Happily Ever After – Harriet Evans

“At twenty-two, Eleanor Bee is sure about three things: she wants to move to London and become a literary superstar, she wants to be able to afford a coffee and croissant every morning, and she doesn’t believe in happy endings.  She saw what divorce did to her parents: happily ever after just doesn’t happen in real life.

Elle moves to London.  She gets a job at Bluebird Books, a charmingly old-fashioned publishers.  She makes mistakes and feels like she’s learning nothing and everything at the same time.  And then, out of the blue, she falls in love, and that’s when she realises just how much growing up she has to do.

Ten years on, an Elle’s life has changed in ways she could never have predicted.  But no matter how much you try to run away, the past has a funny way of catching up with you …”

Having read all of Harriet’s previous books, and absolutely loved them, I was really looking forward to reading this one and I was lucky enough to win a paperback copy from a giveaway on twitter (thank you to @fictionpubteam).

This is yet another fantastic story, I always feel that Harriet Evans books are comforting, kind of like wrapping yourself in a cosy blanket on a cold day.  I love the style of writing and the descriptions enable you to visualise what you are reading so easily.

I thoroughly enjoyed following Elle on her journey of self-discovery, as the years pass you can almost see her growing before your eyes, she blossoms from a nervous secretary into a highly successful career woman and this really empowered me.

Family secrets and heartbreak were dealt with in a believable way and I really felt for Elle as she struggled to cope with having such a broken family.  Alcoholism was a major cause of the problems and, as someone who has seen the trouble alcohol can create within families, I felt like this was handled with care and in an accurate way.

Other than the serious issues there were also some laugh out loud moments and even some ‘oh my god’ shocking moments when certain things were revealed.  I also really enjoyed getting an insight into the world of publishing, it was fascinating to learn about some of what goes on behind the scenes – I’ve always just bought books, read them and never thought about all the work that goes on to get to that stage!

There were a lot of great characters in this story, Elle obviously being my favourite, I didn’t trust Rory from the start – he seemed too smarmy for my liking, Tom was adorable – I loved the way he always seemed to have something to say but never got round to it.  Felicity was a character who grew on me and Jeremy was a classic cheeky jack-the-lad type.

As I got to the end of this book I found I really didn’t want it to finish, it’s a fabulous heart warming story that is difficult to put down.