It took me a while to get into Happy Endings, but once Trixie and Andre got going, so did my reading. Happy Endings is a second chance romance set in my favorite city, Washington DC. There was a lot I liked in this book, but I have to point out that Thien-Kim Lam does a stellar job with the sex toys. It’s unusual to see a lot of sex toy use outside of erotic romance, and it’s even more unusual to see sex toys used well. Trixie’s job is selling sex toys, and between talking about her work, and the public and private demonstrations, toys are woven into the story in a refreshing way. Trixie normalizes their use, making them sexy but not salacious.
Trixie and Andre had dated and even lived together in New Orleans until Andre broke up with Trixie by post it note and then disappeared. They reunite when Trixie agrees to hold a sex toy pop up store at a soul food restaurant during a bachelorette party. The restaurant is owned by Andre and his sister, Keisha. Trixie has disappointed her Vietnamese immigrant parents by dropping out of pharmacy school and further horrified them by selling sex toys. Trixie’s goal is to open her own sex toy shop. Andre’s goal is to keep the restaurant his mother started going in a gentrifying neighborhood. Both are trying to balance their own lives with familial expectations.
Second chance romances have some built in pitfalls. Having failed at romance once before, what has changed to make us believe the main characters will succeed a second time? About a quarter of the way in, I started to see why Trixie had loved Andre, but recovering from a break up by post it note is a hard sell. Andre has a lot to overcome in this book – learning to be a better communicator and partner, saving his restaurant, keeping his sister in school, and battling gentrification. I could have done with less of Andre’s pain, but Lam built such a charming cast of characters, I enjoyed the book overall.
- Trixie is awesome.
- Trixie and Andre are great together when he gets out of his own head.
- Sex toys, as discussed above.
- The food, dear god the food. I desperately want a fusion soul/Vietnamese restaurant now.
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.