Harriet Evans has taught me so much about the world of publishing, editing and writing in this book that I feel even more prepared as a writer than I ever felt after reading the ‘Writers and Artists Handbook’.
This book was a delve into the world of publishing and books told from the perspective of Elle – young and unfamiliar to the world of publishing in the start of the novel and someone who has established herself in a prominent position near the end. This novel tells a tale that spans through 10-years of Eleanor’s life with the theme of a ‘happily ever after’ in the backdrop. What this means is that Elle doesn’t believe in happy endings but still finds herself reading and escaping into pages of heavily romantic novels that promise a happily ever after to all their readers.
The story initiates with Elle sleeping on her friend Karen’s couch as she struggles to find a job in a publishing house. Eventually luck (good or bad on part of the publishing company) has it and Elle manages to land a job at BookPrint Publishing; one of the few longstanding publishing houses left in London.
From then commences Elle’s journey which screens many events in her life; the years she spends as a receptionist at BookPrint, falls in love and gets her heart broken, moves across seven seas and secures herself as a well-established editor, progresses to becoming the pioneer of a publishing house where she was initially doing just a 3-month work experience and eventually returns to her roots, coming full circle.
This beautifully-written, wonderfully conceptualised and presented novel was a delight to read.
It was alluring, often heartbreaking and a burrowing experience for a reader. It covered parts of Elle’s life that were perplexing as well as those difficult periods where one finds themselves into the depths of darkness. And then, presenting the reader with a strong, independent and capable woman that Elle came to be gave the reader a glimmer of hope that after every period of gloom is the prospect of light. Of course, Elle had experienced her fair share of troubles and she was imperfect in many ways despite achieving professional fulfilmen. This comforted the reader as it showed them that heroines in novels need not be magnificent material in order for us give them a place in our heart.
I think the most touching part of this novel was the realism of it; Elle had so many problems when it came to her family and that was something readers were able to empathise with because none of us come from roots that are perfectly-glossed in every way. We all come from places that are either broken, scarred or slightly fragmented which we to learn to accept and move on from.
I absolutely loved this book as I felt it told the story of someone who exists in the real world. And when you feel as though you have perhaps walked by the lead character on the road, or shared a bus or train journey with them, that’s when you know that the author has done her job of creating a sincere character whom we all believe potentially exists.
I would give this book a 4.5/5 and I heavily recommend that writers especially read this book in order to gain a realistic insight into the world of publishing from the perspective of an editor as opposed to a writer.
Until next week,