Title: Miracle on Regent Street
Author: Ali Harris
Genre/Themes: Contemporary Light Fiction, Christmas, Friendship, Romance, Warm Hearted
Blurb from Goodreads
Evie Taylor, a girl with a big heart, gets lost in the big city.
For the past two years, Evie has lived an invisible life in London.
Her neighbours think she’s just moved in, her sister mistakes her for a live-in nanny, and even Evie’s manager at work can’t remember her name.
But all that is about to change …this Christmas has brought a flurry of snow and unimaginable possibilities into town…
This was a perfectly nice book. However for some reason it just didn’t hold my attention for very long and I kept having to force myself to keep reading. But I really don’t want to write a completely negative review about this book as there was nothing truly wrong with this book other than it didn’t fulfil my own personal expectations. It was a nicely written story of essentially an ugly duckling becoming a swan.
The story follows Evie and what her life has become after a devastating breakup with her long term boyfriend; the man she thought was ‘the one’.
She is living with her elder sister, her husband and two little children and has an apparent dead end job in the basement stockroom of an ageing London department store called Hardy’s. No one in her work place even knows her real name, they call her by the name of the previous stockroom girl. However Evie overhears that Hardy’s needs to up its takings before December 26th or risk financial ruin and either closure or takeover.
The story then follows Evie as she helps to makeover the store and bring it back to its glory of yesteryear and drum up more customers for the store. This makeover helps Evie to come out of her shell, regain her confidence and once and for all get over her heartbreak and find new love and happiness.
All in all this is a very sweet book. A nice storyline, a Christmassy feel…. I just found the lead character to be a little bit frustrating at times. I would recommend reading this book in the early part of December as it is a book all about the buildup to Christmas.
The novel was very beautifully written. The descriptions of Hardy’s department store were truly enchanting. Ms Harris obviously has a love of all things vintage style-wise and this really shone through in the book. Her descriptions of all the vintage shoes and handbags, antique decorations, the old-time tearooms, even the description of the orderly stock room helped to put together a very complete picture of Hardy’s department store. And then each individual makeover of the departments within the store was exquisitely described and I as a reader was easily able to visualise how all the displays would look in my mind’s eye.
There was also a lovely and very complete set of supporting characters in the book: from the glamorous tea lady to the cleaning staff to the old timer working in security. This all helped the vision of Hardy’s store come to life and pop off the page.
Evie’s family also featured prominently within the book which helped to provide Evie’s character with a detailed backstory, although I would have liked a little more storyline with her mother as I thought she was a very interesting character.
I wasn’t a fan of the romance aspect of this book, there was a love triangle of sorts. I just didn’t find the character of the dashing and suave love interest quite as eye catching and swoon-worthy as Evie did and I could not understand her sudden insta-love for this guy. This was the part of Evie’s personality that I found most frustrating but I guess the author was just trying to help Evie’s heart heal from her previous heartbreak by kissing a frog or two!! I definitely found myself cheering for the other guy.
I’m sure that other readers would enjoy this story more than I did, after all it is a very nice story and as is usual it seems with an Ali Harris novel there are always some lovely bittersweet moments: this is the third book that I have read by Ali Harris, although I do believe this was her debut novel.
I would recommend that anyone wanting to read an Ali Harris novel for the first time should start with Written In The Stars or (if you want to cry a lot!) The Last First Kiss as I enjoyed both of those novels a lot more.