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Publisher's Summary

From the bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners comes a novel about love, loss, and the beautiful mess of family.

Marnie MacGraw and Patrick Delaney have been in love for a few years now, enough to realize that they are imperfectly perfect together. Still, there are some things that maybe need a little attention. Marnie’s ebullient; he’s brooding. She thrives on change; he prefers stability. She sees marriage and parenthood in their future, but he can’t see beyond the shadow of an earlier tragedy.

Then an eight-year-old surprise from Patrick’s past shows up on their doorstep, cartwheeling into their lives and spinning things in all directions. While it’s not exactly the change she envisioned, it looks like instant family to Marnie. But Patrick, afraid of being hurt again, retreats further into himself. Suddenly, two very different pieces of a beautiful puzzle find it harder and harder to fit. How can Marnie trust in the magic of the universe when it seems to be doing its best to knock her off her feet?

But some love stories are worth waiting for. And what’s love without a little chaos anyway?

©2020 Maddie Dawson. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Dawson has created a truly quirky story, filled with a little bit of magic (think unicorn glitter and sparkles) and a lot of love.... An optimistic, feel-good story that celebrates love, community, goodness, and the creation of family, however it might appear.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Alive with action, compelling and evolving characters, and screwball comedy, Dawson’s latest will appeal to readers looking for a story that is both pleasurable and substantial. Personal growth is achieved by overcoming obstacles, and the ending is honest and satisfying.” (Booklist)

What listeners say about A Happy Catastrophe

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Miserable catastrophe...

Everything about this book was a total waste of my time. First, the narration - bed pronounced bad; head is had...so annoying. The main character was self-absorbed, stupid and dull. The plot was non-existent. Three more hours of this when I regained my sanity and pulled the plug. If you want to go on a downer, this will do it.

2 people found this helpful

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I wish I had read it instead of listening to it.

I don't like the narrator. Everytime I listen to a book read by this woman, I wonder why people keep hiring her. Every sentence ends in a tone that seems wrong.

The book was good but I liked the one previous better.

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Cannot Stand Narrator

Voice she uses for main character is incredibly irritating - smug Valley Girl who over-enunciates “r” sounds? - and spoiled book for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Not as good as the first one

I loved Happiness for Beginners, so I was very excited for the sequel. Unfortunately I was sincerely let down. It dragged on, was repetitive, and honestly wasn’t of the same story type as the first one. I thought Marnie’s mom’s story was completely unnecessary and made the book much longer than it should have been. Once her story arc was done I actually enjoyed the book...unfortunately that was pretty late. The narrator did an excellent job and is pretty much the only reason I finished.

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Funny, heartwarming and modern

This book totally snuck up on me and hooked me into the characters and plot and subplots before I realized what was happening. I was just listening on and then found myself laughing and crying and cheering and basically trying to imagine my life before my mind was opened up by the author to viewing life and relationships from the perspective of the main characters. How refreshing and wonderful and real and at the end of the day, positive about the human connections we form and the way they enrich our lives.

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One of my favorites!

There is something about this story, including the first book, that I absolutely love. It’s original, fun, upbeat, and the reader is amazing!

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Love this book!!!

Loved the ending... The the first book! The Maddie Dawson! Highly recommend if you like love stories 😉

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This was what I needed

I just loved this book. It exemplifies life - the messiness and love and glory of it all. Exactly what I needed during these uncertain and scary times.

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emotional roller-coaster

funny, tender and surprising. as well as seeing universal relationship truths, I experienced a full range of emotions listening to this book. it made me a bit bereft when it ended because I hadn't enjoyed such a good book in a while. very minimal swearing too which was nice🙂

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So glad this was a read & listen freebie

The premise: "Let's pester and nag this poor, scarred introvert into fathering a baby" was just WRONG. The high, giggly, persistently upbeat voice of the wannabe mother drove me round the bend, and for the sake of my sanity I abandoned the book just as the two protagonists were getting a surprise dumped on them. No good, in my opinion, could come from that.

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  • jocou
  • 06-19-20

Big mistake

Something must have appealed as to why I gave this unknown author (to me)
A try , the narrative is by an American with the most awful annoying twang , and I love the USA, two chapters I made the biggest mistake in my book reading career!
Having bought the audible version probably did not help , and I really cannot make the effort to see if the writer is narrator as well.
You can’t win them all ! Just wish I had given the money to charity .