"The Charm Bracelet" is the latest novel by Melissa Hill ("the queen of the big plot twist"). The book has a beautiful purple cover and is akin to the "Something from Tiffany’s" cover, i.e. it would make a lovely gift of a book, even to yourself! Here is the synopsis:
Every charm bracelet tells a story and Holly O'Neill knows this better than most.
Years ago, at a difficult time in her life, a silver bracelet in a pretty wrapped box was delivered anonymously to her, a single charm attached. Some time later, another mysterious charm appeared, and the same thing happened many times over the years. Each charm proved to be significant in her life, as if her unnamed benefactor understood she needed some kind of talisman to help her through challenging times.
Since then, she has added her own charms - special reminders of the most important events in her life. Her bracelet makes memories tangible - spelling out the nuances of cherished moments through the shorthand of each tiny charm. For this reason, Holly's charm bracelet is her most prized possession.
So when one day, she stumbles across a bracelet that somebody else has lost, she recognises a lifetime spelt out through the very different charms, and knows she must try to reunite it with its owner. In order to try and track this person down, she uses each charm to help discover more about them.
But as Holly gradually begins to piece together the details of this person's life, her quest leads her somewhere she never expected. (Courtesy of Amazon.co.uk)
I found this to be a very sweet, heartfelt book that was perfect for a snugly read in bed; it leaves you with a warm feeling inside, not just at the end but all the way through. I think this was helped up by the build up to Christmas and New Years Day in the story. This is also down to having a very likable central character in long-term single-mum Holly, who has a heart of gold and sees the best in everyone. There is also Greg, who is as key to the story as Holly, and we follow his story throughout too, he is another very likable character who is keen to change his life around, moving from his high-powered job to becoming a self-employed photographer, much to his long-term girlfriend’s annoyance. It’s not until the latter stages of the novel that the two character’s lives become intertwined by the bracelet.
The detective work Holly and her family and friends have to put in to track the owner of the bracelet down maintained my interest and intrigue throughout, and even when obstacles are thrown in her way, Holly doesn’t give up, nor do you want her to. I also enjoyed being transported back to the stories behind each of Holly’s own charms on her bracelet.
I loved the additional characters in the book, Greg’s dad, and Holly’s mum and son; there was a real sense of family in this book, not always straightforward relationships, but forever important.
The story is set in New York and I really felt transported there! I’m sure if I go to New York again, I wouldn’t be able to visit Greenwich Village without looking out for the vintage clothes store where Holly works, which I pictured to be in a very specific spot!
The only negative I can come up with is that it took me a while to decide how I felt about the ending. There was a twist and this left me questioning how realistic it was, but it’s difficult to say more without giving anything away! Anyway, in the end I decided I quite liked the fact that the book wasn’t tied up as predictably as might be anticipated. I would love to see the characters feature in future books by Melissa Hill so we can see how things develop.
A further positive for me was that whilst I read an uncorrected proof copy originally, every one of the typos/inconsistencies I’d marked was addressed for the final version as I had made a point of checking.
I never saw the attraction in charm bracelets before reading this book, but now I think I will smile if I ever see one on someone’s wrist, and I’ll be wondering what the story behind each charm is. I could definitely see this book being turned into a film.
A sweet recommended read from me.
More by Melissa Hill: