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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Happily Ever After
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 January 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My first Harriet Evans, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mind you, I thought I wouldn't at the start - the book follows Elle as she grows, and the young daft girl when she starts work makes you think this is going to be silly and fluffy stuff. As she matures, and faces life's problems, the book becomes something quite different. There's real heartbreak in these pages, a story told in slices of time, with a lead character (and some supporting ones) that you develop a real affection for. This is a really well written book - the style grows up with the character. And I really loved the ending. Recommended, and don't be put off by the first 50 pages.
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on 20 January 2012
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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on 25 January 2012
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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VINE VOICEon 21 January 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book centres on Elle, a girl with family troubles, who moves to London and gets a job in a publishing house. There are troubles ahead - which of course includes man trouble but there are others throughout the book.

I really enjoyed the part of the story that focused on publishing and working at a publishers but I was not so keen on the romance side of the book, it was slightly predictable and with the other part of the book being really interesting and well written I was a little disappointed.

Overall - an okay book with some fantastic content but a let down on the romance side.
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on 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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on 16 February 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( 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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on 6 March 2012
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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on 24 March 2013
I saw that book in the magazine or rather the advert of it and that was how i first time heard of Harriet Evans ,i looked and searched for it as no english speaking country hard to find any books in english but finally i did and i flu through it in 3 days .... couldn't put it down. It's funny , easy to read ... kind of real story of anyone coming to London starting new journey of their life .I recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of easy reading , romance and fun .Now moving to another book by Harriet Evans and will keep her in my favourite writers .
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's true, this book is not groundbreaking in terms of the storyline. This does not mean that you should pass it over without a second glance. It is the story of Eleanor Bee, or Elle, and spans over twenty years of her life. She is passionate about books and works in publishing. It follows her trials and tribulations, her love life, and her complicated family relationships. To be honest, thus far it doesn't sound hugely different from Bridget Jones, but I think that 'Happily Ever After' is a actually a better quality story, although it isn't as comical.

Where the story is lacking, is in the exploration of her relationships. This includes the relationship with her self-destructive alcoholic mother. The characters are left pale and less absorbing than I would have hoped.

Having said all this I still did enjoy this novel. The character of Elle is very realistic, and I feel that Harriet Evans has taken good consideration of making her a believable and strong character, with no shying away from adding a vice or two to the mixture. Obviously, we do achieve an ending that is fairly worthy of the title, and I was left feeling satisfied with the novel.
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