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Friday, 28 October 2011

Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

Miracle on Regent Street

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.

I absolutely loved this book. A fantastic story, great to reminisce about how department stores used to be, full of history and family members. There is the old fashioned spirit of Christmas and all the magic of shopping in big stores at Christmas time with their special displays. A real nostalgic book that kick starts the Christmas reading for me. 

This is the author's, Ali Harris, debut novel and after reading this book I can't wait for the next book! 

The main character within the book is Evie, a stockroom girl in Hardy's, one of the oldest department stores in London, a family run business which has been passed down the family, but is now feeling very dated and staff are despondent and down hearted as to the future of Hardy's. Evie, works all day in the stockroom, a job she got by accident, when she was confused for someone else, and accidentally started working at Hardy's. Hardy's was a shop that Evie grew up with, her parents used to work there and they got engaged there too. However, just about all staff call Evie, Sarah, because they didn't realise anyone new had started. However when Sarah unpacks a new box of stock for the designer section of the store, she finds a top she just has to try on and when she walks around the shop floor, a young, gorgeous man approaches her and they end up going up on a date, even though the man thinks Evie is someone else, Carly, the personal shopper manager who is later promoted to assistant manager of the store and tasked to make Hardy's more profitable.

The story does have romance in it, but the main story is about Evie and how she takes the future of Hardy's into her own hands, deciding to become Hardy's Secret Fairy who does makeovers of the departments in the early hours to help increase profits. After deciding to also get her true friends together for an evening, when she thinks she is getting the job promotion she deserves, she is disappointed to find out Carly gets it instead, however the get together goes ahead and Felix the aging, nighttime security guard, accidentally lets slip that it is Evie who is the secret fairy and the group of friends decide they want to be part of it too. What follows are more inspirational and nostalgic displays which brings more customers to Hardy's and profits rising. 

There is a love story too - Evie, pretending to be Carly, with the mysterious American, who says he is over from US, where he is part of a family run department store, but Evie is not sure. There is also Sam, the delivery van driver who visits the store each week to deliver goods to Evie's stock room, however Evie thinks he has a girlfriend but does he?

It is a great book to read this winter time, full of nostalgia in a store full of old fashioned values and team spirit within the staff, especially those who work behind the scenes, who the customers and shop floor staff are unaware of. The book is written as a countdown to Christmas within the store and it added to the excitement, would Hardy's be saved, would Evie do what she has set out to achieve. 

I loved Ali Harris's  writing style and I devoured it quickly, easy to read but addictive and hard to put down. A great book for a lazy afternoon curled up in a chair!

I am already looking forward to the next book by Ali Harris and I will be recommending this to all my friends as the perfect book to read this winter.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster  for sending me this book to review.

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