Mrs Harris (Ada 'Arris) is a London char who cherishes the dream of owning a Dior gown and decides to do just that. The story recounts her daily encounters with her various employers and how she succeeds in raising enough money to go to Paris and buy the dress of her dreams.
Once there she succeeds in endearing herself to everyone she meets and overcomes all obstacles to return triumphant with the gown. But on her return things don't work out quite as expected.
Apart from Gallico's inability to reproduce genuine-sounding Cockney speech (he is an American after all), this is a heart-warming story and perfect for a dull grey day, or whenever you want to read something cheering and uplifting.
A word of caution: this book has also been published under the title "Mrs Harris Goes to Paris" so be careful not to buy the same story twice!
on 15 February 2009
I loved this book when I was younger, but hadn't read it for years. Then I saw a dire film version starring Angela Lansbury called, I think, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, and was stirred to re-read the book to see if it was as lovely as I remembered. It was. Poignant, optimistic, uplifting and gentle and now, of course, with the added rose-tint of nostalgia, because Mrs Harris was so very much of her time.
on 6 April 2010
I've read this little book so many times over the years. Mrs Ada 'Arris is an indomitable London char who conceives an ambition to own a Dior dress when she sees one hanging in a client's wardrobe. After years of scrimping and saving, she sets off to Paris with a roll of ready cash - and the House of Dior has never seen anything like her.
It's hard to believe that this book was written by a 60-year-old man because what enchants me every time is the description of the frocks: elderly Mrs Harris falls for 'Temptytion' in black velvet and a froth of cream, pink and white chiffon, tulle and lace. She is like a fairy godmother to everyone she encounters, from the accountant in love with house model Natasha, to the vendeuse who is anxious about her husband's flagging diplomatic career.
Read it and be enchanted. It's a wonderful cheer-you-up read.