Take all the chick lit novels you’ve ever read. Now add in a Christmas in New York setting and some mystery and you have the recipe for Melissa Hill’s latest offering, The Charm Bracelet.
Holly O’Neill is a single working mother in New York. On the day of her father’s funeral, she was anonymously sent a charm bracelet, and since then has been sent charms to help her through the challenging times in her life. Holly’s whole life is on the bracelet and she can never take it off, as she “feels naked without it.”
One day, while examining the clothes that have just come into the vintage clothes shop she works in, she finds another charm bracelet in the pocket of a coat. She makes it her mission to reunite the bracelet with its owner.
The premise of the story, while a good idea for a novel, has been done in other ways countless times, one example being Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You. However, this particular story is written in a style that keeps the reader engaged as we try to solve the mystery of the sub plot- the story of Greg Matthews.
Greg is a stock broker on Wall Street who leaves his cushy job to pursue his dream career as a photographer, much to the chagrin of his live-in girlfriend Karen. This, by the way, is a decision made after selling just one picture he has taken, so Karen’s anger is more than justified. It becomes hard for the reader to side with Greg in this decision. The sub plot of this story revolves around Greg’s new career and Karen’s attempts to adjust to this new change, all while Greg and his father Jeff deal with the pressures of having their family affected by cancer. Greg’s story, while ultimately showing how fickle some people can be, really didn’t have any major impact in the story. It does, however, show the importance of communication in relationships.
The story of the owner of the bracelet is also given throughout the novel, starting from when they received the bracelet for the first time to when they were given the latest charm on it. It is clear that the bracelet meant a great deal to them, and it will make any readers who have a charm bracelet of their own re-evaluate the charms they have on theirs.
With a Christmas in New York setting, the novel has all the stereotypical images associated with this; finding a Christmas tree, ice skating outside the Rockefeller Centre, even a Christmas proposal, which is done in that typically American extravagant fashion. As with most chick lit novels, it quickly becomes clear where the story will lead, yet the ending brings a surprise that will leave even the most cynical reader reeling.
Even though the story is set at Christmas, it would be the perfect companion on that sun holiday to Lanzarote you have booked for the summer.