All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: A Gift To Remember – Melissa Hill

on January 15, 2014

Gift To RememberA Gift To Remember
Melissa Hill
Simon & Schuster
2014, 403p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AU

Darcy Archer is 33 and works in Chaucer’s, an independent bookstore in New York. Despite the somewhat low pay, this is her dream job and gives her the chance to spend her days immersed in books. Named for the character in Pride & Prejudice, books and reading, particularly the classics have formed a large part of Darcy’s life.

One icy winter’s day when cycling to work, Darcy hits a man walking a dog and carrying a package. He’s knocked out cold by the collision and after the ambulance takes him away to hospital, Darcy realises that his dog, a beautiful Husky named Bailey has been left behind with no one to care for him. Feeling terribly guilty, Darcy takes Bailey and attempts to find out how the man is and if there’s anyone she can contact to let them know of the accident and also, to relinquish care of Bailey to. Only there seems to be no one and when Aidan regains consciouness, he doesn’t remember anything about his life. The hospital won’t discharge him and so Darcy ends up with temporary custody of Bailey. And the mysterious, well wrapped package.

Because Aidan cannot remember what he was doing, nor has anyone come forward worried about his whereabouts, Darcy takes it upon herself to track down as much information as she can about Aidan, to hopefully help him deliver the package that he was carrying and find people who surely must be looking for him by now. As she slowly begins to construct together pieces of Aidan’s life, Darcy begins to build a picture of a man inside her head – and he’s pretty darn perfect. Apart from the whole amnesia thing, but that’s surely just temporary. Aidan could be the one for her.

I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit I haven’t heard of Melissa Hill until now but a quick check reveals that she has written a lot of successful books. This one looked like a lot of fun and a perfect summer read despite the fact that it’s set in New York around Christmas time and features lots of snow! It’s a really sweet tale of someone trying to right a wrong and going above and beyond the call of duty in order to do so….but even with the best of all intentions, things can go awry!

Darcy has given up a career working for a magazine to take the job at Chaucer’s, much to the disappointment of her aunt. A career woman who raised Darcy from the time Darcy was 12 after her parents were killed, her Aunt Katherine has always pushed Darcy to be ambitious, to secure the good job, to go for the eligible man. But Darcy prefers a quieter life, working with books and then going home and reading books. Given she has my ideal kind of job and lives her life probably much as I would if I were not married and a mother, I found her easy to relate to. Except for the bicycle thing. Riding around Manhattan in snow and ice and freezing temperatures strikes me as slightly mad and that’s probably about the kindest thing I can say for how I feel about it!

A combination of things mean Darcy is running late and takes a traffic risk which leads to her collecting poor Aidan who is in a bit of a hurry himself. Aidan is attractive and nicely dressed and Darcy’s wild goose chase to discover more about him and what he was up to and who might be looking for him sends her into the upper echelons of Manhattan society as she struggles to connect the luxurious Central Park West residence with its priceless art, books etc with the man in the hospital, who doesn’t particularly seem at all overly wealthy. No information she brings him is even remotely familiar to Aidan and even though Darcy finds several phone numbers who recently contacted him, she can’t even find someone who seems to know where he is or anything about him. Even the people who know everyone, don’t know Aidan.

Darcy becomes so immersed in her task that it almost begins to take over her life. She visits Aidan constantly in hospital, trying to help him regain his memory or even just something. I think this is at first fueled by guilt – after all he wouldn’t be in hospital if it wasn’t for her. But she comes to genuinely like him and accepts that she might even have a bit of a crush even though all signs she’s uncovered so far point to Aidan having a beautiful and glamorous blonde girlfriend. She stretches herself further and further to try and sort everything out until she hits a kind of breaking point where she questions whether or not she can separate fact from fiction, real life from the sort of fantasy that she gets from her novels which she begins to wonder if she hasn’t concocted in real life concerning Aidan. Until now, she’d been sort of happy in her solitude but realising that Aidan had no one come forward for him, even after days, made her wonder if she wasn’t just a bit lonely herself.

Despite the fact that this book is a pretty hefty 400p, I raced through it in a matter of a couple of hours and the various twists and turns that Darcy encounters as she tries to unravel Aidan’s life kept me guessing. I do think that the ending was a bit brief compared to the longevity of the rest of the story but overall this was a cute, feelgood read that really held my attention and made me keen to check out more of Melissa Hill’s chick lit.


Book #10 of 2014


6 responses to “Review: A Gift To Remember – Melissa Hill

  1. Tien says:

    this sounds like a beautiful read and right up my alley! Love this type of plotline (amnesia x romance). Of course, the first thing that grabbed me from the WP reader was that she worked at a bookstore…. lol, had to check the whole thing out then 😉

  2. I don’t think I’d heard of Melissa Hill before now, either! The premise of this book really appeals to me.

  3. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone – Prior to your review I had never heard of Melissa Hill either 😉 That said, this novel does sound like a bit of fun, despite the fact that I don’t typically enjoy storylines that revolve around amnesia. I like the idea that there’s an air of mystery surrounding Aidan’s background, and now I’m curious to know what makes him so ‘perfect’! Like you, it sounds as though I could really relate to Darcy, given that she has my ideal job and lives her life much like I do now.

    I can’t wait to read this novel. You’re so bad for my to-be-read list, Bree! 😆

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