I bought this book last year from a book club, and it has been sitting on my shelf for months! I decided to pick it up a few weeks ago, having never heard of the author I didn't really know what to expect, but the synopsis sounded like my kind of book and so I bought it!
Laura has always been a hopeless romantic, she has always been somebody who wanted that fairytale ending, and when she met Dan, a friend of a friend, she thought it was her happy ever after, even though there is a slight hurdle they need to cross first...getting Dan away from that pesky girlfriend of his!
Before long Laura has ended up in the deep end, her heart broken once again- and this time she vows will be the last time. No more fairytales, no more broken dreams, no more moping around over the man in her life and forgetting her friends and family!
When her parents invite her to Norfolk for the weekend to celebrate her Nana's birthday- about the only person in her family who relates to her, she decides it might be a good idea to go along even though it will be dire.
But things start to take a turn for the better when she meets Nick, the gardener at the grand Chartley Hall, a beautiful mansion with the famous family. Laura is soon engrossed in a friendly relationship with him which she is determined she's not going to get too obsessed over. But soon Nick's murkey real life is revealed throwing everything out into the air, and putting Laura at the heart of the local gossip.
Can Laura resist getting her head too far into the relationship or can she get out before she's too deep.
I didn't know what to think of the book before I read it, I didn't knwo what to expect as I had never read a book by Harriet Evans or heard of her even! But I was very pleasantly surprised! The book is brilliantly written, it has lots of twists and turns to keep you interested, but the main storyline is engrossing enough as it is! The book is 546 pages long, which is actually quite long, but I found I was getting through it very quickly due to such an engrossing storyline and a very well written book.
The characters are very likeable, we feel sorry for Laura in a way as she seems to have been messed around by men all her life, her family are the complete opposite of her, and she only seems ot get on with her gran, Mary who understands everything she says. Her brother is off gallovanting around the world, her best friend is recently married and even her flatmate is finding love! She is an overall likeable character, no moaning about been ugly or fat which you usually egt with these Bridget Jones type characters who writers think we interact with whereas I just feel patronised and annoyed by these characters!
This book is amazing, and I am definitely keeping it to read again and am considering it for my hospital read when I am in labour in a few weeks time!!!!!
One of the best books I have read in a long time! I found myself "going off" chick lit after reading more "serious" books like The Notebook and The Last Song, but this book has definitely regained my faith in a good chick lit story!!! I am glad I found a book I enjoyed, as the last few "chick lits" I have read have bored me half to death!!!!
I definitely recommend this to any lovers of authors like Belinda Jones, Jill Mansell, Jane Green, Marien Keyes! :) ..
A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans was published in 2006. Having read her previous novel, Going Home, I was keen to try this one too. I purchased it when it was still in hardback in 2007, for £10, which I thought was rather good for a nice hardback. The cover is sparkly, with glitter on it, and the book is not too large - a perfect chick lit book.
I like the occasional chick lit novel, but I like them to be reasonably intelligent. I need a good story, well written characters and good details. I found that Going Home met these requirements, but would A Hopeless Romantic?
The novel tells the story of Laura, who is addicted to falling in love. She has had numerous romantic disasters and is in the midst of another, to her friends despair. When everything goes wrong, she retreats on a family holiday to Norfolk, where she meets Nick, who works at a stately home. But all is not as it seems with Nick. Can Laura trust another man?
I really enjoyed the story of A Hopeless Romantic. I don't think it was terribly original - girl swears off love, girl meets boy, boy lies, will there be a happy ending? But it was certainly enjoyable, and I found myself caught up in it, alternately despairing of Laura and cheering her on. It is very easy to read, the language used by Evans is very straightforward, and in fact I found I was so keen to find out what Laura did next that it was hard to put down!
Laura is a fairly typical chick lit character. She falls in love easily, and always for the wrong men. When she does meet someone who seems suitable, it all ends up going wrong and we don't know if she will get her happily ever after. She is easy to identify with, as she has job issues, romance issues, slightly mad friends and suburban parents.
The supporting characters are also quite typical. There is the mad flatmate, Paddy, who is always doing crazy things to impress whatever girl he is in love with. The sensible best friend Jo, who loves Laura dearly. Laura's exotic grandmother, her confidante, who she turns to for help and advice instead of her parents. All the characters are well written if predictable, and they make for an enjoyable supporting cast.
Evans' writing is good for the genre, but it's nothing mind blowing. A Hopeless Romantic is a well written book, and a very enjoyable and relaxing read, but it is a straightforward love story and doesn't break any boundaries. That said, I have no problems recommending this - sometimes an easy to read love story is exactly what you want. It was what I wanted last weekend when I reread this, and that's what I got from A Hopeless Romantic.
I went to the library to get a different title out by Harriet Evans and as they didn't have it I borrowed Hopeless Romantic instead.
Laura really is a hopeless romantic. As we meet her in the beginning of the story, she is about to have an affair with a friend of a friend. Dan has a girlfriend but of course the relationship is on the rocks etc and it's only a matter of time before Dan will end it so they can be together. Laura truly believes all this and has her head in some cuckoo land somewhere.
Everything in Laura's life suffers and of course the inevitable happens, Dan doesn't leave his girlfriend, instead he goes on a holiday to Miami with her, the holiday Laura was supposed to go on with him.
At this point in the book I was really feeling for Laura. I could see she was making all the classic mistakes and letting Dan rule her emotions and decisions. As a woman who has had her fingers burnt by men in the past, and as I'm sure a lot of female readers of this review will understand it is easy to fall in line with a man who oozes confidence and find yourself in a place you are out of control.
I though Evan did a great job writing this part of the book as I was thinking about Laura even when I wasn't reading the book and she is fictional. This is where an author has done a good job by gripping the reader.
Laura quickly tried to move on and forget about Dan. She goes to stay with her family in their holiday home in Norfolk for a week. Whilst there she has to endure the boring stately home visits and listens to all the historical lectures.
Laura meets the gardener, Nick on one such boring visit and he brightens up her day. Laura, being Laura, finds herself being invited out for a drink by a man and accepting. She really won't ever learn. This time though she know what mistakes she shouldn't make and as determined not to make any, and certainly wouldn't jump from one man to the next.
Nick turns out to be charming, and also a Marquess who owns a very large estate and great hall amongst other properties. It takes Laura a while to learn this and when she does she's gobsmacked. Everything changes from this moment. Nick and Laura obviously have chemistry but she can't get past the fact that he is rich and has stately duties.
After one formal event, Laura runs away from the situation and Nick. Determined not to get involved she goes back to London to try and forget him.
Of course it doesn't work and they will bump into each other intermittently throughout the book.
I spent the majority of the book after Laura went back to London willing her and Nick to meet up again and wanting to shout at them both for being so stupid as they were so obviously right for each other.
I very often had a lump in my throat as I read scenes which involved them together or Laura thinking about him.
Evans did a great job of describing the characters to a great degree and bringing in all the little flaws and characteristics that draw you in. Emotions were described brilliantly and more times than I care to admit, I felt my eyes brimming over with tears as I couldn't control the situation that I was reading.
There are a lot of sub plots going through the main plot and you will not lose track of the main storyline which is Laura and Nick, but all the sub plots are necessary to the end result. You will stay on the emotional rollercoaster right to the end with this book. I was almost sad for the book to be finished.
Price: £3.49 (Amazon)