The first book in the Seeking Happily Ever After series, How Do You Know? is Meredith Schorr’s latest offering, published in December 2014. It combines likeable characters, an engaging story, and a continuously moving plot that will keep readers going well into the night. Its only weakness is the unsatisfying exploration of the all-important question of contentment. That part of the story seems at time diluted to make place for more “chick flick” like conversations.
At thirty-nine, Maggie Piper doesn’t feel much different than she did ten years ago. But with the big 4-0 looming, she wonders if she should. Should she take the leap with her loving and easy relationship with long-time boyfriend Doug to settle down like more of her friends? Or should she listen to the nagging voice in her head that tells her that the relationship is just too normal, too easy, for it to remain exciting? She ends up spontaneously requesting Doug for a temporary break to figure things out, but things spiral out of control when he breaks things off—permanently. And so, Maggie finds herself single, embarking on a journey that will teach her that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.
The author takes us on a ride as Maggie learns not to take things for granted, and that her ideas of what love and her life should be like don’t compare to how they actually are—or, at least, were. Maggie’s decision to take a break from her loving, longstanding, and comfortable relationship with her boyfriend because it doesn’t seem exciting enough is a very important topic well worth exploring in depth. It often feels like we are encouraged to live in constant discontent. We are told, by the movies that are released, the songs that are produced, and the books that are published, that the stories worth telling are dramatic ones. Romantic movies are based on the stories of dramatic relationships, the difficult ones that defy or even succumb to the odds. But not many—if any!—are about marriages that work, ironically enough, the ones that we yearn for. But as mentioned above, this topic was not explored in depth, but I’m hoping that the next books in the series will build on the conversation in a long-term analysis through fiction of the true meaning of happiness.
But other than that, How Do You Know? is well written and engaging. It draws you early on and doesn’t let go until you turn the last page. Maggie is both frustrating in some her decisions but likeable for the spirit she displays. Her friends and family are also quite likeable, presenting a plethora of temperaments, characters, and experience that add a certain level of complexity to the story. Author Meredith Schorrr balances out authenticity with entertainment making for a satisfying read, despite the superficial exploration of one of its central themes. More information about the author is available on her official website. She is also active on Twitter and on Facebook.