I almost took Melissa Hill's The Gift of a Lifetime back to the library. Then, I read the back flap again. An Irish immigrant to New York City loves movies and New York. At Christmastime, someone sends her on a treasure hunt to movie-related sites in the city. It sounded Christmasy and fun.
Beth's passion is Hollywood movies. She shared that love with her Irish grandmother. Now that she's been living in New York, and has been together with her boyfriend, Danny, for seven years, she still sees the city and her relationship through the eyes of a movie lover. Her co-worker, Jodi, tries to tell her "Life isn't like the movies", but Beth refuses to believe it. Now, after seven years together though, Danny doesn't seem as receptive to her happiness or bubbly nature. He's working long hours, takes secret phone calls, won't let her empty his pockets.
So, Beth is receptive when a new man at the department store where she works shows a little interest. She flirts with Ryan, but she tells him she's in a committed relationship. But how committed is Danny? And, then someone sends Beth a cup of coffee via messenger. It's the start of a treasure hunt throughout the city, with clues relating to movies set in Manhattan. As Beth gets more excited about the hunt, Jodi warns her that if it isn't Danny sending the clues, someone is stalking her. Beth's love of movies leads her to unknown people as she hunts for the next hint. What man cares enough about her to set up a special hunt just for her?
I was a little disappointed in The Gift of a Lifetime. It took one hundred pages to get to the treasure hunt. Beth came across as too naive and innocent. She avoided talking to Danny about problems with their relationship. And, the other characters didn't seem to have any depth. The movie trivia was fun, but the story fell flat for me. However, readers who loved Melissa Hill's novel, A Gift from Tiffany's, may appreciate her latest book more than I did. It just didn't capture New York and Christmastime as I thought it would.
Melissa Hill's website is www.melissahill.info
The Gift of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill. St. Martin's Griffin. 2016. ISBN 9781250077158 (paperback), 374p.
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