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review 2016-06-19 07:12
The Butterfly Summer - Harriet Evans

Loved the cover. A hidden Cornish house with a legacy, secrets, family birthrights and lots of butterflies! Told in a dual time frame from the perspectives of Nina and Theodora (Teddy). Sometimes the toing and froing became a bit confusing, especially on a Kindle and it took a little while to get into the story and it wasn't helped by the fact I didn't quite take to either of the leading ladies. Loved the butterflies, the descriptions of Cornwall and the style of writing - a poignant novel, sometimes sad, sometimes funny. Another best seller from Harriet Evans!

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review 2016-04-20 22:20
The Butterfly Summer - Harriet Evans
The Butterfly Summer - Harriet Evans

The Butterfly Summer - Harriet Evans

'What's loved is never lost.'

Nina lives with her parents now that she is divorced from her husband Sebastian. Nina's childhood wasn't all that easy with her father leaving her and her mother back in 1986, when he 'went on an expedition to the Venezuelan rainforest to search for the Glasswinged butterfly and he never came back'; Nina was only six months old. Nina's mother, being on her own to raise a child, found a very nice and important person to help her out, Mrs Poll from the top floor until her partner, Malcolm, came along. Many years later, Nina meets a strange lady at the library, her 'dead' father returns and claims that Nina will inherit Keepsake, a cottage in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall where millions of butterflies find sanctuary but in the house itself, her ancestors lives have been taken.

The story seems to take the route of a murder mystery but I can assure it isn't.

This was a rather interesting and enjoyable read although when the story took me back to Theodora Parr's 'The Butterfly Summer', I found that it dragged on for too long and when it went back to the original story, I forgot what happened previously and would get the two time differences mixed up. Because of this I'm only giving it two stars as half-way through it felt like a chore reading this.

I received a copy of 'The Butterfly Summer' from the Goodreads Giveaway.

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review 2016-01-26 19:55
I really wanted to like this one a lot more
Happily Ever After - Harriet Evans

I've had this book for awhile and thought I'd finally get around to reading it in honor of the big snowstorm: let's celebrating by reading a big long book! While it started off well (I even though of checking out her other books), I soon saw that it's too long, needs a lot more editing and actually should have ended a lot sooner.


Elle dreams of becoming a big wig in the publishing industry. We watch as she struggles to make her way through university and up the ranks of the lowest rungs of the publishing ladder. Throw in a couple of love affairs, family issues and a young woman finding herself and you have this book.


Initially I found Evans' style really engaging. And I think she is a really good writer (enough to keep me interested in the story). But wow did the book desperately need editing. I would have been fine with a chick-lit-ish book that's also a coming of age tale plus some family drama. But overall it got disappointing. I predicted a certain character's death and was disappointed to find I was right. The story actually resolves itself a lot (or should have) 100 pages sooner. The text overall needed more tightening and reduction especially towards the end. The last romantic Elle has in the book seems more like a plot device rather than anything else (she keeps sleeping with the wrong guys but we don't quite see how she ends up with the "right" one).


It's a pity because there are aspects of this story that I could really identify with: the family drama, the career struggles (I've known people trying to get the leg up in the publishing industry), etc. But I didn't really feel Elle developed as a character. The author has a slightly annoying habit of fast forwarding over a period of years where some of these are relevant to the plot (such as Elle moving to the US post 9/11), I increasingly got the feeling it was a lazy way of showing how Elle was supposedly maturing as time marched on.


I will give her credit for not quite making this tie in with the title. With a title like 'Happily Ever After' you might think this is a happy go lucky, all loose ties done and up by the end of the book. It was nice to see that no, not quite. Although Elle gets some resolution in some aspects, she acknowledges that maybe others (like whether she'd ever like her sister-in-law) won't actually come to fruition. Some people might be annoyed that it's not quite "happy" but I appreciate the realism that it's not always so.


It's not terrible but I regret buying it. It'd make a good bargain book to read for a long plane ride or if you're stuck somewhere and need to be able to dump this book for space/weight issues in the luggage. Maybe library instead.

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review 2015-12-07 20:21
Going Home - Harriet Evans

A below-average chick lit novel. The heroine starts off well enough but very soon gets irritating, as does her whole family. I liked the on-off boyfriend Jaden but I had no idea what he was doing with Lizzie. It's all rather ridiculous and she ends up with the wrong man who isn't very nice at all. Not recommended.

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review 2015-06-20 00:00
Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After - Harriet Evans So I tend to re-read this book a lot because it is a really long book. And I have to say it is not really the romance aspect of this book that causes me to still read it. It is the totally messed up circumstances that are going on in the main character's life that for some odd reason speak to me. Maybe it is because Eleanor is a flawed character that has many regrets. And it was nice to follow a character from the age of 22 to the age of 33 where they were finally starting to get their stuff together. A lot of times it makes me laugh when I read romance novels where the main character is 26 and lamenting that they are not engaged and married with two kids. Who are these people?

In Happily Ever After, we get to follow main character Eleanor Bee from the time she is 22 to when she is around 33 years old. Eleanor comes from a broken home and a mother who she is still making excuses for though all signs points to some serious issues with her mother. Practically estranged from her father and brother she throws herself headlong into the publishing business in London.

It was very interesting to see Eleanor as she was at 22 and to see how different life events had changed her over time. I think of myself at 22 (dumb as hell about a lot of things out there) and now at the age of 35 and wonder why did I find myself always giving other people so many chances to keep crapping on me. And that was what I related to a lot in this book. Eleanor seems to make up a lot of excuses for those around her and is blind to the point that her denial of what is going on in her mother's life was just sad. Eleanor is definitely flawed and that was great to see. I think a lot of times most romance novels make the heroine some perfect specimen that you don't understand how the person just does not have the perfect life.

However, besides Eleanor, the rest of the characters in the book really don't seem as well developed. For as long as this book is you would think that we could get some insight into many of the other characters mentioned. However, except for a few characters, we don't get a chance to follow them and see how they grow over time.

The writing I thought was and is still good. However, I thought the pacing was the biggest problem for me throughout this book. Things take a long time to get explained. We stick with certain plots longer than I think are needed. I think that if some sections of this book were cut out it would have made everything flow much nicer together.
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