Monday, 14 July 2014

A Gift to Remember - Melissa Hill

A Gift to Remember
by Melissa Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore in Manhattan. A daydream believer, she refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man...literally. One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed gentleman walking his dog. He is knocked out cold, rushed to hospital and the poor pup gets left behind. Wracked with guilt, Darcy takes the dog and makes plans to reunite him with owner, Aidan. As she discovers the mysterious stranger's world of books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she's ever dreamt about, Darcy builds a picture of this man and wonders if he could be THE ONE...But does fantasy match reality? What happens when Prince Charming wakes up? Will Aidan be the happy ever after she's always imagined?

A Gift to Remember is a Christmassy themed book and I thought, picking this up in June may not be a great idea, as I enjoy reading Christmas books at Christmas time! Saying this, other than the odd comment around Christmas Eve coming close and snow on the ground, no other Christmas references were made and at times I completely forgot when the story was set. It was magical and wonderful but this can come across at any time you read it.

Darcy works in a bookshop and being a book addict, this job for her is her dream, yes she went to university and got a degree and could easily do a job that matches her skill set, but she doesn’t want that. She wants to be surrounded by books day in, day out. After a few days working in the shop, she realises that perhaps it was not all hearts and flowers that she imagined but loves the job anyway. At times I wished we had more time in the book shop with Darcy, I could picture myself in there browsing the shelves and sitting in a comfy chair with a book.

One day on the way to work Darcy crashes into a man on her bike, he hits the ground and has to be taken to hospital, a dog – Bailey is left by the side of the road. Darcy feels terrible about the whole accident and the least she can do is take his dog to look after him and try to get him back to his owner. Darcy makes this her mission as after all she is responsible for this terrible episode.

Darcy is a lovely character and I felt I could connect to her straight away. I loved her personality and felt and carried the guilt along with her, I wanted Darcy to help Aiden as much as she possibly could and discover the mystery surrounding him. Also I fell in love with Bailey, the Husky and I now want one of my own! Such a cute dog and so well behaved!!

This book surprised me in many ways, I did not find it predicable at all and I loved the mystery surrounding Aiden and wanted Darcy to discover the truth. I feel that the mystery element could have been developed more as; as soon as it was discovered I quickly worked out the ending. I thought the mystery element bought something different to this chick lit that many don’t have and I enjoyed that.

The only negative thing I would say about the story is that about half way through we began to have Aiden’s side of the story which I did enjoy, but this isn’t clear until you have read a paragraph or so and I found this a little confusing when it started. As soon as I worked out what was happening then I was looking out for the change in the character. I felt this could have been something easy to correct, either put the characters name on the top of that chapter or write it in italics or something. This is just my opinion and like I said as soon as I worked out this was happening, I just then looked out for the change.

Another thing I would have liked to have seen was the date or day of the events, time is used in the story a lot, ‘in three days’ etc, I just think it would have been nice to have had say, 22nd December, written on the day it was meant to be. This to me would have made it a smoother read. There was one point very close to the end that it was mentioned 27th December was in three days time… this I feel could have been helpful to the reader; again though this is purely my own opinion.

Overall I did enjoy the story a lot especially considering I didn’t think I would enjoy it being June. I would say if you are looking for a ‘strong’ Christmassy themed book then this one is not for you as there is not as much festivity in it and I had expected there to be. However this is a brilliant read for any time of year, which has been injected with a little magic.

The story is written beautifully and it is clear that Hill researched the setting well, this comes across in the writing and I was able to feel like I was in New York along with Darcy and Aiden. After reading this book (which is my first by Hill, although I do have another sitting on my shelf to be read!) I would definitely pick up more books by her as her writing style is so smooth, easy and enjoyable to read.

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review, and also to Melissa for signing my copy.

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