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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not light and fluffy
I am a loyal reader and ordered this on release day. Eleanor Bee is the main character and her story evolves from being a teenager in the middle of her parents divorce to Eleanor in her thirties as a successful woman in the publishing world. It addresses alcoholism very well as Eleanor is as much in denial about her mum's drink problem as her mother. The book shows the...
Published on 28 Jan. 2012 by Louread

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a favourite for me!
I read a book by Harriet Evans earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was looking forward to reading her latest book but wasn't prepared for the bumper book that landed on my doorstep. At 420 pages it's certainly a hefty book but that didn't put me off at all.

The book starts off early in Elle's life when she was a young girl and then quickly moves to...
Published on 15 Dec. 2011 by Best Crime Books


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a favourite for me!, 15 Dec. 2011
By 
Best Crime Books "Best Crime Books" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
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I read a book by Harriet Evans earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was looking forward to reading her latest book but wasn't prepared for the bumper book that landed on my doorstep. At 420 pages it's certainly a hefty book but that didn't put me off at all.

The book starts off early in Elle's life when she was a young girl and then quickly moves to her starting out her working life doing the one thing she loves; books! Elle is a character that if I am being honest I didn't warm to straight away. Her life is made so complicate by her incessant need to worry about everything. She comes across as a very naïve girl trying to make her way amongst the other more glamorous women working in publishing.

Her boss Rory was also a character that I didn't particularly like, although that didn't change throughout the book. The story was interesting and Harriet Evans writing style is very easy to read. However, the first part of the book was set in 1997 and then there was a jump to a few years later as we literally see Elle grow up.

As each section of the book takes us to a point further in Elle's life, I admit I liked her a little more, but her life itself left a lot to be desired. Some of the other characters in the book stuck around for longer than others but only one or two stuck out for me. Elle's friend Tom was a nice guy, as was Sam her flatmate, but the rest just didn't sit well with me.

The further into the book I got the more I enjoyed it, but towards the end which took place in 2008 over ten years later I felt like the story hadn't quite taken the turn I expected. The story held interest for me, and I actually liked the fact that we see Elle grow up but by the time I finished I wasn't quite sure how I felt.
Did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I read more of Harriet Evan books? Yes, definitely? Well then why was I still unsure? That I don't actually know, but can only say that maybe I felt something was missing. Overall a good read but certainly not a favourite for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure. Not a bad read, but holes throughout., 1 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
I've read all of Harriet Evans books and enjoyed them. I admit I'm a rom com book kind of gal and I don't mind a big book and this book is bigger than previous books, which I thought was great before I opened the pages.

The other reviews here take you through the plot so I won't to do that in more detail because you'll already have a gist of the story.

I will say I started enjoying the book but throughout it kept leaping years and I felt left characters hanging or simply by the time I'd got to the 2 x jump ahead, I'd forgotten who someone was who'd been mentioned before but the jumping forward years had just taken over.

The ending is a bit predictable and you can spot it fairly early but that's not a bad thing. I always enjoy the read getting to the point of them getting together.

All in all it's an okay read, I didn't find myself warming to any of the characters except Felicity maybe but I thought by the size of the book we'd cover more, not less and it has the feeling of someone editing and taking chunks out to avoid more pages which is sad and leaves you feeling like you missed out on the in between period, or the plot timing should have been different so you didn't have such big time gaps with missing information/plots.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not light and fluffy, 28 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
I am a loyal reader and ordered this on release day. Eleanor Bee is the main character and her story evolves from being a teenager in the middle of her parents divorce to Eleanor in her thirties as a successful woman in the publishing world. It addresses alcoholism very well as Eleanor is as much in denial about her mum's drink problem as her mother. The book shows the devastation this disease has on families and touches on the hereditary factor with Elle's grandfather having the same problem and Elle herself at one point. The guilt, secrecy and isolation associated with alcoholism is so well explored and so sad.

There is a wide cast of characters in the book from Rory, the son of her first boss who uses Elle to Tom the book shop owner who appears throughout the book as a solid friend. All characters help the story to evolve including Elle's colleagues and family. At times I wanted to shake Elle for being pathetic and doing silly things, but then I think it made her real and I could relate to her insecurities easily.

The ending was predictable in a way and I wasn't sure whether that was deliberate or not. It was good all the same.

