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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Happily Whatever After’
by Stewart Lewis
Book Beginnings
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts


This is a weekly meme, for all you ‘First Page Browsers’

Cover image of the book 'Happily Whatever After' by author Stewart Lewis





“It was a well-groomed Scottie dog that first attracted me to what I called the Elite Dog Park, a mound of Astroturf in the shape of an elongated triangle tucked into a trendy section of the city near Dupont Circle. I was walking around aimlessly on an early spring day, and I noticed the dog’s owner, dressed in a three-piece suit, cream on cream, right out of The Great Gatsby. He pulled out a shiny silver bowl from his leather briefcase and poured the Scottie some Pellegrino from the signature green bottle. The dog took a few licks and then smiled, as if all the other dogs were so beneath him, drinking (gasp) tap water that flowed from a little fountain in the corner of the park. What surprised me the most was that all the other dog owners didn’t seem to notice. Perhaps they’d seen it before? I found my mouth agape, and I was magnetically drawn through the double wrought iron gates.

Of course, I didn’t know that would be the day that changed everything. After four years of the disaster that was my relationship with Jack, I had also recently lost my job in New York City and moved in with my brother, Brady, in DC, where he was a trending restaurateur. His apartment, which he rarely spent any time in, was a modern penthouse in Logan Circle. It was super chic, with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms, and a wraparound terrace. I showed up there jobless, penniless, single, and quickly approaching my mid-thirties. I would say it was the hands of fate, but they felt more like claws.

After another few licks of the Pellegrino, the Scottie just sat at his owner’s feet, blinking slowly and looking around the park at the other dogs, which were mostly in a state of chaotic bliss. This little canine couldn’t be bothered, and Gatsby had a similar expression, glancing at the vintage Rolex on his tanned wrist. He was tall and quarterback-handsome, probably in his mid-forties. I wondered if he was straight. I tried to imagine myself as his educated wife, spending my time throwing parties for charities, procuring art for billionaires, lunching at the club, aging gracefully in our beach house….”

Cover image of the book 'Happily Whatever After' by author Stewart Lewis

So, you have taken a look, will you read the book?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Just to give you an extra helping hand, here is the book’s premise …


Cover image of the book 'Happily Whatever After' by author Stewart LewisA dark comedy about putting yourself in unexpected places, reaching for your dreams, and believing in second chances.

Thirtysomething Page was content with her life in New York City—until it went to the dogs. Unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend of four years and fired from her art gallery job in the same week, she flees to Washington, DC, and moves in with her big brother. She hopes the new setting and familial comfort will help her finally find her bearings. What Page finds instead is an unlikely refuge: a park for the neighborhood’s poshest pooches, and a quirky pack of companionable dog-run regulars who become fast friends.

Both four-legged and two-, these new allies offer Page a world of possibilities. The woman who hit rock bottom now has dreams: of having her own business, getting her own place, and even wilder ones about the ruggedly handsome owner of a vineyard and two equally fetching Bernese mountain dogs.

Unleashed from all that once held her back, Page finds everything might be falling into place. But just when she thinks her life is headed in the right direction, the road takes a sharp turn to show her just how unpredictable second chances can be. Will Page get her happily ever after? Is there even such a thing?

Witty, smartly funny, and modernly romantic, Happily Whatever After shows us all that sometimes imperfect can still be good enough.


Image of author Stewart Lewis

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You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers.

There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered, and you never know when that ‘must read’ book might appear!


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Yes, I would definitely read on, Yvonne. I love the sound of it and it’s well written too. ‘I would say it was the hands of fate, but they felt more like claws.’ Can’t you just picture that? I’m going to pop over to Amazon and have a look at it (I assume it’s out?) The other attraction is that it’s Washington DC and I don’t have that city for my personal US challenge.

    I hope all is well with you? Peter hasn’t been too good this week so I’ve been a bit worried and distracted. He’s better today so I can get my derriere into gear again hopefully.

    • Hi Cath,

      I am so sorry to hear that Peter had a few bad days and I hope that he has now turned the corner and will start to feel a little better.

      Dave took a really funny turn one evening last week and took himself off to bed at 8pm all dosed up with cold and flu like symptoms, amazing because he hadn’t been out anywhere and I have been feeling fine. I must admit we were both a bit worried, but he woke up the following morning as if nothing had happened – strange but very welcome!!

      We have just come back from NT Stourhead, one of their properties newly re-opened. We were both a little sceptical, however it all went very smoothly with one way systems clearly marked and plenty of staff on hand if needed. We had a most enjoyable walk and as it is literally only 15 minutes up the road from us, I didn’t even need to risk using the toilets!!

