On the day of her father’s funeral, Holly received an anonymous gift; a charm bracelet. Throughout her life, charms have turned up mysteriously marking important events or choices. When she finds another charm bracelet in a vintage coat, she is determined to reunite it with its owner. When she can’t find the previous owner of the coat she must piece together the clues hidden within the charms themselves.
Set around Christmas time, The Charm Bracelet is a slightly whimsical seasonal read. Holly makes all sorts of assumptions about the charms and there are a lot of coincidences but it’s exactly the sort of story that works during the holidays. It’s a little bit of the magic of Christmas.
The charm bracelet stories follow two lives; that of Holly and the events which contributed to her bracelet and that of the anonymous owner of the lost bracelet. They sort of make me want to start a charm bracelet myself! Holly works in a vintage clothes shop and it starts out with some lovely descriptions of the clothes. I wanted a bit more of that really. The strongest part is that of Greg’s parents’ relationship and this lifted the book from a bit of festive fluff to something quite moving by the end.
Greg’s career story got on my nerves a bit and in all honesty, it doesn’t really contribute to the charm bracelet stories. Yes, he symbolises giving up a high paid job that he doesn’t love to follow his dreams but the way it’s done is pretty unbelievable. His girlfriend Karen is probably meant to portray the woman who values material possessions over happiness however I wanted to side with her. If you live with your partner and share a mortgage, you shouldn’t quit your job without telling them first and expect them to be OK. She tries to be understanding but that sort of lack of communication and disregarding others will drive a wedge in any relationship. Yes, maybe she likes the life that both their jobs provide but still, Greg’s behaviour was pretty selfish even if he meant well.
As for his photography career. He takes one photo of a much photographed building and sells it and suddenly he’s amazing. Again I sided with Karen on this. He walks into a cushy job with NYT with no experience and he shoots film. Now I’m all for film with regards to fine art photography but if you’re being sent on journalistic assignments, you need to be shooting digital. Think of all those potential Pulitzer prize winning moments that will be missed because you’re changing the roll. Plus he’s developing and printing colour at home? Please? And when Karen tries to help him get a paid, commercial photography job he’s all dismissive. Most struggling photographers would be grateful for the experience and, hello, money. I’m pretty sure non-photographers will not care about any of this but it was all so cloud-cuckoo land, I couldn’t cope with his part of the story.
Once the plot moved past Greg’s work life, I got quite into the intertwined stories and did stay up a little later than normal to finish it. I’m a little confused by something at the end but I was left with a tear in my eye. However it was very nearly a book I gave up on.
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It's not the best prose in the world but I think it improves as the story goes on. Some of her sentence structure is a little clunky and Greg managed to come across as a bit of a nob instead of someone to root for. Though when it comes to xmas and watch a lot of stuff that I would normally reject the rest of the year!
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My family has a charm bracelet tradition and so I was quite intrigued by this – it was on my wishlist for quite a while actually.
Then I saw it in Waterstones and flicked through it, and it seemed to be written REALLY badly so I put it back down again. What do you think?