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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, a shopping delight
My sister bought me this book for Christmas and I started reading it on New Year's eve.

I loved this book. Kate Harrison hooks you into the story from the first page and the three main characters are people you grow to care about very much, and I loved the fact that I could relate to Emily's personality. I think all the readers will find that they too can...
Published on 22 Jan 2009 by A Reader

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Have read better
I have read A LOT of chicklits in my time. Some good and some bad and unfortunately this one fell in the bad category.
When I read the synopsis of the book I thought it sounded quite interesting and that there was a good basis for a story there, however I was disappointed and it didn't live up to my expectations. The plot was very predictable and could be rather slow...
Published on 4 Feb 2009 by E. Siney


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, a shopping delight, 22 Jan 2009
My sister bought me this book for Christmas and I started reading it on New Year's eve.

I loved this book. Kate Harrison hooks you into the story from the first page and the three main characters are people you grow to care about very much, and I loved the fact that I could relate to Emily's personality. I think all the readers will find that they too can relate to one of the three heroines.

The story centres around Emily, a mother who longs to bring a bit of excitement into her dull life. Sandie, a single woman who works in retail and is very organised and yet due to something that happens beyond her control has to change her life around and Grazia, an elegant widow who on the surface seems to have a life free from worries but looks can be deceptive.

These three are the secret shopping angels, who together are given assignments by the mysterious Charlie, some of which are heavent sent, some are just hell.

I found I couldn't put this book down, I was longing to find out exactly what happened to each of the ladies as the story unfolded and I found this book to be extremely touching and amusing although not laugh out loud funny and really well written.

I bought a copy of the book for my sister and we ended up reading the book at the same time, enjoying talking together about all the different things that happened in the book.

I would definitely recommend this book and have given it 5 stars, however I have to say and my sister agreed with me that the ending of the book was rather rushed, as if the publisher had told the author to finish the book at that stage so the last chapter of the book was the weakest I felt and although this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book, I would have loved the book to have been a bit longer so that we could have found out what happened to two of the characters as the final chapter centred around only one of the characters which was a bit of a shame.

However, that aside, I am longing now to read more of Kate Harrison as I think she could be my new favourite author of the year. A wonderful book that I know other readers will enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best harrison book yet!, 22 July 2008
i REALLY loved this book, and stayed up far too late reading it. right from the set up to the very last page it's a pacy and satisfying and sometimes romantic read. i found all three female protagonists very likeable, yet realistic with their faults and foibles, and was gunning for them all - each of them was my favourite at some point in the story and each of them undergoes a huge change in the course of the novel.
the change in narrative voice really kept me engrossed and wanting to know what was happening with the other characters.

of course, it's a very identifiable subject, shopping, and any woman could relate to the experiences of the three secret shoppers. kate harrison makes being a secret shopper sound fun - i wonder if there'll be big increase in applications over the next few months?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up All Night, 28 Dec 2008
If I had realised that this book was written by the person responsible for the agony that was Brown Owls Guide to Life I would never have picked it up (had a terrible three day conference accompanied only by "Brown Owl..."; I was reduced to reading other delegates disgarded copies of "The Daily Mail"). However, I am very glad that I didn't notice...

This is one of those chick lit novels that I kept thinking "I could write this" and no doubt I would if I was funny, clever and wise. The three main female characters share all of the usual chick lit characterists (ambitious, unlucky in love, dreamy etc,) but the fast paced, retail based romantic story line makes the reader fall in love with them anyway.

The thing that really pulled me in was that the story began at Christmas, in a way that everyone can relate to. We all want the perfect Christmas don't we - especially the Nigella style one (floating around beautifully decorated shops being feted by charming assistants as we choose delicate and adorable trinkets for our beloved friends and family before going home to a handsome lover who is preparing a sophisticated drinks party for our glamorous friends in our shabby chic house)and the reality is usually nothing like that. The reality is usually better, but it doesn't stop us dreaming, and it was this that makes this book so appealing.

Does have a whiff of "Shopaholic" (chick lit fans will understand) but I guess this is because of the retail setting, and it is no worse for it.

