Book Review: The Way Back to Happiness – Elizabeth Bass

Title: The Way Back to Happiness
Author: Elizabeth Bass
ISBN: 9780758281425
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher & Author
Rating: 4 out of 5


When Bev Putterman learns that her sister Diana has died, she’s sad. Though she and Diana had a falling out years ago, Bev still keenly feels the loss of her sister. It’s up to Bev to take in her teenage niece, Alabama, but it becomes difficult when Alabama makes clear that she’d rather be anywhere than with her estranged aunt.


The Way Back to Happiness is the story of Bev and Alabama Putterman, and how they put aside their differences in order to become family. Alabama is extremely difficult when the novel begins. It’s clear that her mother turned her against her aunt over the years, and it’s important to remember that while reading or readers may dislike her. But over the course of the novel, Alabama grows and changes, coming to understand what her aunt has been through and seeing that no one is perfect.

Bev is a great character in The Way Back to Happiness. She’s a home ec teacher, which makes her position unique. It’s a class that’s considered outdated, yet Bev teaches her students about important life skills, such as how to manage money. Bev has always wanted something more for herself, though, and readers will ache for her as she tries to find happiness. She has wide and vast dreams, but life has taught her not to want too much because most ambitions aren’t achievable.

The story of The Way Back to Happiness is generally predictable, though the mystery behind the Putterman sisters’ past will keep readers guessing. Readers will enjoy getting to know both Alabama and Bev as they navigate their difficult relationship. It’s rewarding to watch them slowly become family, to come to trust and depend on one another. This would make a great summer read for the pool or on the beach.

Other books by Elizabeth Bass:

Miss You Most of All
Wherever Grace is Needed

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