All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Gift Of A Lifetime by Melissa Hill

on October 17, 2016

gift-of-a-lifetimeThe Gift Of A Lifetime
Melissa Hill
St Martins Griffin
2016, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Hollywood movies are Beth’s passion. She hopes her life will always be filled with classic movie moments, where magical things happen every day. Her boyfriend Danny has always been the embodiment of her perfect Hollywood hero—though after seven years together the initial silver-screen romance has settled into something more predictable.

Then one morning at work just before Christmas, Beth receives an anonymous gift of a take-out coffee cup with a cryptic message. From there, she is given a series of other gifts and riddles directing her to some of NYC’s most popular landmarks—a treasure trail using unique rom-com-related prompts perfect for a movie-lover like Beth to decipher.

And she is forced to wonder: has Danny realized their relationship needs a boost—or could it be that charming new work colleague Ryan with his intense gaze, flirtatious smile, and almost encyclopedic movie knowledge, wants to sweep her off her feet? How would she feel about taking a chance on a leading man who seems determined to give her the Christmas gift of a lifetime…

It’s not often that I can say this and to be honest I really don’t actually like saying it but I didn’t like this book. At all.

I requested it as part of my holiday reading – I took my kids to see my family up north for two weeks where the weather is infinitely better and imagined lazy days reading fluffy books by the pool. At first glance, this seemed pretty perfect. It looked like a straightforward story about a movie addict torn between her suddenly-distant-boyfriend-of-seven-years-who-won’t-propose and a hot new guy at work who seems more than interested. Add in a movie themed treasure hunt around New York City and it just seemed like perfect, light-hearted fun.

A portion of the way through I began to feel like I was being incredibly manipulated and that the carefully placed few scenes from Beth’s boyfriend Danny’s point of view were supposed to be make me assume one thing – all the vague evidence seemed to point that way. But I wasn’t particularly convinced. And halfway through I said to myself “If this turns out to be X, I’m chucking this book at the wall.”

It turned out to be X. But I was reading it on my iPad, so I refrained from chucking it at the wall.

I’m not going to spoil anything, or reveal who orchestrated the treasure hunt for Beth. What I will say however, is that I actually thought it was a really shitty thing to do, given the circumstances that played out. I’m not a movie aficionado so most of the time the leaps in logic Beth made to figure out clues and move onto the next totally went over my head – it seemed unnecessarily complicated at times, super involved and detailed a lot of running around New York where everything seemed to also go incredibly smoothly and her path toward the next clue was never blocked nor did she have too much trouble figuring everything out.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and never really felt invested in either wanting Beth and Danny’s long term relationship to pan out or hoping that Beth dumped him and ran off with the good looking colleague who’d just started working at the same department store as Beth. I found Beth’s burying her head in the sand over Danny’s constant absences from their home, his strange and apparently out-of-character behaviour and seeming withdrawal from their relationship very odd. They’ve been a couple for seven years and she can’t sit down and ask him what’s going on with him and why he’s never around anymore? She just wants to pretend it’s not happening and yet seems to harbour a secret hope that the orchestrator of the treasure hunt is Ryan from work, presumably so that if Danny is having an affair, as she suspects, then she can say oh well, this guy from work wants me anyway!

Unfortunately I just really disliked this (and the biggest reason why I can’t say without spoiling the entire plot). However I’m pretty much on my own as there are many glowing reads on Goodreads so don’t let my dislike of emotional manipulation and “twists” put you off if you’re curious about it. What absolutely didn’t work for me will be what other people love about it.

Book #184 of 2016

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