A Hopeless Romantic

A Hopeless Romantic

by Harriet Evans


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416550686
Publisher: Downtown Press
Publication date: 10/09/2007
Edition description: Original
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 398,087
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Harriet Evans is the internationally bestselling author of Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After, Not Without You, A Place for Us, The Butterfly Summer, The Wildflowers. She lives in London. Visit her website at Harriet-Evans.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Laura Foster was a hopeless romantic. Her best friend, Jo, said it was her greatest flaw, and at the same time her most endearing trait, because it was the thing that most frequently got her into trouble, and yet falling in love was like a drug to her. Having a crush, daydreaming about someone, feeling her heart race when she saw a certain man walk toward her — she thrived on all of it, and was disastrously, helplessly, hopelessly incapable of seeing when it was wrong. Everyone has a blind spot. With Laura, it was as if she had a blind heart.

Anyone with a less romantic upbringing would be hard to find. She wasn't a runaway nun, or the daughter of an Italian count, or a mysterious orphan. She was the daughter of George and Angela Foster, of Harrow, in the suburbs of London. She had one younger brother, Simon, who was perfectly normal, not a secret duke, or a spy, or a soldier. George was a computer engineer, and Angela was a part-time translator. As Jo once said to her, about a year after they met at university, "Laura, why do you go around pretending to be Julie Andrews, when you're actually Hyacinth Bucket?"

But Laura never allowed reality to get in the way of fantasy. By the time she was eighteen, she had fallen for: a runny-nosed, milk-bottle-glasses-wearing, primary-school outcast called Kevin (in her mind, Indiana Jones with glasses); her oboe teacher, Mr. Wallace, a thin, spotty youth, over whom she developed a raging obsession and calluses on her fingers, so ferociously did she practice; and about fifteen different boys at the boys' school around the corner from hers in Harrow.

When she went to university, the scope was even greater, the potential for romance limitless. She wasn't interested in a random pickup at a club. No, Laura wanted someone to stand underneath her window and recite poetry to her. She was almost always disappointed. There was Gideon, the budding theater director who hadn't quite come out of the closet. Juan, the Colombian student who spoke no English. And the rowing captain who was much more obsessed with the treadmill at the gym than with her; her dentist, who charged her far too much and then made her pay for dinner; and the lecturer in her humanities seminar whom she never spoke to, and who didn't know her name, whom she wasted two terms staring at in a heartfelt manner.

For all of these, Laura followed the same pattern. She stopped eating, she mooned around, she was acutely conscious of where they were in any room, thought she saw them around every corner — was that the back of his curly head going into the newsagents? She became a big, dumb idiot whenever any of them spoke to her; so fairly often they walked away, bemused that this nice girl with dark blond hair, a sweet smile, and a dirty laugh who'd seemed to like them then behaved like a tourist in a strange land, eyes downcast, virtually mute. Or they'd ask her out — and then Laura, for her part, usually came tumbling down to earth with a bang when she realized they weren't perfect, weren't this demigod she'd turned them into in her mind. It wasn't that she was particularly picky, either. She was just a really bad picker.

She believed in The One. And every man she met, for the first five minutes, two weeks, four months, had the potential in her eyes to be The One — until she reluctantly realized he was gay (Gideon from the Drama Society), psychopathic (Adam, her boyfriend for several months, who eventually gave up on his MA in the Romantic poets and joined the Special Air Service to become a killing machine), against the law (Juan, the illegal immigrant from Colombia), or Josh (her most recent boyfriend, whom she'd met at a volunteer reading program seminar at work — she worked for the local council — decided was The One after five minutes, and dated for over a year, before realizing that, really, all they had in common was a love of local council literacy initiatives).

It's fine for girls to grow up believing in something like The One; but the generally received wisdom by the time Laura was out of university, as she moved into her midtwenties, as her friends started to settle down, was that it didn't really exist — well, it did, but with variations. Not for Laura. She was going to wait till she found him. To her flatmate and childhood friend Yorky's complaints that he was sick of sharing his flat with a lovesick teenager all the time, as well as a succession of totally disparate, odd men, Laura said firmly that he was being mean and judgmental. To Jo's pragmatic suggestions that she should join a dating agency, or simply ask out that bloke over there, Laura said no. It would happen the way she wanted it to happen, she said — you couldn't force it. And that would be it — until five minutes later when a waiter in a restaurant would smile at her, and Laura would gaze happily up at him, imagining herself and him moving back to Italy, opening a small café in a market square, having lots of beautiful babies called Francesca and Giacomo. Jo could only shake her head at this, as Laura laughed with her, aware of how hopeless she was, compared to her pragmatic, realistic best friend.

Until, one evening about eighteen months ago, Jo came round to supper at Yorky and Laura's flat. She was very quiet; Laura often worried that Jo worked too hard. As Laura was trying to digest a mouthful of chickpeas that Yorky had marvelously undercooked, trying not to choke on them, Jo wiped her mouth with a piece of paper towel and looked up.


Laura looked at her suspiciously. Jo's eyes were sparkling, her heart-shaped little face was flushed, and she leaned across the table and said, "I've met someone."