I started reading at lunch time yesterday, read through the majority of the night (I am normally sparked out by 10.30pm)and have just put it down. With a great, big fat grin on my face...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful shopping book!, 24 Feb 2009
By 
What a great idea for a book! As someone who has worked in shops, I know all about secret shoppers, so to read a book following three of them was wonderful! The story follows Emily, with her gorgeous baby boy Freddie, who has been left by her husband Duncan, but who still tries to control and manipulate her; Sandie, who loved her job in retail until Marsha set out to destroy everything for her - including the loss of her job, her replacement job and flat; and Grazia, a widow with an artist husband who left no will but a mountain of debt. She faces the choice - how will she survive, sell the house or the paintings? All three embark on secret shopping, as Charlie's Shopping Angels, where they meet the lovely Will...

Well I really enjoyed this book. All the angels were great, I liked all three of them and wanted the best for all of them. Of course, my favourite character was baby Freddie, he just seemed adorable, especially when he started walking and talking. I loved how friendships were formed and how plans were plotted to help each other. And I loved the ending. Predictible but fantastic :-) I even loathed some of the horrid characters, including Duncan and Marsha. I wanted karma to come and get them. For me, a sign of a good book is when I get involved with the characters and develop feelings for them - whether positive or negative, and that happened in this book.

I felt the idea of "Charlie and his Angels" - including how he chose to communicate with them - in disguise through a web-cam was a little cheesy, but that was my only complaint.

We see endless amounts of shopping, strength of character, friendships develop, secrets revealed, revenge taken and people falling into love. An all round great book - especially if you like shopping!

9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable chick lit, 22 Dec 2008
By 
JM (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
As an ex-chicklit fan I generally read more crime thesedays but occasionally feel like a bit of light reading and so picked this book up the other day. Usually I'm left a bit disappointed by this sort of book but this one was pretty good from start to finish, very amusing and enjoyable. As ever with this type of book, the outcome is fairly predictable, but this one at least takes you on a pleasant and very funny journey to get there. Definitely recommended for chicklit fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking shopping secrets, 3 Feb 2009
By 
SilentSinger (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Having read one of Kate Harrison's previous books I chose this one with interest and I haven't been disappointed. It's the story of three women - Emily: who's a single mum to a baby and has been dumped by her errant husband; Sandie: a department store manager who's been stitched up by her deputy and Grazia: an Italian widow of a contemporary artist. Each woman's story is told in first person narrative and they are all brought together when down-on-her-luck Grazia recruits Emily and Sandie as the mysterious 'Charlie's' Shopping Angels who seek out malpractice in the retail trade.

I really enjoyed reading this book and it cheered up my daily commute considerably and because of the structure, it's easy to pick it up and read a chapter at a time. My only bugbear with it was the character of Emily really grated on me after a while and as the majority of the narrative is about her, it's a bit off-putting. Otherwise, another gem from the pen of Kate Harrison and recommended to all of us who've ever been sneered at by a snooty stick insect of a retail employee!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Have read better, 4 Feb 2009
By 
E. Siney "Emzy" (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I have read A LOT of chicklits in my time. Some good and some bad and unfortunately this one fell in the bad category.
When I read the synopsis of the book I thought it sounded quite interesting and that there was a good basis for a story there, however I was disappointed and it didn't live up to my expectations. The plot was very predictable and could be rather slow in places. There were three main characters and I didn't particularly like any of them. Overall I gave this book two stars...to be generous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but still felt like there was something missing, 9 Feb 2010
This book was an easy read and before I knew it I was over half way through the book. It was good but it felt like something was missing, that secret chicklit formula. Storyline was witty and twists and turns so worthy of 4 out of 5.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this!, 1 Jan 2009
I have really enjoyed this book, I think it has only taken me two days to read it! It follows Emily, Sandie and Grazia through the world of secret shopping. All three women are very different characters that you warm to instantly. I think that Harrison has pitched this book so well. There are so many shopping experiences that the reader can identify with; the bitchy shop assistants; the hot and uncomfortable changing rooms and the excitement of buying something that we want but don't necessarily need. The story has a really good pace and keeps you interested right to the very end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant, Light Read, 13 Feb 2009
By 
K. Blaxall "Book Butterfly" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had trouble to put this book down once I had started to read it. This novel really drew the reader in, creating this fantastic role of a secret shopper. The three main protagonists, Emily, Sandie and Grazia, are strong and fiesty women, and you instantly join forces with them, against all the shoper assistants that have been mean to you in the past. The romance that blossoms the second half of the book is magical, and you can't help but feel pleased and warmed by the match. This is a truely unputdownable read.
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