Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Book Review: "The Happiness Thief" by Nicole Bokat

Nicole Bokat's The Happiness Thief is both a twisty mystery and an exploration of how guilt and memory can drag us down.

When Natalie was 13 years old she was in a car crash that killed her mother. She has flashbacks to the last seconds before the crash, and she remembers being told it was somehow her fault.

Even in adulthood, the guilt is a constant companion, causing panic attacks and depression. Her stepsister Isabel is a therapist known as The Happiness Guru, and she offers to try and help Natalie move on, as these feelings have ruined her marriage and could jeopardize her relationship with her teenage daughter.

Tagging along with Isabel to a conference in the Cayman Islands, one night they’re involved in a small car accident. Natalie is convinced they hit something—an animal, a person—yet no traces can be found. She can’t help feeling like she’s responsible for tragedy yet again, and this starts triggering memories of the night her mother died all those years ago.

When she returns home, a series of incidents motivate her to start looking into what really happened the night her mother died, and whether anything really happened in the Cayman Islands. Will she find that her memories are true, that she is responsible for her mother’s death? And if not, who was?

There’s a lot that happens in this book so I’m trying to be vague. It’s both a layered mystery and an interesting, well-written story about trying to find a way past guilt and sadness you’ve carried with you for far too long. There are lots of twists—some surprising and some less so—but it’s a satisfying, emotional, and thought-provoking read.

My thanks to Suzy Approved Book Tours, Nicole Bokat, and She Writes Press for inviting me on the tour for The Happiness Thief and providing a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review!!

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