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I love a good chick lit novel, it is just such easy reading as well as being enjoyable, giving my brain a rest from whatever I've been doing that week! I'd been buying quite a few lately and amazon recommended this one to me, as usual it was a great recommendation!
I found the plot really intriguing and got totally engrossed in it, finding it a total page turner. It combined elements of a mystery with the usual chick lit novel, I kept trying to guess what would happen next but thankfully it wasn't totally predictable, at points I was quite shocked and loving the great plot twists!
Leonie from Dublin has up and moved to California to start a new life - why, we are not sure and I kept turning the pages as I really wanted to find out, little hints were dropped throughout but from the start it was clear that she was running from something bad, wanting a new start. While there she becomes fast friends with her neighbour Alex who has her own unresolved issues with her missing husband, but the real mystery of the story in Leonie's eyes is the box of unopened letters she finds in her new apartment. All of them are addressed to a Helena Abbott, ending with the line 'please forgive me,' and Leonie can't help but become involved in this mystery, desperate to discover who Helena is and what occurred between her and her lover, starting a hunt to find her and return her letters. But will she ever find her, and will Helena ever be able to forgive?
I really enjoyed this book, I'd definitely recommend it and am now looking into Melissa Hill's other books. I liked the element of mystery into it, and that there were two intertwined with each other, it was really lovely and added something to the story making it more than just your average chick lit novel.
The book is really cheap, good value as well as a good book which you don't seem to get that often! The recommended retail price is £6.99, I can't believe how many books are being about £9.99 these days! However I got mine from amazon where it is £4.62, or you can get it used with postage for £1.20 which is pretty much the same as the new version so might as well save some money on this good book!
I've been a big fan of the Irish writer Melissa Hill for quite a while now so I was really looking forward to reading 'Please Forgive Me' which was one that I had not yet read. It contained lots of the elements that you would expect from Melissa Hill and it was an enjoyable read although, for a couple of reasons, I did not enjoy it quite so much as others I had read from her.
At the start of the book we meet Leonie who is 'running away from home' even though she is in her thirties! We don't know what has led her to this but it definitely involves her fiancé Adam. As is usual with Melissa Hill, she has a way of teasing her reader by eking out the information she supplies about her characters which means that you keep coming up with your own scenarios. This is definitely what happened with me when I was reading Please Forgive Me.
Leonie ends up in San Francisco, where through finding a job in a florists and making good friends with her neighbour Alex (also female) she starts to put the past behind her. However, in the apartment that she rents, she discovers some unopened letters addressed to a woman called Helena Abbott that start to intrigue her. Although she knows that she shouldn't, she opens and reads one and this sets her on a quest to find out more about both sender and recipient of the letters. She is made more curious because the sender of the letter is begging for forgiveness but he does not say why.
This was an intriguing tale but I have to say that it took longer to hook me in than other Melissa Hill books. As Leonie continued to open the letters, I found them quite annoying as they were so repetitive and I felt quite unconvincing. I think that they could have held a little more substance whilst still being enigmatic in order to keep the reader guessing. Alongside this there was also the mystery as to why Leonie had fled her home in Dublin. There were flashbacks included throughout that helped to piece together her former life and I really enjoyed these as they helped to find out more about Leonie. There were incredibly heavy hints that something absolutely awful had happened and I couldn't think what it might be that was so awful so that meant my brain was going into overdrive. As you would expect, you do find out at the end and I couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed as I couldn't understand why the catalyst was quite as dreadful as was made out. Maybe that was just me though.
Having said that though, I did like all the characters and the story was well paced with a lot of smaller stories fitting in. I think the trouble for me was that, having read a few Melissa Hill books, I sort of knew what to expect and therefore some of the surprises were a bit too well signposted. However, she is very good at dropping in the unexpected and I'm sure that you wouldn't be able to guess a lot of the background to either mystery.
Please Forgive Me is not a bad book but it is also not one of Melissa Hill's best. If you have not read any, I would suggest taking a look at Before I Forget or Not What You Think which I do think are a lot better. However, I am glad that I read this book too and the paperback is currently available on Amazon for only £3.63 (December 2010).
'Please Forgive Me' by Melissa Hill is a fictional story which falls under the genre of chick-lit. Now for all of you that don't like chick-lit the very first thing I will say is don't be put off! I actually am not a huge fan of this genre myself, but do occasionally like it when I want an easy, uplifting read. However 'Please Forgive Me' is more than just that, it is also somewhat of a page turner and for this reason I think it would appeal to readers of most sorts.
