Harriet Evans is an author whose name I had heard a lot of via facebook. There were lots of good things being said about her latest book 'Not Without You' and I wanted to see if the buzz was deserved.
I am lucky enough to live just a five minute walk from my local library and probably single-handedly keep it going. As if by coincidence, on one of my regular visits I saw 'Happily Ever After' on the first bookstand that you see as you walk in and I took that as a sign that I was meant to read it.
I adore the cover. Classic white with the title emblazoned in black, a shimmer of gold for the author's name and a tasteful, understated image of a bookshop. Perfect.
Eleanor Bee is the protagonist, a quiet, bookish girl determined to become a success. Working for a publisher Elle grows in confidence, working her way up in the publishing world. 'Happily Ever After' is ultimately a love story-love for partners, friends and family are all explored in an honest way that I could relate to. Elle's family are dysfunctional and affected by alcohol misuse, and this was dealt with sensitively throughout. Whilst I didn't cry, there were certainly some moments where my heart grew heavy for Elle, particularly in relation to her family.
I also absolutely loved the underlying message that all reading is good (let's face it, it is). As Elle states 'Why is someone only passionate about books if they're into literary books that win prizes? Why can't you be passionate about books and only read romance?' I wanted to high five her for that comment alone.
Overall, this might be my first Harriet Evans book, but it won't be my last. A solid storyline, well constructed, likeable characters and book recommendations at the end-what more could I ask for?