Monday, 19 October 2015

Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

Ebook: Out Now
Paperback: To be published on 19th November

Published by HarperImpulse

Purchase from Amazon here

The blurb:

An angel gets its wings…

Belle has taken all the Christmas decorations down. This year they won’t be celebrating.

As foster parents, Belle and Jim have given many children the chance of a happier start in life. They’ve loved them as if they were their own. They shouldn’t have favourites but little Lauren has touched their hearts. And now her mother is well enough to take her back and Belle can’t bear the loss.

Hence, Christmas is cancelled.

So when Jim crashes his car one icy December night, after an argument about Lauren, Belle can only blame herself. Everything she loves is lost. And Belle finds herself standing on The Ha’Penny Bridge wishing she had never been born.

But what happens to a Christmas wish when an angel is listening…

Will Belle realise, before it’s too late, that her life is the most wonderful life of all?

Inspired by the timeless tale of beloved Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, Carmel Harrington’s next book tells the story of Belle, a young woman and foster carer from Dublin who faces the hardest decision of her life this Christmas on The Ha’Penny Bridge.

My review:

Take the phone off the hook, put on your comfiest pj's, line up some snacks and your favourite tipple, then wrap yourself up all snuggly and get ready to lose yourself in the world of Belle and Jim! I want to shout from the rooftops 'hooray! Carmel is back and her writing is as magical as ever!'.

Every Time A Bell Rings is a truly beautiful story of love, family, loss, overcoming adversity, and never giving up, that will leave you with a warm glow and a sense that happiness and magic. I loved this book and had trouble putting it down as it really did grab me. Yet I am finding it hard to know how to write a review as I don't want to give too much away, and I don't feel that I can do the book justice.

The book introduces us to Belle and Jim who are the main characters. As the synopsis says, Belle and Jim are foster parents (brilliant foster parents). They have been caring for Lauren, a wonderful little girl who has bought lots of happiness into their lives, and are devastated when Lauren is ready to go back to her Mum. But this is only one small part of a magically told story, told in three parts. What we actually get is so much more. The story is told in three parts and we are lucky enough to follow them both through troubled childhoods into adult life,and I totally fell in love with both of them. It is not an easy ride with many bumps along the way. Having created characters that are very realistic and addictive it is easy to get lost in the book and transported to Dublin and their lives.

I could easily sit here and take you through all three parts of the book in detail outlining what I loved about it, but that would spoil the treat for you, and the synopsis of the book already has quite a bit of detail.

Each chapter opens with a quote which I absolutely loved. I am a sucker for a good quote and this book is jam packed full of them, all of which are thought provoking and beautiful. Infact the book as a whole is very thought provoking. It is not a spoiler to mention that Jim is involved in a car crash. This results in a life changing event for Belle which includes an angel and looking at how life could have turned out differently for each of the main characters. I admit to being slightly nervous when this happened as I wasn't quite prepared for it, and was worried that the angel may take the story I was loving into realms of the unbelievable. But I was wrong. What happens actually is some of the most powerful stuff in the book which I found very thought provoking. I am a great dreamer and what if'er, so this resonated with me. What would it be like of life had turned out differently?

I have to mention the characters of Tess and Bobby, both of whom I loved. Tess is the foster mother who gives unconditional love, kindness, encouragement and is a genuinely good person. I found myself hoping that I could offer even half of the qualities she has to my daughter and family. I also adored Bobby, one of Belle and Jims foster children. He was funny, endearing and a character I really wanted a happy ever after for. Looking at how things might have turned out without Belle and Jim had me wanting to jump in to the book and rescue him.

The book bought many smiles to my face throughout. I come from Irish family and spent every summer there as a child, so could relate to the Irish phrases, but even more to the references of tayto crisps and tiffin chocolate bars....I am craving them since! I also loved that my favourite book of all time is mentioned 'The Magic Faraway Tree'.

I have become a massive fan of Carmel since reading her first book Beyond Graces Rainbow. To me she is an incredible writing talent. Her style of writing is warm, evocative, thought provoking and a reminder to live life to the full and love those around you. This book is no exception. Thankyou for writing another book to savour. I can't wait for the next one.

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