This is not as easy a read as Harriet Evans' other books and I found it hard going at times. However, it is worth a read, but don't expect it to be light and fluffy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay plot with a too dim heroine, 1 Dec. 2014
By 
Ms. A. Brooke "Anne Brooke" (Godalming, Surrey) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I started off actually liking this well enough, as the set-up was very powerful. I particularly enjoyed Elle’s difficult relationship with her brother – that scene at the start when they’re children is simply brilliant. Sadly, we don’t stay in this childhood moment as we’re quickly tumbled into Elle as a young woman trying to make her way in the publishing world.

Entirely due to the great start, I was prepared to give Elle the benefit of the doubt and kept my determination going for a good 100 pages or so. Gradually it dawned on me that, no matter how much I tried to deny it as a reader, Elle is simply a doormat, and a dull one to boot. Sorry, but she just is. Yes, I know she’s a borderline alcoholic with an alcoholic mother, and surely medically depressed, but every time there’s a crisis she simply just keels over and agrees with whoever the strongest person in any particular scene is. I have to say it’s never her. If you want interesting depressive and/or alcoholic women in your fiction, you’re better off with Marian Keyes. However, there was one moment when I got rather excited because Elle was about to launch into a very justified row with her bitchy boss, but the moment said boss challenges her, Ellie gives in and just agrees. Sigh …

There’s also an allegedly torrid affair between her and another boss, Rory, whom she’s obsessive about but really I just didn’t believe anyone would be interested enough in her to bother. That goes for the on-off relationship with an ex-colleague too – and the moment when she realises (no serious spoilers here) that he’s fathered a child by someone else has to be one of the great clichés of romantic fiction – so clichéd that I couldn’t help but laugh uproariously. Sorry …

Then the storyline jumps again and we’re a few years on and she’s living and working in New York. Sadly she’s not any more interesting than she was in the UK and for the rest of the book, I did even more sighing. The relationships she has with the two possible men she’s supposed to be with are worryingly unrealistic, and indeed neither man is very nice or even interesting. As a result, the ending is nonsensical. Or would have been if I’d cared enough about what happens to her. If the novel had lost 150 pages or so, it might have been better as Elle wouldn’t have been so intensely boring and irritating. That said, the book covers she’s responsible for in her publishing job sound nice – maybe these pictures should have been included in the novel as they would certainly have been more riveting than our heroine. Oh well.

Verdict: 2 stars. Decent enough plot, but a too dim and unlikeable heroine
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another great read by Harriet Evans, 25 Jan. 2012
By 
jamie leigh (southampton, hampshire, uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
After reading all Harriet's books i wasn't disappointed, its starts of with Elle a young girl who loves reading and loves literature not being part of the popular crowd in school, and having a somewhat un-happy time at home she looses herself in her reading and escapes into the world in which she creates through literature. Elle grows up and moves to London on a mishion to become an Editor for a publishing company, she is quite happy to take what ever job is offered to her providing its in the world of publishing, luck is on Elle side when she lands a job as a secretary, for the last of the independent publishers Bluebird books ltd. Elle who believes in a good book, books that are worth publishing such as the greats like Jane Austin etc does not believe that happy ever after's really exist in the real word like they do in the novels she reads, having been brought up in a broken home with a drunk of a mother and careless father, she has never felt that security or family love that many know. Elle falls in love many a time but never seems to find that right person, she works her way up in her career and becomes a career women living in new York ignoring all the problems back at home in the UK. She find herself being the person she has always wanted to be, she discovers she is good with men and lusted over in the USA. She feels superior and important she discovers a person she never thought she could be. But like all things Elle soon had to face the UK and all the things she left behind, she visits her family and her mother who she loves so dearly, to find that she is still drinking, Elle comes home from a wedding one night to find her mother dead after drinking herself into such a state her body could no longer cope, after years of abuse and hurt her mother was gone. Elle blames herself and moves back to the USA where she gets engaged. Will Elle find her happily ever after? well that is for you to find out this book was really enjoyable and i could not put it down, i learn so much not just about the characters but about the world of literature, publishing and great novels. It has also inspired me to read Venetia by Georgette Heyer a author i have not herd of but one i wish to expand my knowledge of. As this book becomes of importance to Elle after being given it by her Boss Felicity. A book Elle carrys with her for years. This book by Georgette Heyer becomes part of her life and i suppose pert of her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely heartwarmer, 21 Jan. 2012
By 
D. Brown "Blogging at Tweedling, avid reader ... (West Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
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I love Harriet Evans. Ever since I read 'A Hopeless Romantic' (and pretty much grinned all the way through it) I have kept an eye on her writing. So when I had the opportunity to review Happily Ever After, I was pretty thrilled.

