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The Secret of Happy Ever After [Paperback]

Lucy Dillon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

10 Nov 2011

When story-lover Anna takes over Longhampton's bookshop, it's her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her three rowdy stepchildren and their hyperactive Dalmatian.

Unpacking boxes filled with childhood classics, Anna can't shake the feeling that maybe her own fairytale ending isn't all that she'd hoped for. But, as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens, lost dogs, wicked witches and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get swept up in the magic too.

Even Anna's best friend Michelle - who categorically doesn't believe in true love and handsome princes - isn't immune.

But when secrets from Michelle's own childhood come back to haunt her, and disaster threatens Anna's home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends - and those they love - find their own happy ever afters?

Frequently Bought Together

The Secret of Happy Ever After + Walking Back to Happiness + Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (10 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444727036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444727036
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucy Dillon's new novel is A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME.

Lucy Dillon lives in a ramshackle Georgian farmhouse (less Pemberley, more Miss Marple) in a village just outside Hereford, where she writes novels in between meeting the daily requirements of her dogs, and keeping out of the way of the builders. After nearly a year of renovations, she's learned enough to know that it's best left to the experts. She can, however, tell you more than you need to know about lime plaster, and that Classic FM on headphones drowns out the sound of most building work, apart from drilling.

Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria, and while at school, wrote a play about Mary, Queen of Scots, which apparently only had two major historical inaccuracies, and edited the school magazine, all of which set her up for her first job after university, in publishing. Working for a fiction editor taught her some invaluable lessons about how books are written, then re-written, and then re-re-written, as well as how satisfying is it to watch a pile of pages magically turn into a novel you can hold in a bookshop and read in the bath.

A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME is Lucy's fifth novel. None of the characters are based on her family, or her builders, although the dogs might recognise themselves a bit.

Lucy won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts.

You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or find her on Facebook at

Product Description



'Fans of Katie Fforde will devour this latest novel from the Cumbrian-born author quicker than a mince pie... Nostalgic, heart-warming and honest, this is a tale of love and friendship at its very best.'

(Press Association)

A tender story that strikes at the heart . . . Smartly written and delightfully sweet with a tinge of nostalgia laced throughout, this story is a wonderful read. (Romantic Times TOP PICK)

'Lucy Dillon's voice is gentle and kind throughout...perceptive and well handled. A heart-warming piece of escapism for long winter nights.' (Red)

'Perfect to snuggle up with on a cold winter's afternoon' (Bella)

'A modern fairy-tale for grown ups' (Sun)


'witty, heart-warming and a very real tale of loss and redemption'


Heartwarming, romantic and funny, Lucy Dillon's latest offering is the perfect Christmas stocking filler... Shut out the world on a cold winter's night with this entertaining and easy-to-read tale. (News of the World)

Warm, fluffy and fun. (Cosmopolitan)

A charming fluffy winter's read. (Closer)


'I loved this book! Heartwarming, real and entertaining'

(Katie Fforde)

Heart-warming, fun and romantic. Marley and Me fans will love it (Closer)

A contemporary Bridget Jones, but with canines instead of chardonnay. (Stylist)

A charming read (Star)

'The title sums up this captivating story. Anna and Michelle breathe life into a neglected bookstore and bring fairytale magic to life.' (My Weekly)

A modern fairytale for grown-ups (Fabulous magazine)

