Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (13 Oct 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0857202901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857202901

 

Synopsis from Amazon
Dreams can come true – it could happen to you…For the past two years, Evie Taylor has lived an invisible existence in London, a city she hoped would bring sparkle to her life. But all that is about to change. For winter has brought a flurry of snow and unexpected possibilities. Hidden away in the basement of Hardy’s – once London’s most elegant department store – Evie manages the stockroom of a shop whose glory days have long since passed. When Evie overhears that Hardy’s is at risk of being sold, she secretly hatches a plan. If she can reverse the store’s fortunes by December 26th – three weeks away – and transform it into a magical destination once again, she might just be able to save it. But she’s going to need every ounce of talent and determination she has. In fact, she’s going to need a miracle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Evie really is invisible in the London she inhabits.  She’s not called by her correct name at Hardy’s by the staff who visit her in the stockroom to tell her all their problems or by the yummy mummies at the nursery her niece and nephew attend.  She also dresses in drab clothing.  Evie has cultivated this ‘non identity’ for reasons that become clear to the reader as the story unfolds.
Rupert, the great grandson of the founder, now manages Hardy’s.  We get to know Evie’s history with Hardy’s, which is linked to the perfect relationship of her parents and the sparkle of her childhood.  Evie has an idealised view of her parent’s love that’s been perpetuated by them.  Falling into the job in the stockroom, she is such a success at it that two years later she is still there.  Her aspirations of promotion are denied and then she overhears the conversation that changes many things in not only her life but in her colleagues too.
Evie is living with her elder sister Delilah throughout thestory.  She’s always looked up to herand wanted to emulate her.  Delilah ismarried with two children and Evie looks after the children before work andafterwards.  The stresses on arelationship of family life with young children are portrayed very well.  We also get to experience family life when Evie and her siblings go back to the family home for a meal – a tradition that is held once a month.
There are some brilliant characters in Miracle on Regent Street, not least of them Evie herself. Evie tells us the story and despite what she sees as herself failing, is such a warm and chatty person, asking rhetorical questions that pull the reader in, making them feel a part of the whole journey.  She is a ‘fixer’ – listening to everyone’s problems and subtly making suggestions that help to make changes. Being invisible suits her for where she is in her life but we get to see her start believing in herself and blossoming.   The characters of the store employees are also brilliant –especially the group who see Evie for who she really is.
The romance of the story is not just about Hardy’s trying to recover its former glory, but also about the two leading men … Sam, the down-to-earth delivery guy and Joel who is gorgeous and charismatic (and who is a friend of Rupert’s).  I couldn’t make my mind up who was right and so wasn’t sure who I really wanted to‘support’.  These storylines were cleverly crafted!


I absolutely adored ‘The Wardrobe’ … and the part it plays in Evie coming to life.  The night in with sister Delilah left me wanting to know what other gems were hidden in there!
The plots of romance and family life are played out with the backdrop of Hardy’s which is there all the time. I loved the descriptions of the architecture of the store and of how it used to be.  Once changes started happening, I loved the descriptions told through Evie’s eyes.  There are some fabulous scenes in Hardy’s that made me laugh, made me cry and made me sigh with longing!  The finale was just perfect (as was the epilogue).
There were a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming.  Not that I needed that as Miracle on Regent Street had my full absorption from beginning to end.  I don’t think my review has done it justice! 
If there is one book that I thought would be fabulous as a movie it has to be this one.  It would be an amazing chick flick and not just for Christmas.  It would be one to watch again and again for that feel-good factor (and would knock my favourite, Pretty Woman, off the top spot).
I don’t think there are any surprises at my fairyrating.  This is one book I will read again!
 
 
I would like to thank Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy to review.
Ali Harris can be found tweeting and on Facebook.

 

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4 thoughts on “Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

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