs all her belonging into her car and heads for her grandfather’s farm in Silverdale, Oregon. She arrives to find her mother ensconced in her bedroom and finds her grandfather depressed (understandably) as well as lonely after the loss of his wife. Dillon cleans the house and then begins working on her grandmother’s garden. Sleeping on the couch, though, is taking a toll on her back. Her grandfather then gifts her a 1964 Aloha Oasis which Dillon is excited to fix up. She gets assistance from hardware store owner, Jordan. Their friendship has the potential to blossom into a romantic relationship until her ex-boyfriend, Brandon arrives in town intent on wooing her back. The Happy Camper is a fun story with some aggravating moments. Melody Carlson has an engaging writing style that draws the reader right into the story. Dillon Michaels is a likeable and realistic character. Alex, the grandfather, was a sweet man. He was kind and generous. Dillon and Jordan have a bumpy journey, but that is normal. All relationships have issues mostly from miscommunication and wrong perceptions. My favorite part of The Happy Camper is Dillon restoring the vintage trailer. It makes me want to go out and get one. I like how this tale shows realistic situations. Our journey in life can change at any moment as we see in The Happy Camper. As we grow older, we develop and grow as individuals. The Happy Camper is a feel-good Christian story with humor, family drama, and romance.
Courtney_LaShea 22 days ago
If you're looking for a cute, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of read, this is it! I adored Dillon's journey into becoming a camper. I could almost feel her excitement as she discovered a love for her new little home, and it made me want to find a cute camper trailer of my own. I loved the lessons that she learned throughout the novel. I especially appreciated the way Carlson approached the inspirational aspect of this book. It wasn't preachy by any means, but it was very straight forward and honest. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All expressed opinions belong to me.
Abold24 24 days ago
I loved this very enjoyable read by Melody Carlson! It was a refreshing story about returning home again and how situations can change our perspectives. This story also had characters who examined their relationships and made adjustments (and amends). The story focuses on Dillon who just honestly misses home especially after some stressful situations in her life. As she travels, she stays in a camper and upon returning she learns more about owning a camper. With her eye for design, she finds ways to occupy her time restoring the camper she receives from her grandfather. While she is working on this transformation, she gets to know Jordan the hardware store owner. Readers will have to read this romantic story to see if things work out between the two of them. If you are looking for an enriching story that inspires you to be more positive, you will enjoy this book! I highly recommend this book! You will not be disappointed! ***I was given a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest opinion. Even though I received this copy free, this is my own opinion.
SusanSnodgrassBookworm 25 days ago
'Sometimes a life needs to get shaken order to put the pieces together right.' Dillon Michaels has had enough of her life in Colorado and her unwilling to commit boyfriend. So she heads off to Oregon to help her grandfather out after her grandmother dies. She wasn't happy with her career, anyway. When she arrives, she finds her eccentric and erratic mother has arrived before her and taken up residence and trying to boss her grandfather around. Dillon pitches in and goes to work, but after a few nights on an old worn out sofa, her grandfather gives her an run down vintage travel camp trailer. She falls in love with it and sets out to restore it, with the help of the town's hardware store owner, Jordan, who is quite handsome. Then....her bumbling boyfriend shows up wanting to make amends, with flowers and a ring! Ooops! Melody Carlson has written a delightful tale of quirky characters, some likeable, some not. And the travel trailer portion of the story is precious. So, sit back and be prepared to enter a sweet story. *My thanks to Revell Publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinion here is my own.