"Where?" Yorky had said stupidly.

But Laura understood what that statement meant, of course she did, and she said, "Who is he?"

"He's called Chris," Jo said, and she smiled, rather girlishly, which was even more unusual for her. "I met him at work." Jo was a real estate solicitor. "He was buying a house. He yelled at me."

And then — and this was when Laura realized it was serious — Jo twisted a tendril of her hair and then put it in her mouth. Since this was a breach of social behavior in Jo's eyes tantamount to not sending a thank-you card after a dinner party, Laura put her hand out across the table and said, "Wow! How exciting."

"I know," said Jo, unable to stop herself smiling. "I know!"

Laura knew, as she looked at Jo, she just knew, she didn't know why. Here was someone in love, who had found The One, and that was all there was to it.

Chris and Jo moved into the house she'd helped him buy after six months; four months after that, he proposed. The following December, a couple of weeks before Christmas, he and Jo were to be married, in a London hotel. Jo had eschewed grown-up bridesmaids, saying they were deeply, humiliatingly tacky, much to Laura's disappointment — she was rather looking forward to donning a nice dress, and sharing with her best friend the happiest day of her life. Instead, she was going to be best woman, and Yorky an usher.

It seemed as if Jo and Chris had been together forever, and Laura could barely remember when he hadn't been on the scene. He fitted right in, with his North London pub ways, his easy, uncomplicated personality, so laid-back and friendly compared to Jo's dry, rather controlled outlook on life. He had friends who lived nearby — some lovely friends. They were all a gang now, him and Jo, his friends, Yorky and Laura, sometimes Laura's brother, Simon, when he wasn't off somewhere being worthy and making girls swoon (where Laura was always falling in love, Simon was always falling into bed with a complete stranger, usually by dint of lulling her into a false sense of security by telling her he worked for a charity). And Hilary, also from university and christened Scary Hilary — because she was — and her brother, Hamish, their other friends from work or university, and so on. Laura's easy, happy, uncomplicated life went on its way. She had a brief, intense affair with a playwright she thought was very possibly the new John Osborne, until Yorky pointed out that he was, in fact, just an idiot who liked shouting a lot. Yorky grew a mustache for the autumn. Laura got a raise at work. They bought a PlayStation to celebrate — games for him, karaoke for her. Yes, everything was well within its usual frame, except that Laura began to feel, more and more, as she looked at Jo and Chris so in love and looked at the landscape of her own dull life, that she was taking the path of least resistance, that her world was small and pathetic compared to Jo's. That she was missing out on what she most wanted in the world.

Under these circumstances, it was hardly surprising that the next time Laura fell, she fell hard. Because one day, quite without meaning to, she woke up, got dressed, and went to work, and everything was normal, and by the next day, she had fallen in love again. But this time, she knew it was for real. And that was when everything started to go wrong.

