Vintage, magical, nostalgic
What I thought:
♪ ♫ Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…♪ ♫
What a wonderful book to read in the run up to Christmas. I have just been swept away on a tide of vintage clothes, soaps and old-school glamour.
Miracle on Regent Street is about Evie Taylor, the stockroom girl at Hardy’s – a 100 year old department store in London – and despite feeling that her talents should lie on the shop floor, she is completely invisible to anyone else who works there (OK, she’s not exactly invisble as oposed to blending into the background so much that the entire staff still call her Sarah which is the name of her predecessor of two years before). One day, right at the beginning of December, Evie overhears a conversation between the owner of Hardy’s and her manager, and it horrified to realise that if Hardy’s fortunes don’t turn around before Boxing Day they will all be out of jobs. What follows is Evie’s secret attempt to turn the shop around before Christmas, with a little help from some rather unexpected corners – Sam the delivery boy, Lily from the tea-shop who still dresses as though she’s going to a tea dance from the good old days, Felix the security guard and a couple of eastern european cleaners. I loved the whole cast of characters in this book, and despite wanting to shout at Evie for not standing up for herself (I’m not one for keeping my mouth shut if something bugs me at work ;)), I still found her engaging and routed for her and her friends throughout.
One of the things I loved about this book was the wonderful nostalgic trip through a long-ago age where shop assistants spent time with customers, women were made to feel like women and a trip to the department store was a special treat. The transformation of the store through Evie and her secret elves made me long to be part of that world and I could see this wonderful place so clearly in my mind that I wanted to wander round the stalls and browse through the gold compacts, crystal perfume bottles and vintage peep-toe shoes (and this from someone who is not remotely a girly girl!); I wanted to glide down the huge wooden staircase and pick up the handbags, trilbys and corsets and then pop into the tearoom for tea and cake, red lipstick and stockings firmly in place.
I do love a chicklit book now and then, but I have to say that this is one of the most sophisticated that I have read; it didn’t have the cheesiness or sickliness of some and instead it had old fashioned glamour, romance, wit and warmth and it was a delight to read.
Verdict: If you are looking for a christmassy feel-good read then please, please look no further than this book. It is a real treat.
(Source: I received this book for review from Simon & Schuster)