      They then did rather spoil it by saying that as the trial had gone so well this week, they are hoping to double the amount of people they let in from next week. That will probably rule us out from making a return visit anytime soon, as I think the situation is still far from normal, as much as the politicians would like it to be!

      Anyway, back to the business in hand … I think this book would be a nice easy little read to fill a gap in your challenge board and if you are a NetGalley member you can still grab yourself a ‘Read Now’ freebie download!

      Stewart has mostly written books for the older teen / YA market previously, to great acclaim. Although to be honest, the lines between YA and adult fiction are so blurred these days, that if you weren’t told which was which beforehand, you would probably be hard pushed to tell the difference.

      I have read a couple of ‘gangster’ thrillers back to back and whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed them, a nice little easy going break with this book, will be good for me.

      Take Care of one another and I hope that all continues to go well for you. Are you able to extend your ‘bubble’ this week? 🙂

    • Hi Marg,

      Thanks for stopping by. It has been an age since we last spoke and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

      It sounds like one very small pooch, with a big attitude and opinion of himself!

      Mind you, they do say that dogs are a reflection of their owners in appearance and mannerisms and anyone who carries a dog bowl around in their briefcase, definitely has an air of their own importance!

      The fact this strange dog-ruled owner, wears a cream three-piece suit, like some throwback to the 1970s, is intriguing enough, but that Page, an independent woman of the 00s, can immediately see herself as his even more domesticated wife, is totally hilarious!

      This book is definitely going to pass a few hours of not having to concentrate too closely, bliss!

  • The descriptive opening lines pulled me right into the world of this “single, broke, bitter” woman, but the way she showed us the world around her made me think that she would be fine. She had a way of viewing her surroundings that seemed to put a special sheen on things. The Gatsby-like man in the dog park, the dog, and even her brother’s penthouse. Everything felt possible, to me.

    I would want to read this one. Here’s mine: “YOU CAN’T CATCH ME”

    • Hi Lorraine,

      I agree, that if this the descriptive style of just the Chapter titles, then the rest of the narrative is shaping up to be even better. I do like a book to have a strong storyline and well developed characters, however I personally, also like to get caught up in some detailed descriptive narrative, so that I am able to see and feel what the characters can and become a part of their story.

      Contemporary rom coms are not my usual fare, however I am certain the pages will soon whizz by and I do like to keep my hand in with reading as many different genres as possible, as every story takes a journey full of possibilities, which I am keen to explore!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend 🙂

  • Not my typical genre, I have mixed thoughts about this one. The writing sounds good, but I’m always a little turned off by name-dropping (Rolex, etc.). Of course I realize it’s necessary to set the stage in the story. I am drawn to the dog aspect, but country folks that we are, I have no experience with dog parks or the need to socialize my dogs with others (we have plenty in our own pack for that!). I’ll just have to see what you think of it in the long run.

    • Hi Kelly,

      You know yourself, that this is not a genre I would be interested in reading on a regular basis. However I do have very eclectic reading habits and I am quite prepared and happy to switch genres if I need to.

      I think that typically country dog owners are and act much differently to their ‘townie’ counterparts. My SIL is a dog walker and runs a ‘doggie hotel’ and some of the ways she has to treat the animals in her care, is quite frankly ridiculous.

      The man in the cream suit is also a bit of an enigma in today’s society, surely? I can always remember a few years back, we had over here, a very eccentric former war reporter, turned independent politician, turned British UNICEF Ambassador, called Martin Bell, who always wore a cream suit and still does today. He has nothing else in common with the Adonis in Page’s world, except maybe his eccentricity.

      This is definitely the right moment for a little light relief and ‘Happily Whatever After’ may be just what I need 🙂

    • Hi Anne,

      It is a great title, although, believe it or not, it is a real pain to remember. Every time I have put this book into a post so far, I have written ‘Happily Ever After’, then had to go back and correct it!

      I wonder if my version of the title is just wishful thinking?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate your visits 🙂

    • Hi Gilion,

      I do wonder how much imagination goes into this genre of fiction and how much in any way the storylines reflect the true nature of young lives today?

      Either way, I am beginning to feel completely out of touch, when I look back on some of the early Mills & Boon stories I read in my late teens.

      ‘Happily Whatever After’ is certain to be a fun way to pass some of the tedious lockdown time!

      Thanks for hosting BBOF 🙂

Written by Yvonne