The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley, Courtney Walsh

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley Review

In The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley, Courtney Walsh explores happiness. Specifically, what we can do to be happy.

Isadora lives a solitary existence, one she’s convinced herself is a choice. But on her thirtieth birthday, she spots an article about thirty-one ways to be happy and decides to conduct her own research to prove the author wrong. Imagine her surprise when she begins to connect with other people as a result of her experiment.

Is there a secret to happiness? Can you really find it by following a few steps?

These are the questions Isadora attempts to answer as she conducts her personal research.

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley was a delight to read with laugh-out-loud funny moments tempered by introspective and poignant ones.

As Isadora completes the thirty-one steps to happiness, we learn as she does that happiness is a choice. There are things each of us can do to increase our happiness, just as there are things we can do to reduce our unhappiness.

I adored Isadora’s friends. Each of them had a characteristic that the lonely researcher needed to become her best self.
Her romance with Cal began as a friendship before evolving into so much more. The reader is clearly able to see how Cal feels about Isadora as the relationship blooms.

The faith element was light, but readers will be reminded that we were called to be lights in a dark world. Each of us has a role to play.

Readers will also be reminded that not everyone will understand or appreciate us. Rather, each of us will find “our people” if we let down our walls long enough to let them in.

If you enjoy socially awkward heroines or found family, check out The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley.

I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher through NetGalley; a positive review was not required.

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About The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley

She’s out to prove that there’s no such thing as choosing happiness.

Isadora Bentley follows the rules. Isadora Bentley likes things just so. Isadora Bentley believes that happiness is something that flat-out doesn’t exist in her life—and never will.

As a university researcher, Isadora keeps to herself as much as possible. She avoids the students she’s supposed to befriend and mentor. She stays away from her neighbors and lives her own quiet, organized life in her own quiet, organized apartment. And she will never get involved in a romantic relationship again—especially with another academic. It will be just Isadora and her research. Forever.

But on her thirtieth birthday, Isadora does something completely out of character. The young woman who never does anything “on a whim” makes an impulse purchase of a magazine featuring a silly article detailing “Thirty-One Ways to Be Happy”—which includes everything from smiling at strangers to exercising for endorphins to giving in to your chocolate cravings. Isadora decides to create her own secret research project—proving the writer of the ridiculous piece wrong.

As Isadora gets deeper into her research—and meets a handsome professor along the way—she’s stunned to discover that maybe, just maybe, she’s proving herself wrong. Perhaps there’s actually something to this happiness concept, and possibly there’s something to be said for loosening up and letting life take you somewhere . . . happy.

• Christian women’s fiction

• Stand-alone novel

• Book length: 100,000 words

• Perfect for fans of Rachel Linden, Gail Honeyman, and Linda Holmes

• Includes discussion questions for book clubs

Purchase The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About Courtney Walsh

Courtney Walsh is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of sixteen novels. She writes small town romance and women’s fiction while juggling the performing arts studio and youth theatre she owns and runs with her husband. Courtney is a Carol award winner and Christy Award finalist who has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children and a sometimes naughty Bernedoodle named Luna.

Connect with Courtney online at her website ( or on any of these social media platforms:

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