25 May 2012
Book Review: The Charm Bracelet by Melissa Hill
"Every charm bracelet tells a story and Holly O'Neill knows this better than most.
Many years ago she was sent one mysteriously, just a single charm attached. Some time later another charm appeared, and the same happened until the bracelet was almost full. Each charm proved significant, as if her anonymous benefactor knew she needed a little bit of magic in her life.
So when Holly stumbles across another bracelet - one that somebody else has lost - she recognises a lifetime spelt out through the charms, and knows she must try to reunite it with its owner.
Using each charm to help discover more about the bracelet's owner, Holly gradually begins to piece together details of this other charmed life. And her quest leads her somewhere she never expected..."
I am, and have been since I started reading chick lit, a huge Melissa Hill fan. I think I've read every single book she's published, and considering this is her 11th book and I'm still hooked, she must a pretty damn good writer! I love the way her plots unfold slowly and carefully, always giving me a surprise by the end, and how evocatively she writes, drawing you into the book with ease and making you whizz through the pages until there are none left and you have a year to wait for the next one! I was thrilled to receive a copy of her new The Charm Bracelet, it's purple cover is beautiful and the design once again really complements the title of the book which I love, it's perfect!
Holly O'Neill is living in New York, and loves her job working at a vintage store. She adores the clothes, and the stories each of them holds, and loves nothing more than making up tales for her customers about the clothes. When she finds a charm bracelet in one of the items, she's intent on reuniting it with its owner - not least because she has a charm bracelet herself which is very precious to her. Holly doesn't know who sends her the charms for her bracelet but each one represents something in her own life that is significant to her. Holly sets about the impossible - giving the bracelet back to its rightful owner without any real information to help her. Are the charms going to be the clue to giving it back to the person it belongs to?
I was thrilled straight away to see this book was set in New York, one of my favourite places in the world. Readers of Melissa's books will know her last book, Something From Tiffany's, was partly set in NYC so clearly it's a fond place for Melissa too. What I really loved about this book was the complete focus on the two charm bracelets that are so important to the stories - Holly's own bracelet, and the one she finds in the shop. Holly's story is told both in the present day, but also through the charms she has on her bracelet. Each one represents an event that is significant in her life, and as she ponders the charms, we are told more about her story, and her bringing up her son alone. It really allows us to get to know Holly well, and she was such a well created character, she was a joy to read about. She's a great, positive role model as a single mother as well which I really enjoyed reading.
Hill has a way of writing that really draws you in, and I love her descriptions of not only the intricate charms and their stories, but the setting of New York, the people and the adventures Holly gets up to on her quest to reunite the bracelet. Though Holly is the main focus of the book, we also meet another character who crops up too with his own story, and that's Greg. It isn't immediately clear how Greg factors in to the book, but he has his own story developing as the book progressed, and soon enough I was hooked into this one too, wondering what he had to do with Holly and her story, yet intrigued by his relationship with his fiancée, and the more touching one with his elderly father. In fact, I found the relationships the characters had with others in the book, Greg with his dad and fiancée, Holly with her son, her boss and her mother, all to be very realistic and well written, and Hill manages to tap perfectly into their emotions through her writing.
The book was amazing from start to finish and I loved every single page. Melissa Hill manages to keep you guessing all the way through about the charm bracelet, and the way she weaves the tale will leave you wanting more and more, until you reach the end! I've actually got a charm bracelet of my own that I haven't really worn for years, and reading this book has made me want to start collecting them again and reminiscing on the old charms. I found the storytelling to be marvellous, the way Hill flits between Holly's present day and past tales, to Greg being interwoven throughout the book, it reads smoothly and easily, with a cast of fantastic characters you will love, and not want to leave behind. I think this is one of my favourite Melissa Hill books, and is certainly one I will come back to again, and there aren't many books I can say that about. Simply a delight to read, I loved it all.
You can buy The Charm Bracelet as a hardback or an eBook now.