Title: The Gift of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 383 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
From Melissa Hill, the internationally-bestselling author of A Gift from Tiffany’s comes another New York Christmas love story make you fall in love all over again.
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…
Set against the backdrop of iconic New York City landmarks, The Gift of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill is a sweet, mostly light-hearted holiday romance with a few serious undertones for a couple in a long term relationship.
A longtime fan of romantic movies, Beth Harper is gearing up for another Christmas season when she begins to realize her seven year relationship with her soul mate Danny Bishop might be in trouble. As he grows increasingly distracted and busy with work, she cannot help but wonder if there is more to the sudden disconnect between them than the upcoming holidays and a hectic work schedule. But with a desire to avoid conflict, Beth continues to ignore her suspicions as she indulges in a friendship with her new co-worker Ryan Buchanan. When she suddenly begins receiving mysterious clues based on some of her favorite romance movies filmed in New York, she cannot help but wonder which man in her life is responsible for the scavenger hunt. Has Danny suddenly decided to try to put the spark back in their relationship? Or is Ryan trying to take their light flirtation to a new level?
Beth is a bit starry eyed as she views life filtered the lenses of her favorite movies. Not one to face conflict head on, she ignores the growing problems between her and Danny as she gets to know Ryan and follows the intriguing clues she is receiving. While Beth’s unfailingly upbeat and positive outlook is refreshing, it becomes somewhat irritating once she begins to realize her relationship with Danny is in trouble. Luckily her close friend, Jodi Cartwright, refuses to let her continue to bury her head in the sand, but Beth is hard-pressed to take her friend’s advice to find out what is happening with both Danny and their relationship. Growingly increasingly confused by Danny’s emotional and physical distance, Beth is conflicted as she tries to decide whether he or Ryan is behind the trail of clues she is following.
Danny is a bit of an enigmatic figure since readers do not know what is going on with him anymore than Beth does. Some of the information revealed about him does not dispel any of the mystery and like Beth, it is easy to become suspicious of him. Danny is keeping a huge secret from Beth but what that might be is anyone’s guess since his actions are a direct contradiction to his obvious love for her. This push/pull drives the plot but the uncertainty becomes a little tedious since neither he nor Beth are willing to discuss what is occurring in their relationship.
The romance movies and iconic New York landmarks are a fun aspect to their storyline and help make it stand out from other holiday themed romances. Movie buffs are going to enjoy trying to figure out the perplexing clues and their significance to Beth. The setting springs vibrantly to life as Beth, with a little assistance from Jodi, deciphers each message then follows them to their destination.
The Gift of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill is a heartwarming holiday romance. The novel is well-written with a refreshingly unique storyline. Despite a few annoyances with Beth and Danny’s refusal to discuss their problems, they are likable characters that readers will find easy to root for. Readers will need to exercise patience since none of the storylines are wrapped up until the novel’s surprising conclusion. All in all, an engrossing story that movie lovers and fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.