The story has a few central characters, the main ones being Leonie who has moved from Ireland to San Francisco to get away from her troubles and Alex who lives in San Francisco but has a few problems of the romantic sort of her own. The two become friends quite early on in the story and through their friendship, we learn more about their problems. However it isn't as straightforward as all that, as the author, Melissa Hill does a brilliant job at keeping us guessing at what problems exactly these two ladies face. Rather than your average chick-lit read, this was more chick-lit - come mystery/thriller! I was quite taken in by the book at times, wandering more about the lives of these two characters even wanting to go on reading when I just didn't have the time. It was quite literally a page turner!
So a little bit more about the story for those who think this might just be your cup of tea...when Leonie initially moves to San Francisco and finds a place to rent, she also comes across a box full of letters addressed to a person whose name she does not recognise. She assumes that they must belong to the previous tenant but there's something about these letters that doesn't seem quite right. They all look like they were sent from the same person and they all look a little bit old. Leonie wants to know who they are from and who they need to be sent to, but in her efforts to get these strange letters to their rightful owner, the letters become more and more of a mystery! And how this fits in with Leonie's own problems and her new friend Alex's life is all part of this rollercoaster of a story.
I really did enjoy this book, which is probably already quite obvious from my review so far. I do mean it when I say that I often found myself struggling to put this book down. I don't get a massive amount of time to read, but when I did, I found myself relishing in the joy of reading 'Please Forgive Me', wondering what was going to happen next, and trying to figure out Leonie's past and Alex's complex present.
I can't hugely fault the book. If I have any criticisms it would be that for me, the conclusion of the book was just a little cheesy. But then I suppose it is meant to be a light-hearted feel-good book so I'm not sure that is really so bad.
I picked this up from my local library but you can buy it online at Amazon for £0.01 (used), plus p+p.
Thanks for reading!
Leonie has left her native Dublin and has fled to San Francisco. Moving into a beautiful apartment, Leonie happens upon a bunch of unopened letters. After accidentally opening one, Leonie sees that each letter ends 'Please forgive me. Nathan' and is instantly intrigued. She enlists the help of her neighbour Alex and the two begin the search for the elusive Nathan as well as Helena, who all of the letters are for. Just what did Nathan do that was so bad he required forgiveness?
Melissa Hill is an outstanding author. Truly one of the best chick lit/women's fiction authors around. Her plot-twists are legenday and every time I read one of her books I promise myself I will NOT try and figure out where the plot is heading because I fail miserably every time. Not only are Melissa's plot-twists legendary but her writing is outstanding also.
Please Forgive Me is a rather clever novel, with some oustanding twists and turns. I love it when people foreign to America write about living in America as the descriptions are always fantastic. Leonie runs away to San Francisco (California) and the descriptions are out of this world. Melissa really captures the essence of San Francisco and I'm curious to visit there one day. I'd love to see the Golden Gate bridge in person.
The plot for Please Forgive Me is tightly bound and I'd say the main plot was Leonie's search for Nathan and Helena so she could try and re-unite the couple and to also give back the letters she finds. It throws up numerous twists and just when I thought I had it sussed Melissa went and proved me completely wrong. I'd hate her for it, but it's what she does! The whole thing makes for an interesting read and I wasn't disappointed with its conclusion. Another storyline is exactly why Leonie left Dublin for San Francisco. We're given tidbits throughout the book to tide us over and the story is slowly unravelled. For me, that is what Melissa does best, revealing the plot slowly and keeping us guessing just what it was that drove Leonie to flee so far away. It was a suitably satisfying reason and I had my mouth open in shock when all was revealed. Leonie's friend Alex has a plot for herself, which I don't want to spoil, so I'll just say she's searching for someone. I did think her plot was going to be a bit darker - it seemed as if it was heading that way, but it didn't. I liked the way Alex's plot unfolded and everything was revealed quite quickly which surprised me. I figured there'd be another twist coming there what with the reveal being so soon!
The characters in Please Forgive Me were fantastic. Leonie was a great main character and I really liked her. She was immensely likeable and I enjoyed how easy she settled into the American lifestyle. The book was still Irish though, with Leonie's best friend Grace being around throughout the novel as well as Adam and co. back in Ireland whom we see through the flashbacks. Alex was also a fabulous character, very American compared to Leonie's Irishness and they complemented each other well. Their friendship came across really well and I could see why they got on so well. There were a few other characters integral to the story including Seth, Marcy, the aforementioned Adam, Andrea, Suzanne as well as Nathan and Helena who are of course completely intergral to the letters part of the story!
