7 July 2009
Book Review: Please Forgive Me by Melissa Hill
When she moves into a new home, she finds a box of letters all to the same woman from the same man, Nathan, begging for forgiveness. Leonie is curious and decides to find out who the mystery recipient is.
She enlists the help of her neighbour Alex who has a fair few secrets herself - but is Leonie doing it for Nathan and his love, or to exorcise her own demons once and for all?
I've been an enormous fan of Melissa Hill's novels since I read my first one quite a few years ago now, and Melissa is one of those fantastic authors who just seem to get better with every book. Her last release, Before I Forget, was a triumph and is highly recommended by us, so I was thrilled to get a copy of Please Forgive Me, which amazingly is Melissa's 8th book! It promises to have yet another of Melissa's trademark twists which keep you absolutely glued to the pages, so I made sure I had plenty of free time when I began this one!
This book drew me in immediately, and this is mainly due to the brilliant main character of Leonie. She's an Irish girl who's upped sticks to live in America to escape her ex-fiance Adam, although we aren't told why she's done so for a long while yet! This is what I really love about Hill's books - the mystery of the story is told slowly throughout the book and is intertwined with the main story, and this really does work so well, making the book incredibly readable and drawing the reader right into the middle of the story. It's told in the third person which allows for flicking between characters and time periods too, which was interesting to read.
As with all of Melissa's books though, it isn't just the main character who I liked in the book. My other favourite character is Alex, Leonie's neighbour who she meets a while into the book. She's a real all-American girl, totally opposite to Leonie but this is why the friendship works so well between the pair. Their relationship changes and develops as the book progresses, and you can believe it's a real friendship too, it's so well written. Other characters pop up; Seth, Adam, Suzanna, Andrea and more and add so much to the story, they are all vital in their own way.
However, the thing that made this book stand out for me is that it isn't set in Ireland, although the main character is very Irish of course! Hill keeps the esssence of Ireland in there with Leonie's frequent references to her homeland and the flashbacks of Leonie and Adam's relationship, but the setting of San Francisco is perfect for this book. Hill perfectly describes the ever-changing weather, beautiful scenery and day-to-day life of the place and the reader is able to imagine they are sat there with Leonie staring out at the Golden Gate bridge in her bay window!
The letters aspect was completely intriguing and I never in a hundred years would have guessed the eventual outcome of this storyline. I guessed things along with Leonie and Alex and ended up being wrong at each turn and was surprised with what had happened - it wasn't at all what I had expected but still a good conclusion. But more gripping for me was what had happened between Leonie and Adam, a tale that was so skillfully unwound it was a pleasure to read and allowed me to sink into the life and woes of Leonie even though I didn't know what she was woeful about!
This book is an absolute must-read, especially if you haven't read any of Melissa's books before. It's elegantly written, compulsive reading at its best, and is a welcome addition to any reader's bookshelf. I loved every single page and found it hard to put down, even when I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open! The characters are fantastically written, the setting is beautifully written and it is a joy to read. I can't recommend it highly enough - the perfect read, all year round!
Thank you so much to the publishers Hodder for sending us a copy to review.