Eleanor Bee wants to work with books and when she lands a job working at a publishing house, she gets her wish. She also gets some other things that she didn't bargain for, including an affair with her boss, the man of her dreams. Sadly, Rory isn't quite the man she thought he was. Or perhaps it's fairer to say that he is the man she thought he was - but hoped he wasn't.

I don't like spoilers so I'll try not to give too much way. Suffice to say that given that this is romantic fiction, there's a certain amount of prescriptive plotting: the misunderstandings, the rows that could so easily be averted, the 'one' who isn't the one, the 'one' who is the one but at the wrong time.

While Happily Ever After didn't leave me quite so gushing and warm inside as 'A Hopeless Romantic', nonetheless it was a wonderful read. At one point I really wasn't sure how it was going to end and wondered if I'd totally misread the cues. Thankfully I was left with the happily ever after that I wanted, albeit with a slightly more adult tinge than the fairy tales. Evans writes 'real life' romance at its best. It's gritty, not always straightforward, not always easy reading but always, always with something to make your heart flutter.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation. All opinions are my own.**
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fab read for a cold winter's day, 20 Jan. 2012
By 
Sharon (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
The book tells the story of Eleanor Bee, or Elle as she prefers, over a twenty year period as she makes the transition from a teenager caught in the crossfire of her parents divorce, her subsequent move to London in her twenties and landing her dream job of working in the publishing industry plus the highs and lows that follow in both her professional and personal lives.

Elle falls into her job at Bluebird Books quite literally after scouring the job adverts and coming up empty but then spots an advert for a secretary at an independent publisher in the wrong section of a local newspaper. Over the years we get to see Elle blossom, through hard work and dedication as she works her way up the career ladder, from a meek secretary to a confident and successful editor in New York.

This book is not all sweetness and light though as we do get to see glimpses of the relationships between Elle and her family, especially the impact that her mother's drinking has had on her life, plus her lack of success in finding the perfect man to achieve her own happy ever after.

I loved the fact that this book is centred around Elle's love of books and working in the book industry as this is actually a rarity these days. We all love to read books but there are not that many novels that have books, or the book industry, as a theme within the storyline. I can only think of couple of fiction books off the top of my head that are based around books.

This is actually the first Harriet Evans book that I've actually read, although I do have a couple of her previous books in my massive tbr pile, so I'm going to set myself another target to find these in the boxes and dig them out to read this year as I hope they'll be as enjoyable to read as this one was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bridget Jones with fewer jokes, 9 April 2013
I liked this book, it was a clever, knowing take on the Bridget Jones genre and romance novels in general, with Elle, a fan of the books coming of age in the Nineties and Noughties. Well written and absorbing with some great set pieces like the Jane-Austen themed wedding.

My only misgiving was that the book's ending was the fairytale one, that the novel's subtext kept stressing doesn't actually exist. I know readers want that, but this reader would have preferred Elle to have ended up with a less obvious candidate. I'm avoiding spoilers but the stuff about Tom and his girlfriend was veeeery lame and could be seen coming a hundred miles off. Still, a very enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happily ever after, 16 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans.
This is the 2nd book that I have read by Harriet Evans and I really enjoyed the whole story.
It follows Elle throughout her post uni life from getting her first job in publishing and drops in to catch up on her over the next 10 or 12 years of her life.
As with Hopeless Romantic I found myself wishing she would just get on with it and hurry up and be with the obvious man of her life far earlier in the book. All the dithering around thinking she wasn't good enough or right for him was very frustrating!
Overall an enjoyable chick lit novel, I'd be quite happy to read a sequel which I think is a sign of a good story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 6 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Happily Ever After (Paperback)
I have to disagree with a lot of the reviews on here. Out of the fair few books I've read since I've got back into reading lately, this is easily one of the best. I thought that Elle's character was believable, in fact I felt that I could relate to her in some ways. I enjoyed following Elle's journey and I loved the little twists and turns that ensued as I really did not expect them to happen, especially in the case of her relationships. I think Elle made the right decisions and I felt that the ending wrapped up the story well. Overall a fantastic book, this is the first of Harriet's books I've read and I can't wait to get my hands on the others.
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Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans (Paperback - 19 Jan. 2012)
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