Happiness doesn’t factor on the deliciously rugged but utterly heartbroken Greg’s radar much these days. Only his beloved Labrador Angus seems to understand his search for a way to make sense of tragedy until he meets new neighbour Mallory Westerman…
Instantly they know that the other understands how they feel, and over time, as romance blossoms, they dare to wonder if they might, one day, be truly happy again…
There are two sides to every story, and A Year of Finding Happiness is Greg’s journey back from the darkest depths to happiness…
A Year of Finding Happiness was previously published as Bridge of Hope.
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Lisa Hobman – Q&A
What inspired you to write this story?
This story was written as a result of reader requests. After the release of ‘A Seaside Escape’, Greg seemed to capture the hearts of people all over the world! I was asked for his story and I was only too happy to oblige!
I love stories that feature animal characters. Do animals play a big role in your life?
I love animals! I have two rescue dogs of my own—in fact, the dogs in A Year of Finding Happiness are based on my very own canine companions. They both have their individual personalities and were great fun to write about. I love that they are also represented on the book covers!
Where do you do most of your writing? Why do you like writing here?
I have my very own office these days. It’s at the top of the house and it overlooks my garden. I can see the birds on the feeder from there and have been known to daydream and get distracted.
Are you an avid reader? What genres do you enjoy and why?
I don’t read as much as I used to because when I’m writing—which is most of the time—I like to keep my head clear for my own stories. But when I do read I love books by Heidi Swain, Ann Cleves and Lisa Jewell. I like to try new genres and crime fiction is the latest genre I’ve tried.
Are you a full-time writer? What do you enjoy about writing?
I’m no longer a full-time writer. I also work part-time at a museum, purely for my own sanity. Writing is fantastic but it’s quite an isolated role and I’m very much a people person. My favourite thing about writing is the fact that I get a chance to invent new people and I get to choose their life path. I guess it calls to the hidden control freak in me!
What’s next for Lisa Hobman?
I’ve just finished edits on my next book so that will be out later this year or early next year. And now I’m on to the next project! Of course, it will be based in Scotland because I love this place so much. I intend to keep writing until the ideas stop happening—which I hope is never!
Greg has not been lucky in love. Alice his first love broke his heart with her betrayal and deceit, and Mairi loved adventure more than him and left him too. With only, Angus his dog and an ever-present bottle of Malt Whisky he is lost in grief. After such a bleak start the reader longs for light relief and the support Greg receives from the community and his meeting with Mallory provides this. A romance set in the Scottish Highlands and Isles is a treat and gives this story a unique feel.
Mallory’s story features in the first book in the series ‘A Seaside Escape’. She meets Greg at a pivotal time in her life and after a shaky start values his friendship but does she want more, or is that enough? This story reads well as a standalone, but I would like to read Mallory’s story too.
Told from Greg’s point of view it gives a refreshing perspective to grief and falling in love from the male perspective. His character is realistic and strangely endearing. Full of guilt and raw edges Greg pushes away Mallory because he feels disloyal. Mallory’s hurting too, and you wonder if these two damaged souls can find solace with the other. Greg is so sad and broken you want him to find happiness and eventually, it seems he might but then the past rears its ugly head and happiness is just an illusion it seems.
I like the way music plays an important part in this story, Greg uses it to express his feelings and as a balm to his pain, this is believable and something we all do at various times in our lives.
A story of grief, friendship, forgiveness, healing and the power of love, realistic and romantic and lovely book to read.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with. She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.