Sunday, 30 October 2016

Book Review - In a Manhattan Minute - by Helen J Rolfe

In a Manhattan Minute by [Rolfe, Helen J]

In a Manhattan Minute is the latest novel by Helen J Rolfe ( who has become a favourite author of mine. To get the low-down on this novel, read on...


It's the most wonderful time of the year...but when the temperature dips, can Manhattan work its magic?

Jack exists in a world that has seen its fair share of tragedy, but also success and the wealth that comes with it. One snowy night, he crosses paths with Evie, a homeless girl, and it changes everything.

Three years on, Evie's life is very different. She's the assistant to a prestigious wedding gown designer, she's settled in Manhattan, has her own apartment and friendships she holds dear. But the past is lurking in the background, threatening to spoil everything. And it's catching up with her.

Kent has kept a family secret for two decades, a secret he never wanted to share with his son, Jack. And even though she doesn't realise it yet, his life is inextricably tangled with Nicole's, the woman who was his housekeeper for thirteen years and the woman who helped Evie turn her life around.

It's Christmas and a time for forgiveness, love and Happy Ever Afters. And when the snow starts to fall, the truth could bring everyone the gift of happiness they're looking for.


The story begins with a Thanks Giving celebration at the luxurious Churchill family home in Manhattan. Jack Churchill, sees the family housekeeper, Nicole, a kind-hearted, Italian woman, tending a young homeless woman, Evie, on their porch. His father, Kent, also witnesses this and, in a surge of anger, demands that Evie is removed from his property. In the same breath, he fires Nicole, who has been the family housekeeper for the thirteen years since Jack's mother died.

The story moves on three years and we find Evie settled in her own Manhattan apartment and working as an assistant to a wedding dress designer. It's a job she loves, and one that she's good at, going the extra mile for the brides-to-be. Her life has turned around and, even though she's found herself in a happy place, she's still always looking over her shoulder, expecting things to come crashing down around her. She's still in touch with Nicole, who works at the homeless centre, where she met Evie. And, over time, the pair have developed a caring mother-daughter relationship, meeting up regularly.

Jack is still working for the family firm: The Diamond Touch, an exclusive jewellery chain started by his mother. He's feeling increasingly dissatisfied with his role but is reluctant to tell his father for fear of repercussions within the family.

The distinguished, yet remote, Kent Churchill has never re-married and has never managed to fill the void left by his wife, or has he...? Both he and Jack are highly suspicious of Evie's motives for her friendship with Nicole, fearing that she's using and manipulating her.

Interestingly, the four characters have a secret and Evie appears to be the catalyst to these secrets being revealed. To find out what they're all hiding - I'm afraid I really don't like giving away any spoilers - you'll have to pop over to Amazon and download this rather fabulous book!

What I will say, though, is that Helen's writing is wonderful! She constructs believable, multi-layered characters who are so vivid you can construct a clear mental image of them. And the same can be said for the rich description of vibrant Manhattan - I especially loved the Christmas settings; I felt as though I'd been transported there! This story is totally absorbing and warmhearted, illustrating why people may act in a way that's confusing to those around them until they are in possession of all of the facts. In typical Helen Rolfe style, the novel is woven with thorough attention to detail and draws the reader in from the very first paragraph.

To conclude, I'd say that In a Manhattan Minute could be described as a contemporary Pride and Prejudice, making it a compelling read, with plenty of intriguing twists and turns along the way.  It is, without doubt, my favourite book of the year, and it gets a juicy FIVE STARS  from me!

ISBN: 978-0-9955369-4-4


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