Copyright © 2006 by Harriet Evans

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Hopeless Romantic 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I work at a barnes and noble and i read a lot of books and i'd just like to say that this book has become my favorite! Harriet Evens did a wonderful job on writing hopeless romantic. Her characters are very strong and realistic. Throughout Lauras experience in london and on holiday you can visualize every bar, house and character that she described. I stayed up till 430 in the morning trying to get to the end to see what happens. You will NOT be able to put this book down, its toxic 'but in a good way!'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I adore this book. This book was brilliant. It's a big, fat, juicy read. It's smart, and clever, and full of interesting characters. It was by far the best book in my recent list of reads. As I was alerted to the fact this morning by the person on the other side of the pillow mountain that it was 1 am and I was still up, I announced, 'I know!' and went back to reading. Laura is a romantic to beat all. She sees the good in everyone, to the point of it being an almost fatal flaw. Her current relationship ends in ruins, she almost gets fired, and she loses her chance to go on holiday. Instead, she embarks on a mild adventure with her parents in honor of her grandmother's eighty fifth birthday celebration. Amidst stuffy conversation, she's bored out of her mind, until she meets Nick one fateful day. The pace is great, there are no loose ends, the characters are well developed, and I was in tears by the end. I got this copy from the library, but it is one I would consider owning to loan out to girlfriends in need! If you like Brit-chick lit, you'll love this one! A +++++++++
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored this book. It is the perfect book for any chick-lit lover. I tore through the 500 pages in a couple of days and only wish it was longer. Her characters are very well developed and you can't help but fall in love with Laura, the main character. Evans' other book Going Home is equally as fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I ever read by this author and I LOVED it!!!!!!! Highly reccomended!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was just amazing. I loved it and just couldn't put it down. Laura realizes herself as a hopeless romantic and as her most recent relationship fails, she later decides to give up romance. But soon she meets Nick, who may be her very own Prince charming, but can't find herself believing in love again and opening up her heart to someone else. This is a book where you'' find yourself in tears, laughing, and enjoying every minute of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At best, this book was okay. There were some parts I liked, but not enough to give the book two stars (I mean it wasn't a terrible book). The heroine is annoying and so freaking stupid. I'm sure the author tried to give the heroine some depth to her character. An unsuccessful task in my opinion. Heck, I'm not even sure the heroine LEARNED anything by the end of the book. And speaking of the ending - utterly disappointing. If you're a fan of well written endings, do not read this book. You will be sorely let down. I don't know what the author was thinking when she wrote this. Like, WTFUDGE?! Not only was the last couple of pages rushed, it was like, hero and heroine separate for a little while then BAM! I won't spoil it for prospective readers. I had a ton of questions that never got answered. I know absence makes the heart grow fonder but sheesh. The romance/love in this book is not to die for; in fact, I can hardly call it love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read quite a few reviews and was excited to read this book. But i was pretty dissapointed actually. It was super predictable and it was really hard to keep my interest. Started this book and kept setting it down to read another instead. Finally finished it today so that I didn't feel like I wasted my money.
suicidalwriter More than 1 year ago
A little slow at first. But soon picks up speed and can't stand to put book down. First time reading this author. Will purchase more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is just amazing. The words and the plot of the story took me by surprise. I absolutly would reas this again, no doubt!
NashNordin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura is having an affair with Dan. Dan promised her that he would break up with his girlfriend, Amy if Laura gave him some times. And Laura¿ She would do anything to be with him, including cancelling her programs with her friends, going to work late and expanding her credit cards limit for a vacation she plan on going with Dan. But when Laura found out that Amy, Dan¿s girlfriend is pregnant, Laura knew that there is nothing she could do. She broke up with him and agreed to go on a vacation with her parents. During her visit to the Chartley Hall, she met Nick, the sexy, rugged estate manager. But it turns out that Nick wasn¿t who she thought he is...I have a love-hate relationship with the Laura. At didn¿t like her at first. But when I started to like her, she would do something that makes me dislike her again. And there were times when I thought of her as an idiot. I think it¿s okay to have your head in the clouds. But when you jeopardize your life, career and anything else for the sake of a guy, I think that it¿s really stupid.However, I still enjoy the book. There are a few moments that made me smile, and a few jokes that made me laugh out loud. Overall, A Hopeless Romantic is a light and fun read.
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heavy chick lit.Could have been 100 pages shorter - no need for this story to string along for 300+ pages.I felt like Laura was a moron-always falling for the wrong guy, falling in love at the drop of a hat --- and then "all of a sudden" she turns her life around and meets - dare I say - a "real" prince.
alrp319 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura Foster is in love with love-whether it is gushing over her favorite romance novel or trying to create her own love life. However her life is in pieces- her latest relationship cost her friends and her job. So she decides to escape it all and go on vacation with her parents.Who would have known her vacation would bring her straight into the arms on Nick, an estate owner. But is he what he appears? Will she finally find her prince?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet and poignant and hopelessly romantic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing! I like how you made it longer and added some teen romance. Continue please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Writer of Frobidden.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lurv it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Sorry about the long wait, went on vaca and had no wifi.) Sam lifted my chin up and I stared into his soft brown eyes as he stared into mine. He leaned closer and kissed me lightly on the lips. As he broke the kiss I stared, not knowing what to do. "What? Surprised that I like you?" He asked playfully, all I could do was nod. He smiled the same smile when I met him. I smiled back and put my arms around his neck, pulling him down for another kiss. As we broke the kiss we heard girls giggling in the hallway. I motioned for him to stay and went to see who had seen us. When I opened the door I saw 2 of my friends, Sara and Ashley. I don't see them much because they're the most popular girls, so they're too busy to hang with me. I stared, wondering how much they had overheard or seen. When they noticed me they stopped giggling and only smiled the all-knowing-smile that everyone with something to hide fears. I opened the door the rest of the way and let them enter. When I got back to sit down I was still blushing and noticed Sam was too. That's when people started coming in. After roll-call I moved my chair closer to Sam, and shared his stand. I looked up a few times to see Sara and Ashley trying not to giggle, they were both clarinet players and sat next to each other. I ignored them the rest of the time. After band was psychology for me and Ashley. On our way to class we stopped at my locker. "So what's up with you and Sam?" She asked. "Nothing," I replied quickly. "It didn't look like nothing," she said trying to get all the details from me. "Look, I'm not gonna say anything about it until I get another chance to talk to him about what happened in the band room." I said firmly. "Well looks like you won't have to wait too long, here he is now," she said starting to giggle. I looked over and sure enough there he was, right behind me. (Please leave comments on how I could improve and or leave suggestions for later on. Thanks)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a hopeless romantic myself I can relate a lot to the main character, Laura. This book shows her growth in the aspect of love and life. We can all learn from this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will hate the main character for at least the first 100 pages. I get she's a hopeless romantic but she comes across as dense and a hair away from wearing the men she falls for skin as a dress, at least at the start. After the fallout with the guy she thought was the one, super ridiculous , it gets a lot better. The ending was rushed but the book was a good read, but you will be yelling at laura to stop being blind for a few portions. Her and the guy she ends up with are adorable, and I wish we got a bit more with them together.