25 October 2013

Book Review: A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill

"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, Aiden. 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 Aiden be the happy ever after she's always imagined?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy A Gift to Remember as a hardback or an eBook now.

Melissa Hill is one of my favourite chick lit writers of all time, I absolutely love her mysterious tales, and get so involved in them each time I pick one up. Her latest book is a wintery offering, not exactly a Christmas story but it is certainly a fantastic book to curl up with as winter approaches. I want to mention the cover as well because it is just stunning and is certainly perfect to me, characters coming to life out of the pages of a book... what more could you want? I eagerly got stuck into the book a few nights ago, and just could not put it down, it's one of my favourite reads by Melissa Hill to date, and here's why I think it's a must-read this winter.

Darcy is a serious book lover, and consequently loves her job working a small book store in New York City. She loves everything about it, from shelving the new books to chatting about her beloved stories with the customers who visit her shop. However, things come crashing down when on her way to work one day, she runs a man down on her bicycle as he comes across the crossing. His dog is left behind, and he's rushed to hospital, and Darcy is determined to help the stricken man, especially when she finds out he needs her help. Darcy is determined to assist Aiden in any way she can, and begins to construct a life for him in her mind... to her, he seems like the perfect man. As time goes on, will Darcy and Aiden realise they are a match made in heaven, or is it too good to be true?

I really loved this book from the beginning. I loved Darcy, I could see so much of myself in her - her love of books, getting lost in stories and characters, and also being a little bit of a loner too. She's very independent but seems to really love living in New York City. I love how Melissa Hill describes the city through her eyes, and brings to life the places, sights and even things like the hustle and bustle of the streets, the way she zips about riding her bicycle, it all sounds perfect to be honest! The bookshop too sounds wonderful, crammed with gorgeous books, luxurious bags for the customers and some fun young bookworms working in there... what more would you want?!

The slow progression of the story between Darcy and Aiden was perfect, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. He is a mystery both to the reader and Darcy at first, and it's fun to try and guess who he is, what he does and more about his back story. Darcy's way of finding out more is fun to read, and you feel like you're on a little bit of an adventure with her as she tries to piece together Aiden's life. I enjoyed the split narrative that comes in a short while after the book, hearing Aiden's story from his point of view, and this introduces us to yet another mystery - what exactly is Aiden up to in the run up to Christmas and why?!  I loved trying to guess, and I'm pleased to say Melissa fooled me this time, I certainly didn't expect the answer to this mystery and it was fun to read and find out!

While this isn't exactly a festive read, it is a perfect winter story because it's set in New York, one of the best places in the world to be at Christmas, and it's a sweet story about the kindness of strangers, and helping those who are in need. I loved reading everything about it, from the descriptions of New York, to Darcy's different relationships in the book, both with her neighbours, colleagues, Aiden and her aunt Katherine, who was a very interesting character. Hill writes so beautifully, you can get really lost in her stories, and this one is certainly no exception. It's a fantastic story, I loved not being able to guess the answer to Aiden's mysterious tale and the pace of the story was perfect too, it keeps you guessing and interested, but gives you plenty of detail and leaves you free to come to your own conclusions too. For me, this si one of Melissa Hill's best books to date, a story about a book lover is perfect for me, and the setting just added to that magic. I loved it, and can't recommend it enough!

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