The writing is, as always, brilliant. Melissa really has a way with words that makes her books incredibly readable. As always with Melissa's books it's told in the third person. The book is told from the point of view of both Leonie and Alex as well as a few thrown in from Nathan. Nathan's were the most intriguing as they kept referring to him being "here" and I couldn't stop saying to myself "WHERE?". The book is told entirely in the present, bar the flashbacks to what went on in Dublin with Leonie and Adam. Their story is, as I said, built up slowly but we're told enough just to keep us guessing and reading. As always I was surprised with how easy Melissa juggled all of the plots in the book and kept them all up in the air at all times. The ending was fantastic and was worth all of the waiting and build-up. In one respect I was sad to finish the book but I thought Melissa tied up all of the knots perfectly. The last chapter is everything I had hoped for and more. It finishes the story perfectly. Another outstanding read from Melissa Hill.
Leonie was happily in love and engaged to fiancé Adam, but now she's living halfway across the world from him in San Franscisco. She doesn't want to be found, and she doesn't want people to know the secret she ran away from either. When she moves into a new home, she finds a box of letters all to the same woman from the same man, Nathan, begging for forgiveness. Leonie is curious and decides to find out who the mystery recipient is. She enlists the help of her neighbour Alex who has a fair few secrets herself - but is Leonie doing it for Nathan and his love, or to exorcise her own demons once and for all?
I've been an enormous fan of Melissa Hill's novels since I read my first one quite a few years ago now, and Melissa is one of those fantastic authors who just seem to get better with every book. Her last release, Before I Forget, was a triumph and is highly recommended by us, so I was thrilled to get a copy of Please Forgive Me, which amazingly is Melissa's 8th book! It promises to have yet another of Melissa's trademark twists which keep you absolutely glued to the pages, so I made sure I had plenty of free time when I began this one!
This book drew me in immediately, and this is mainly due to the brilliant main character of Leonie. She's an Irish girl who's upped sticks to live in America to escape her ex-fiance Adam, although we aren't told why she's done so for a long while yet! This is what I really love about Hill's books - the mystery of the story is told slowly throughout the book and is intertwined with the main story, and this really does work so well, making the book incredibly readable and drawing the reader right into the middle of the story. It's told in the third person which allows for flicking between characters and time periods too, which was interesting to read.
As with all of Melissa's books though, it isn't just the main character who I liked in the book. My other favourite character is Alex, Leonie's neighbour who she meets a while into the book. She's a real all-American girl, totally opposite to Leonie but this is why the friendship works so well between the pair. Their relationship changes and develops as the book progresses, and you can believe it's a real friendship too, it's so well written. Other characters pop up; Seth, Adam, Suzanna, Andrea and more and add so much to the story, they are all vital in their own way.
However, the thing that made this book stand out for me is that it isn't set in Ireland, although the main character is very Irish of course! Hill keeps the esssence of Ireland in there with Leonie's frequent references to her homeland and the flashbacks of Leonie and Adam's relationship, but the setting of San Francisco is perfect for this book. Hill perfectly describes the ever-changing weather, beautiful scenery and day-to-day life of the place and the reader is able to imagine they are sat there with Leonie staring out at the Golden Gate bridge in her bay window!
The letters aspect was completely intriguing and I never in a hundred years would have guessed the eventual outcome of this storyline. I guessed things along with Leonie and Alex and ended up being wrong at each turn and was surprised with what had happened - it wasn't at all what I had expected but still a good conclusion. But more gripping for me was what had happened between Leonie and Adam, a tale that was so skillfully unwound it was a pleasure to read and allowed me to sink into the life and woes of Leonie even though I didn't know what she was woeful about!
This book is an absolute must-read, especially if you haven't read any of Melissa's books before. It's elegantly written, compulsive reading at its best, and is a welcome addition to any reader's bookshelf. I loved every single page and found it hard to put down, even when I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open! The characters are fantastically written, the setting is beautifully written and it is a joy to read. I can't recommend it highly enough - the perfect read, all year round!
ISBN: 978-0340952979. Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 23rd July 2009. The large paperback contains 384 pages, and has an RRP of £12.99.
Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com.
Thank you for reading.