How fitting that my last fictional feast of 2011 should be a festive tale, and a birthday present from a good friend. Miracle on Regent Street is a warm and wonderful book, perfect for Christmas time.
I wonder if I’d have enjoyed it quite as much if I’d read it over the summer… but I didn’t, and it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Christmas is, generally, a feel good time of year and leading lady Evie Taylor’s story – working to save the store she’s loved for so many years from closure – is just that. Evie has the whole of December to make something of herself, to find herself, to act on her talents and be noticed. And saving the store she visited with her parents as a child is just an added bonus.
To book started badly for me when Evie, the book’s 27-year-old narrator, described cars as vehicles. No one I know refers to cars as vehicles and I thought to myself, “oh, one of those books trying to be all literary” but while the book is a tad wordy and I did have to skim through some of the detail, I still loved it. And aside from the “vehicles” incident the prose turned out to be more romantic that unnecessarily formal.
I fell in love with Hardy’s, the traditional and longstanding retail store in which much of the novel is based – shabby, unloved and struggling to find a place in a modern world, straddling stylish old, and sparkling new.
And I empathised with Evie’s story too, pinning her hopes and her life on a boyfriend of the past, wasting her best years and feeling utterly lost, craving the happiness and seemingly perfect life of her older sister.
There are a lot of characters in this book and I confess to not always being sure who was who, but ths could have been because of the skimming I did in places. But, for the most part, I liked them; at least those in the book long enough to be liked. Evie’s brother in law Will barely made an appearance and her two brothers Noah and Jonah flitted in and out in a flash and I’m not sure they added anything to the story.
Despite it’s wordiness and Evie’s irritating habit of running out on sticky situations, I really enjoyed the story, the characters and the Christmas theme. I loved the bringing together of old and new, characters of all ages and the strange place that straddles an old world and new world, a kind of “nowhere” that Evie seemed to have found herself in.
Ali Harris’ love for vintage clothing – and there’s a list of her favourite haunts in the back of the book – shines through in this enchanting festive tale. You possibly won’t be so enamoured if you’re reading it on a sunbed, put pick it up in November and you’ll have reached The End well before Santa arrives.
Robyn’s rating 7/10
Posted: December 2011