Where do I even begin to describe how much I adored Every Time a Bell Rings?! Inspired by the beautiful film that is It's a Wonderful Life, comes the story of Belle, who has to make the hardest decision of her life on the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin.
I may still have a few Christmas books to read but I think it is safe to say that Every Time a Bell Rings has become my all time favourite Christmas story. I simply fell in love with everything about this, from the characters to the setting, to the wonderful message I took away.
Carmel never fails to create characters that you instantly build a rapport with. Belle felt so real, I could easily imagine her living down the road from me and her story is just so heartbreaking that I wanted to be there for her. You get to know her so closely as the story flicks back and forth between present day and Belle growing up and going through foster care- a span of 17 years. Then there is of course Jim, ah Jim the big ride as he is referred to in this story and the relationship that he has with Belle over the years. Both originally met in foster care under the wonderful woman that is Tess, I loved reading about them all and again felt like I knew them. Ah I could go on but really don't want to spoil this beautiful story.
Despite it's heartache in places, I enjoyed reading this so much. It still managed to have that Christmassy feel and it literally warmed the cockles of my own heart. I am also a sucker for anything magical and magical this story was! I have never feel so many different emotions and get so wrapped up in a story as much as I do Carmel's. She is without a doubt one of my favourite authors.
As with the story, It's A Wonderful Life (if you haven't then you must!) you come away feeling that life is not so bad after all, just that sometimes you need to look at things a little differently to truly appreciate what you've got.
A stunning, heartwrenching but heartwarming read that you must must must read this Christmas!