The Secret to Happiness (Cape Cod Creamery)

  • Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • Publisher: Revell
  • Available Now
  • Synopsis: After an egregious error costs her her position as an executive chef, Callie Dixon visits her “best cousin” Dawn and Auntie Marnie at the Cape Cod Creamery.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Phil. 4:8

Spiritual Themes

Overall, I would describe the faith content in this book as subtle, but very powerful. Compared to other books I’ve read by the author, the spiritual content was less overt, so I could see this book being enjoyed by secular readers. But, for Christian readers, it is a very easy to recognize the biblical basis of many of the book’s key themes. There is a ton of discussion about gratitude and the negative effect of allowing fear to control your life. And, we learn that the person dishing up so much helpful advice is a Christian.

Rather than unveiling a single “secret to happiness,” the author offers various principles, through the narrative. Although the Scripture isn’t necessarily quoted in the text, there is a clear biblical basis for the importance of gratitude (“give thanks in all circumstances,”) and the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2).

What I Liked

My mom and I first started reading books by Suzanne Woods Fisher back around 2018. We read The Bishop’s Family series at that point. Then back in October this year, we started reading a lot more of her books– and have now read most of her Amish fiction. We’ve spent many hours together as I read aloud, and Fisher is an author that the Lord consistently uses to speak to me.

The Secret to Happiness is my first contemporary novel by the author. (I suppose much of her Amish work could also be classified as contemporary, since it is set in the present, but that’s not how I would categorize it). Although this is the second book in the series, I jumped in and enjoyed the story. Based on the relationships in this book, it’s obvious that this is not a book one. However, while I’m sure I would have benefited from reading book one, I had no trouble reading this as a standalone.


As with her other books that I’ve read, The Secret to Happiness follows several people, with alternating sections from each main character’s perspective. Fisher does a fantastic job of crafting unique voices for each main character and depicting that character’s motivations and backstory.


Fisher does such an excellent job of integrating insightful truth in meaningful ways. Message is definitely the reason Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of my top five favorite contemporary authors, and the Lord strongly encouraged me through The Secret to Happiness. Rich with insight, the novel packs a powerful punch with its emphasis on gratitude and living in the moment. As was the case with Anything But Plain, there is so much practical advice and application. For instance, Callie gets into the habit of listing things things that make her feel good. This is such a meaningful practice!

As I mentioned in the themes section, although the tops are not usually accompanied by a Bible verse, they do have clear Scriptural backing. Because I am reading this as a Christian, I recognize the truth, beauty and validity of the practical components, since these are the same kinds of directives I read in Scripture.

While the overt faith content is lighter, it is definitely there (in discussion about whether things happen for a reason, for instance). I am glad for the ways that The Secret to Happiness sets itself apart from secular titles while at the same time being a fun read for Christian and non-Christian readers , alike. I feel that this is the sort of book that gently points readers to God, without shouts and fanfare.

I really like that Bruno refers to the sunrise as a “holy moment.” This is a gentle, but prevalent thread that points back to the Creator. Overall, this is a book I feel I could read again, and more for the message than for the plot.


Not applicable in terms of what I usually flag 🙂

Recommendation Status

This is another Suzanne Woods Fisher novel that I would highly recommend. The story is a cute contemporary romance, but I especially commend it on the basis of the truth-full and tangible advice it offers. Recommended to Christian and secular audiences.

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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