With “her signature warmth and Southern charm” (E! Online), the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer of Songbirds and the Peachtree Bluff series presents a tender and touching novel about a young woman who discovers the family she has always longed for when she spends a life-changing summer in North Carolina.
Present Day: Keaton Smith is desperate for a fresh start. So when her mother needs someone to put her childhood home in Beaufort, North Carolina, on the market—the home that Keaton didn’t know existed until now—she jumps at the chance to head south. But the moment she steps foot inside the abandoned house, she’s confronted with secrets about grandparents who died in a car accident before she was born. And as she gets to know her charming next-door neighbor, his precocious ten-year-old son, and a flock of endearingly feisty town busybodies, she soon finds she has more questions than answers.
1976: After meeting her adoring husband Townsend, Rebecca “Becks” Saint James abandoned the life she knew and never looked back. Forty years later, she’s made a name for herself as the best hostess North Carolina has ever seen. Her annual summer suppers have become the stuff of legend, and locals and out-of-towners alike clamor for an invitation to her stunning historic home. But she’s struggling behind the façade. Becks strives to make the lives of those around her as easy as possible, but this summer she is facing a dilemma that even she can’t solve. And as the end of the season looms, she is brought to a decision she never wanted to make.
As both Keaton and Becks face new challenges and chapters, they are connected through time by the house on Sunset Lane, which has protected the secrets, hopes, and dreams of the women in their family for generations. For fans of Summer of ‘69 and The Notebook, A Happier Life explores the power of family, the bonds of friendship, and the boundless nature of love.