“I gaze out of my bedroom window into the dark winter morning as the snowflakes fall softly outside. Is that it? I wonder. It’s not a sudden change in the wind, like the one that carried Mary Poppins to the Banks family, or the tornado that carried Dorothy to Oz, but maybe, just maybe, this downfall is the universe’s way of telling me that my life is about to change …”
That’s Evie Taylor, waking up on the first day of December.
She hasn’t quite got back on her feet since the first boyfriend, who she had thought was going to be her one true love, abandoned her. So she lives a quiet life in London, lodging with her sister and her husband and children, and working at Hardy’s.
Hardy’s is a department store, on the wrong side of Regent Street. It used to be wonderful, magical, but now Hardy’s has fallen out of fashion and into hard times.
Evie works in the stock room, though she has the talent to do much, much more, barely noticed by many but good friends with all of the other who worked hard but went unnoticed. Cleaners. The security guard. Delivery men. The lady in the teashop.
One overheard conversation changes everything: Evie learns that, if Hardy’s fortunes don’t turn around by Boxing day, the store will be closed.
Evie is horrified. She has loved Hardy’s ever since she was a small child and her mother told her wonderful tales of the days she worked there. So Evie sets out to save the store.
That leads her on a wonderful adventure. An adventure with so many ups and downs. It will change Hardy’s. It will change the Taylor family. And, of course, it will change Evie herself.
Evie’s story was a joy to read. Her voice was warm and engaging, and she brought to life so many wonderful characters and painted such vivid pictures of the store she loved so much.
At times I had to suspend disbelief, and I was more than happy to. Because this is a book with so much charm. And because the emotions ring completely true.
It made me think of Cinderella. It made me think of the Tailor of Gloucester. And when a small group visited a tavern on Lambs Conduit Street I thought of Persephone Books. And of Miss Pettigrew.
Most of all I thought of Frank Capra.
I’d love to see Miracle on Regent Street on the big screen.
To see the vintage clothes that Evie loved. To see the wonderful merchandise that Evie found in the darkest corners of her stockroom: gold compacts, vintage trilbys, satin corsets …
To meet the people. Felix, a security guard with many talents. Sam, a delivery boy with grand plans. Lily, the tea-shop lady who carried on with style – as she had ever since Hardy’s heyday …
To see Hardy’s come to life, as it did so beautifully on the page.
And most of all to meet Evie again, and share her emotional journey.
Her story has style, substance, and just the right mix of reality and magic.
It was a joy to read.