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Happily Ever After Paperback – 19 Jan 2012
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Heat Number One
‘If you’ve been suffering from chick-lit fatigue, this is the book to give you back the love’ Heat
‘Rosamunde Pilcher rebooted – in the best possible way.’ Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Harriet Evans is the author of five previous novels, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You and Love Always all of which were bestsellers. She lives in London and now writes full time.
Top customer reviews
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.
I adore the cover. Classic white with the title emblazoned in black, a shimmer of gold for the author's name and a tasteful, understated image of a bookshop. Perfect.
I also loved the book. Firstly, it is a book about books, and that always makes my heart sing. It balances romance and relationships with the serious issue of alcoholism, which makes it stand out from other books in the genre.
Eleanor Bee is the protagonist, a quiet, bookish girl determined to become a success. Working for a publisher Elle grows in confidence, working her way up in the publishing world. 'Happily Ever After' is ultimately a love story-love for partners, friends and family are all explored in an honest way that I could relate to. Elle's family are dysfunctional and affected by alcohol misuse, and this was dealt with sensitively throughout. Whilst I didn't cry, there were certainly some moments where my heart grew heavy for Elle, particularly in relation to her family.
I also absolutely loved the underlying message that all reading is good (let's face it, it is). As Elle states 'Why is someone only passionate about books if they're into literary books that win prizes? Why can't you be passionate about books and only read romance?' I wanted to high five her for that comment alone.
Overall, this might be my first Harriet Evans book, but it won't be my last. A solid storyline, well constructed, likeable characters and book recommendations at the end-what more could I ask for?
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.