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 another charming and romantic novel from Melissa Hill with her special mix of New York, romance and a little mystery. This is definitely a book for book lovers and my attention was captured straight away by bookworm Darcy and the wonderful book shop that she works in, Chaucer’s. Melissa’s descriptions of Chaucer’s are fab and the little anecdotes about the customers who come into the store made me smile.
Each chapter starts with a little bookish quote and I loved the references to favourite books like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights throughout the story. Despite being resolutely single, Darcy is quite a romantic at heart but hasn’t met anyone to match up to the heroes of her favourite novels in real life yet and would much rather spend the night curled up with a good book than out at the swanky events her very successful aunt tries to get her to go to. I could easily picture Darcy and her cosy apartment bursting with books in the middle of Manhattan and as I read I was really rooting for her to find her happy ever after.
Set at Christmas time, A Gift to Remember is a captivating read and as in her previous books, The Charm Bracelet and Something from Tiffany’s, Melissa again captures the magic of one of my favourite cities. That said, I was reading the book in the middle of the English summer time and it didn’t feel out of place as although there are Christmas references, the story isn’t really about Christmas, rather focusing on Darcy and her quest to help the man she knocks over remember his life and identity.
Darcy’s victim, Aiden is an interesting character and I thought the amnesia story line with him was very well done. It really made me think about the image that we present and what our clothes, belongings and where we live say about us. I thought Melissa did an excellent job of letting his personality show through despite the fact that he can’t remember anything about his life.
The secret star of the story though is Bailey, a gorgeous silver husky dog who Darcy feels it is her duty to care for following Aiden’s accident. I’m not normally much of a dog person but Bailey totally won me over and I also really enjoyed the sub plot with Darcy’s neighbour Grace; although she only had a small role in the book, her story really touched me.
As Darcy starts to try to figure out who Aiden is and how to reunite him with his loved ones there are more questions than answers and her detective works takes her on a fun journey into the world of New York’s blue blood elite. Who is the mysterious Mel, how do the clues fit together and what is in the beautifully wrapped package that Aiden was carrying at the time of the accident? I spent most of the book trying to guess the answers to these questions and work out what Aiden’s story was – this is a big part of the fun of Melissa’s novels and I enjoyed the twists and turns that the story took.
A Gift to Remember is a lovely, heart-warming modern day fairytale and is perfect for escaping with – I only wish I could escape to Chaucer’s for a cuppa and a chat about books with Darcy for real!
A Gift to Remember is out in paperback and ebook formats on 3rd July.
I’d like to thank Simon and Schuster for providing a review copy of this book.