Happy Is on Hiatus

Montlake. Jul. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781542037839. pap. $12.95. F
The latest novel from Arthur (The After Party; “The Fabulous Golds” series) has convincing dialogue, compelling main characters, and well-developed secondary characters. It focuses on three Black American cousins who hang tough when they are enduring rough patches in their lives. Preacher’s daughter Rita McCall receives a phone call from her husband’s mistress, telling Rita she is carrying her husband’s child. Her adult daughters are not shy about voicing their opinions on the separation of their parents. Sharae is dealing with traumatic events from her childhood. Her father has died in jail and left her an inheritance she doesn’t want, and this is standing in the way of her beginning a romance with a new man—her father’s lawyer. Jemel is being pressured by her family to get married and have kids. She wants to find the balance between home and career that will work for her. Throughout it all, the three cousins hold each other up.
VERDICT Arthur writes strong female characters, compelling story lines, and the message that family always has your back. Her fluid writing with touches of humor, romance, and enough issues to keep things interesting will keep readers engaged. Will appeal to fans of Terry McMillan and Eric Jerome Dickey.
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