A GIFT TO REMEMBER – Melissa Hill
St. Martin's Griffin (Trade Paperback)
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
New York City, Shortly Before Christmas
Darcy Archer loves books, a love she shared with her parents before she lost them when she was twelve. Her mother's sister, a successful business woman, is not the book lover Darcy is, but gave her a home until she went out on her own. Darcy now manages a welcoming bookstore on Manhattan's Upper West Side. She travels to and from work by bicycle, and on a cold and snowy morning she almost hits a dog that seems to appear out of nowhere. She misses the young Husky, but she hits its master, knocking him down and out. Darcy herself is only bruised, but as the ambulance carries the man away, she feels obliged to take care of the dog until she can reunite dog and master when the man wakes up...if he does. Darcy is about to embark on a difficult and emotional journey.
With the help of friends, Darcy learns the man's name, Aiden Harris, and where the man was taken, but the hospital won't give out any information, so she leaves a message and proceeds to juggle work and dog sitting, all the while worrying about the good looking stranger. The hospital eventually calls to say the man is awake and asking to see her. He asks Darcy to help him learn all she can about him, as his only memory is of his dog Bailey.
With her contacts and those of her aunt's and friends', Darcy ferrets out what she can, but the breakthrough comes when out walking Bailey and she tugs on his leash and utters the word “home.” Bailey obliges by pulling her to an awe inspiring brownstone. She thinks she has found his home, but no one answers her knocks. Back at the hospital, Aiden finds several keys in his belongings. . .
A GIFT TO REMEMBER is filled with the world of books and the flavor of Manhattan. What reader would not be intrigued? The chapters are divided between Darcy's and Aiden's points of view with most belonging to Darcy, whose life and world are most interestingly purveyed. (It took a few chapters for me to realize that the chapters with no quotes at the start were portrayals of the time just before Aiden's injuries. That earned me a well deserved “Duh!”)
It's a fat book, but the pages have generous spacing making it easy to read. Both Darcy and Aiden are in their thirties, so they have interesting backstories, and the plot has more than enough puzzles and twists to keep the pages turning.