GA Anderson’s South of Happily checked all the boxes. Katy is relatable as a loveable, self-saboteur. We, who have shot ourselves in the foot by getting involved with that beautiful boy who we knew was a bet, is going to see ourselves in Katy.
At the start of the novel, Katy is seeking legal counsel to extricate herself form her truly terrible marriage. She didn’t just get involved, she got married to the train wreck. Jess, the lawyer, was Katy’s best friend through college, although they’ve lost touch since Katy fell in with the train wreck, aka Dylan. As a stipulation of Jess representing her, Katy must see a therapist.
From there we learn about Katy’s complicated family. Her parents are Hungarian by birth and have been US citizens for twenty-five years. They built a restaurant and now Katy is left to run it as they travel out of the country “before they die.”
This novel goes a long way around the family drama and at no point did I feel that I knew exactly where we were going. If this is written to some formula, I couldn’t see it, which, if you know me at all, you know that is high praise. The characters are full of personality and attitudes but not to the point of being caricatures. They read as authentic, people that I would love to sit down for a coffee with. All except for Dylan, who I probably already had coffee with at some other point in my life.
This is a story of self-evaluation, love, loss, family secrets, connections, friendship, and so much more. It is told with humor and subtlety.
I listened to this book via Audible and have to send a shoutout to the narrator, Lisa Bozek, who navigated a variety of accents and character tones with the perfect balance of animated but not overacted.
I enjoyed South of Happily so much the first time that I started it over. It’s even better the second time around.