Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Every Time a Bell Rings - Carmel Harrington

Today's review is part of the Around the World blog tour organised by Book Connectors in partnership with Trip Fiction and I'm delighted to be one of the first to share my thoughts on Carmel Harrington's new release Every Time a Bell Rings.
The Blurb
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.

Full of Irish charm, magic, and the warmth of the festive season this is an emotional, heartwarming story that will stay with you long after you’ve reached ‘The End’. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern & Jojo Moyes.

Carmel is the bestselling author of The Life You Left & Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, voted Romantic eBook of the Year 2013.

The Review
Oh why is it so hard to review a book you really loved?  It should be so incredibly effortless to string together a run of superlatives and reiterate the key points in a book in just the right way to create a review that encourages everyone who reads it that this is a book they must read.

But for me these reviews are the most difficult to write, maybe because of some inner pressure to do the book justice or because you don't want to spoil the story for anyone who does decide to pick it up.  As a book reviewer, I review books.  The clue is in the name.  So I'm just going to have to do my best and hope that it's enough.  Here goes nothing...

At first glance Every Time a Bell Rings is a Christmas book.  It's got a cover reminiscent of a classic Christmas card, a title taken directly from one of the most popular festive films of all-time and has plenty of references to the pop songs which are played on loop from the end of October through til New Year's Eve. 

However, this book is so much more than a Christmas romance. 

Set in Dublin, Every Time a Bell Rings is the story of Belle Bailey and Jim 'the big ride' Looney's relationship.  It follows their lives together from their childhood in foster care through to their reunion, marriage and their own parenting journey. 

Neither Belle nor Jim had an easy start in life and my heart broke for them as they came to terms with life in a foster family, but it's not all doom and gloom.  Carmel Harrington manages to fill even the most bleak scenes with a distant sense of hope and that's why this book has made such a lasting impression on me.  There are some upsetting moments, such as when Belle struggles with her mother's response to her letters, and another storyline later in the book had me sobbing uncontrollably. 

But overall the powerful message woven into every page of this story is that every life is important.  Every person has something to offer.  Your actions impact on others.  What you do, however small, has the potential to change the world, whether that's directly or indirectly.  You matter.

Belle and Jim's story is heartfelt and beautiful, gorgeously written in a way that tugged hard on my heartstrings.  Don't be fooled by the Christmassy exterior -  Every Time a Bell Rings is a novel that can help you reassess your place in the world at any time of year.  The famous quotes at the start of each chapter give even more food for thought.

I'm certain this is going to be another bestseller for Carmel Harrington.  Buy it.  You won't regret it.

Every Time a Bell Rings is released on October 15th in ebook format and November 19th in paperback, published by Harper Impulse.  Pre order here.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in return for my honest, unbiased opinion. 

The Around The World Blog Tour is a partnership between TripFiction and #BookConnectors ~ bloggers and authors, travelling the world through fiction.
TripFiction was created to make it easy to match a location with a book and help you select good literature that is most pertinent and relevant to your trip. A resource for armchair and actual travellers, it is a unique way of exploring a place through the eyes of an author. We blog, and chat books and travel across Social Media, and love to meet authors and bloggers as we take our literary journey.
Book Connectors was created as a place on Facebook for Bloggers, authors and small publishers to share their news. 

We encourage book promotions; information about competitions and giveaways; news of events, including launch events, signings, talks or courses. Talk about new signings, about film deals .... anything really.

Book Connectors is a friendly group, there are no rules or guidelines - just be polite and respectful to each other. 



  1. Can't wait to read this, even more so now I've read your review!

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