Friday, 4 December 2015

Review: Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

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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.

Every Time A Bell Rings, An Angel Gets It Wings is a saying that I'm familiar with, 
I always turn to the angels when I'm in times of distress and angels automatically make me think of my late granddad. 
That said I was a little apprehensive of reading the book - I refuse to read other bloggers reviews as I don's want them to influence my review, so I tend to just look at their rating and headline and decide if I'm going to read a book from that, occasionally though, you see more of a review that you intend and this book is one of those as I saw a few times the title of the book along with the film 'It's A Wonderful Life' mentioned... judge me all you like but I haven't seen the film and so deciding whether to read this book posed the question on if I needed to watch the film first, would I need to know the similarities etc etc. In the end, I liked the sound of the blurb and decided to just go for it.

Within a chapter or two I was totally and completely hooked. I really don't want to give too much away of this book but in a nutsell we have Belle Bailey. A young lady who was fostered as a child. 
She was moved from foster home to foster home before settling down at Tess' house. Her Christmas was was to have a friend to play with and as if my magic, Santa delivers her just that in the form of Jim Looney (I love that name!). Belle and Jim become inseparable, until Jim's mother proves herself and Jim leaves Tess' home and Belle behind. 

Several years later and Jim is back, instantly him and Belle pick up from where they left off and within no time the book has moved forward to them being married and foster parents themselves. Children of all ages come and go until they meet Lauren who is that extra bit special. That is until its time for Lauren to move on and Belle is once again saying goodbye, this time she takes it harder than normal and during a row with Jim, their car slips and slides on ice resulting in a crash.

At this point the book took a complete turn for me. Belle is scared and runs, when she eventually stops she comes face to face with Nora who is familiar yet they have never met. Nora, as the synopsis hints, is an angel. Over the next few chapters she shows Belle how her life would have been if her wish of "I wish I was never born" came true, and how her being here has enriched the lives of others.

The book was incredibly well written, made up with parts from Belle's childhood, adulthood and present day.
Belle and Jim's story was heart breaking and emotional yet at the same time uplifting and heart warming - the sort of characters that you would love to know in real life - full of love not only for each other but for those around them, people that are always looking for ways to help others.

I loved how Nora was written in to the story, she appears a few times in the early chapters which become clearer when she has her spotlight moment. The other characters, Tess and Bobby, were a testament to the main characters and the descriptions of the book and characters were perfect.

I couldn't put this book down, it made me smile and it made me cry - happy tears. Its a story of love, hope and ultimate happiness, plus its warm and Christmassy which is always a bonus - on that basis I can't give it a 1-5 rating. It goes pride of place on my 'Extra Special Books' page and is awarded my PowerFlower rating!

I have read and reviewed this book to take part with the #HarperXmas event - for more reviews, guest posts and giveaways please search the hash tag!

I would like to thank the publishers for a digital copy via NetGalley - this has been my honest opinion.

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