Book Description

A captivating story of love, friendship and a bookclub that you'll never forget - from the bestselling author of LOST DOGS AND LONELY HEARTS and WALKING BACK TO HAPPINESS.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurray - more Longhampton! 3 Nov 2011
It was a real treat reading this book, and revisiting Longhampton (and spotting some of the characters we've met before). I read it while off work sick and it was great place to escape to - comforting and enticing but not too escapist and fluffy, and much better than daytime telly. I love the other Longhampton books and the way they tackle some tricky issues, not just the usual romance - but I have to say this one has got even more depth and honesty and complexity. It covers ageing, step families, the whole 'does motherhood really make you a superior/worse person' debate. NONE of the relationships are pat or straight forward, the heroines are both sympathetically flawed, the kids are fantastically believable. I cried at least three times, which is rare for me, but the situations were so poignant at times - it's the little defeats or successes in life which affect us most, more than the great tragedies or triumphs, and Lucy Dillon gets these across perfectly. I am not part of a step family, so I can't judge, but I think the depiction of the endless difficulties (big and small) of a step family are really thoughtfully and believably put across. I found my heart going out to the stepmother and her constant attempts to connect with the kids and make things right, while the actual parents were oblivious to her efforts and how much more difficult their unthinking actions make things for her. It is heart warming in showing women in the full diversity of who they are - not just young heroines who somehow afford funky flats in London and have a useful array of zany friends for plot purposes. But women who run businesses, run families, make tough choices, care for others, stand at the centre of their communities in one way or another. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book 30 Dec 2011
Another fabulous book from Lucy Dillon - on a deeper level than chic lit but at the same time so easy to read. I have read 3 books over Christmas (the others not by Dillon) and this is easily the best. The friendship aspect between Michelle and Anna is explored beautifully, both the ups and the downs. Also the difficulties of being part of an extended family are looked at in a probing but sensitive manner. I loved the bookshop, if it existed in real life I am sure I would never want to leave in the same way I was sad to finish reading this book. A book about fiction, friendship, families, setting up small businesses, love and communities - this has it all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurry Up Lucy and write some more please!! 3 Feb 2012
By Amy
I have read all of Lucy Dillon's books and thoroughly enjoy her style of writing and believable characters. This latest book is again set in Longhampton and a few of the characters from previous books reappear which is a nice touch. I found myself so lost in the story I missed by stop on the train twice this week! For any Lucy Dillon fans, this latest book does not disappoint.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 30 Nov 2011
By Mel A
Fabulous. There's enough of the familiar Lucy Dillon magic but with the additional ingredient of some topics not often dealt with in fiction. The characters are easy to idenfity with and I loved the nostalgia brought on by the fact that a book shop is the setting and that chapters are introduced by references to books which every reader will be familiar with. It makes you realise how books form such a large backdrop to our lives, whether as children or adults. Another triumph for Lucy!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A.B.
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved Lucy Dillon's other two books set in the fictional town of Longhampton, so couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. I started it the day I bought it and I loved it so much that I read it all in one night! I am pleased to say it is the best in the 'series' so far. I was worried that the mix of chick lit and dogs might get a bit boring by the third book but this feels completely fresh and original, whilst still managing to retain that Lucy Dillon magic.

If you've never read a Lucy Dillon book, you are in for a treat. Her novels are essentially chick lit, but they are a sublime example of the genre. They are easy to read, but the story lines are always completely absorbing and have a good amount of depth to them. Plus, Lucy Dillon writes dogs into her novels so brilliantly that the dogs feel like one of the main characters too.

You don't need to have read Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts or Walking Back To Happiness to enjoy this book. Although I called it a 'series' earlier, the only link between the books is that they are all set in the same fictional village and they all feature dogs prominently. Each book has a new set of main characters (both human and canine). There are occasional mentions of characters from the previous novels in this one, but not to the extent that you need to read the others first. However, I suggest you do anyway.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok
The book opens with Michelle, she has just moved to a new town, opening her new shop and knows no one in town. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Lainy
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
For me this story gets of to a slow start but we'll worth sticking with .loved the idea of the book shop and what books mean to people. Read more
Published 11 days ago by General
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
A very complex story with a lot of characters so can be hard to follow at times, mentions a few characters from Walking Back to Happiness, so I would suggest reading that one... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ebonyuk72
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
very readable, nice story, Lucy Dillon has not quite made it into my personal top 5 authors but is certainly in the top ten.
Published 2 months ago by J. Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars So hard to put this book down
Likeable, believable characters and interesting storyline. Unusual setting, mainly in a bookshop, but it worked for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dawn Talbot
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Really liked this book - an easy read and very enjoyable - being a dog lover and having lived with teenagers too :) I will definitely be reading some more of Lucy Dillon's books... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kim H
5.0 out of 5 stars The secret of happy ever after
Brilliant read. Waiting for lucy s next book just wish there was more catch up with previous characters. Perhaps next time?
Published 3 months ago by ashleigh
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
A realy nice light hearted read. there is a dog in it but Its more a story of the young lady and what happens to her,but it was a nice easy read
Published 4 months ago by summerskye
4.0 out of 5 stars Another story of the inhabitants of Longhampton and their canine...
I loved the two other books by Lucy Dillon about this ordinary little town and some of its inhabitants both two legged and four legged. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cheshire Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful read
After hearing so many great things about Lucy Dillon's novel Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, as soon as I was presented with the opportunity to review her latest novel The Secret Of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Georgina
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