A GIFT TO REMEMBER
Authors: Melissa Hill
Simon & Schuster RRP $24.99
Review: Monique Mulligan
Every now and then I like a warm, fuzzy book, something sweet and engaging, something that leaves me feeling like I’ve just eaten a whole pile of comfort food (without the guilt). Melissa Hill’s latest novel, A Gift to Remember, was exactly that – comfort food for the soul. It’s pure feel-good reading, and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. Hill has written 12 other novels, yet this is the first of hers I’ve read. I’d happily read another next time in the mood for a comfort read.
Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore (only my dream job) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She cycles to work (even in winter), dreams of having her own bookstore, and despite the best efforts of her aunt is holding out for the perfect man … someone like Mr Darcy or Mr Rochester, perhaps. The day she crashes into a well-dressed man walking his dog turns her life upside down – he is taken to hospital and she is left with a Husky called Bailey, a beautifully wrapped package, and a whole lot of guilt when she realises the man has temporary amnesia as a result of the accident. Driven by a mix of guilt, curiosity and kindness, Darcy decides to help Aiden recover his life, and in the process comes to feel more for him than she ever dreamed. But has she built up a picture that’s more fantasy than reality?
Hill has delivered an engaging read with an especially appealing character in Darcy (of course, I could relate to her love of books). She has a strong sense of doing the right thing and hates to let people down – not that she’s flawless or saintly, just a decent person. I almost wondered why a good man hadn’t already swept her off her feet, but I’d say that she hides behind books as much as for protection as for a love of reading (her parents died when she was young, so she likely has a deep-seated fear of losing people she loves). Aiden is almost like a “project” for her – her need to fix things in this case was almost obsessive and it’s lucky she had such understanding co-workers. Hill adds a few little twists in the story to keep people guessing (and to drag it out a bit longer – it’s 400+ pages), but ultimately everything falls into place as expected. A little predictable, but it felt right.
A Gift to Remember is a fast read – I read it in one sitting on one of those rare occasions I had uninterrupted reading time. If I had to use one word to describe it, I’d say charming. However, since I rarely use one word, I’ll add sweet, light and romantic to the mix. If you like chick-lit, check out this book … I’ll certainly be checking out more from Melissa Hill in the future.
Available from good bookstores. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for my copy.
Bookish treat: Chocolate drops. They’re sweet, light and fast to eat.