From the author of Hip to Be Square comes an urban tale of Libby Hawthorne, whose life seems to be going the wrong direction. She creates trip itineraries but never travels. She wants to attend church but winds up at a bookstore on Sundays. She longs for a love attraction yet settles for a “like” distraction.
But when Libby receives a demotion instead of her overdue promotion, she vows to start living intentionally. Yet just when she is trying to be authentic, she is asked to keep a huge secret to redeem her career. Will a genuine life ever be within reach? And will Libby ever have enough faith to believe that happiness can be found in the detours.
“I love the mix of reality with larger than life situations in Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It got better on every page, and I loved how everything comes together in the end. It’s like a Christian answer to The Devil Wears Prada.”
Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Hope Lyda
Harvest House Publishers (2007)
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for Reader Views (3/07)
Libby Hawthorne is “faking life.” “She doesn’t know her purpose.” Every Sunday without meaning to she ends up at the “80 Days Used Bookstore.” She searches through books planning trips that she never takes. Libby is logical, but doesn’t think she’s particularly creative. She has a routine that rarely changes. Those that know her find it easy to anticipate what she will do. She visits the same restaurant and orders the same carry out.
Libby lives in Seattle and works for Reed and Dunson Public Relations. She was eagerly anticipating a promotion, but instead, she is demoted. She is told she can be an assistant to Blaine, a new employee. This event in her life wakes her up to the reality that she is not accomplishing anything. “I thought I was doing pretty well, but then I had this weird feeling as though I was missing something big in my life.” “Before this demotion I had really wanted my situation to be fair. I wanted someone to recognize my hard work and honor me for it. And I wanted freedom—to see you, to see the world, to see a paycheck that allowed me to afford my apartment.”
Sister Madeleine, Libby’s aunt and a former nun, is an encourager. She left her order to live in a small Croatian Village where she finds “sacred in the ordinary.” “You Libby have wisdom. The beautiful thing is that you understand you need God’s wisdom to get to that place of fulfillment.” “The other thing at play is what keeps you from all of it—faith, happiness, a sense of self, and contentment.”
“Before he had experienced God’s swift help in his affairs, he had attempted to plan every detail, doing the job in his own strength. Now, though, acting with childlike simplicity in God’s sight, he did everything for the love of God, thanking Him for His guidance. Everything he did passed calmly, in a way that held him close to the loving presence of God.”
Sometimes what we think is a terrible event ends up being an excellent opportunity
“Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness” by Hope Lyda is a delightful book. The characters are well defined. Libby is like most of us wondering why she’s here and where she’s going. Mr. Diddle is one of my favorite characters. He’s optimistic “with the stature and attitude of a leprechaun.” His hound dog, Nomad, follows Libby throughout the store as she explores the “Nooks and crannies of the world of literature.” Hudson describes him as belonging in a “fairytale.” We all need a Sister Madeleine in our life, someone to encourage us. Libby is searching for faith and happiness, but like all of us, she doesn’t always find it by following her own plan. Sometimes the path to happiness takes us where we least expect it. I love this book and couldn’t put it down until I’d read every word. Well-done, Ms. Lyda. It is with great honor that I highly recommend this book to everyone.
“Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness is a captivatingly fun read. Hope Lyda has the ability to combine faith with real life, making it accessible in a way to which anyone can relate. The fast–paced, clever plot lines combine humor and romance amidst an urban chic setting. It captures the heart and style of living in Seattle.”