The Last Charm by Ella Allbright
Publication Date : August 21st 2020
Publisher : One More Chapter
Genre : Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Pages : 400
A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December…
Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope. This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.
When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.
So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley as a part of readalong. Many thanks to Claire @One More Chapter. ***
The Last Charm was bittersweet women’s fiction that revolved around charm bracelet and Leila and Jack’s story behind each charm. It was about domestic abuse, abandonment issue, mental health, trust issue, relationships, family, hopes, fears, dreams, loss, grief, and forgiveness.
The Last Charm was written in first person narrative from Leila and Jack’s perspective, alternatively, spanning 15 years of Leila and Jack’s life and their story from 2001 to 2017. Writing was beautiful, descriptive, and emotive. Setting of Bournemouth was lovely and I loved the places characters visited.
Plot was interesting. It started with Leila writing an email to Caitlin who found her charm bracelet recounting the story behind each charm, her and Jack’s story to convince her the bracelet was hers, so she could finish the birthday treasure hunt Jack created, find the last charm and add it to bracelet. I was curious to find out what each charm were, how she received them and what was their story. The prologue and this email gave hint this was not happily ever after story and yet I wasn’t prepared for what was coming.
Characters were realistic and relatable. I loved Leila’s friends, grandfather, and dad. They were so supportive to Jack and understanding even with Leila’s tantrums and anger issues. Jack’s mom not as bad as I thought in the beginning. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t run away and let her husband bully and beat her for so many years but I was glad when escaped and learned to live her life. Leila’s mom was complicated. At first, I thought she was selfish because nothing can be reasonable enough to leave daughter without any explanation. Even when the reason was revealed I felt the way she abandoned Leila was wrong. She could send letter or anything explaining her condition but she didn’t which affected Leila in worst way.
Leila was nice person but she was so self-absorbed, wrapped in her own world, in her hurt and abandonment and trust issues. She raised the wall around her in fear people might leave her like her mother or she might be like her mother. I empathised with her. I could feel her pain of not knowing reason why her mother left her, couldn’t have closure or move on in life leaving the past behind and yet I didn’t like the way she behaved. It was wrong to hurt people just because she was hurting, taking her grandfather and dad’s love for granted, not appreciating Jake’s help, friendship and love, saying most hurtful things that one might not even say to enemy. What I didn’t like was she was like that in almost 70% of the book, whining, hurting, feeling guilty of hurting, saying sorry and then repeat the cycle. It took so long for her to understand other people’s feeling and perspective, appreciate what she had and not just focusing what she didn’t have. I bet if it wasn’t for Jack she might not have grown.
‘I don’t know how you can be always be so self-assured’ she says. ‘It’s like you know everything is always going to be all right.’
‘It’s exact opposite.’ Jake says, surprised. ‘It comes from knowing shit is bound to happen, but if you can get through it then there’s always something better on the other side. Because there has to be.’
Jack was my favourite in this story. He was quirky, smart, wise, caring, protective, and empathetic. He was born with cleft palate and different coloured eyes. His dad was alcoholic and abusive. Life was hell for him until he met Leila when he moved in Leila’s neighbourhood. Her drawings gave him escape and he got attached to her grandfather who taught him many things specially to find opportunity, live life with courage, and doing something good in life. I loved how he helped and look after Leila and her family even when he was in navy and when he came back in breaks. I admired his patience. No matter how much Leila insulted him, said hurtful things, her never disliked or hated her. Even though he had feelings for her ever since he met her, he endured her disastrous relationships with other guys, motived her, believed in her, supported her passion for painting and yet never revealed his true feelings until she was ready and being careful not to tell the truth about all charms. I haven’t met any character or person who could be this patient. It was amazing to see his growth, feelings and relationships with all characters.
Nothing is ours except time. Not possession, not money, not love. Just time. It’s one thing we have control over, that we can choose to use wisely and well, or fritter away on unimportant things.
Romance was slow build and so complicated because of Leila’s confused feelings and her issues. I loved Leila and Jack’s friendship in that first week when they met. It was sad to see them drifting apart after that, their on and off friendship, and seeing Leila settling for jerks. It was in fact frustrating to see one sided love of Jack but once Leila realised her mistake and her feelings, it was lovely to see them together. Heartbreak, disagreements, problems between couple, support and motivation for each other made their relationship realistic. They were perfect for each other, making each other better person (mostly Jake making Leila better person).
There were many layers in book filled with wisdom about letting go of past, living with hopes and dreams, overcoming fears, taking risks, living in present, embracing one’s flaw and turning it into strength, understanding other people’s perspective, and grief.
Climax was heart breaking. I was expecting it, in fact was expecting a bit earlier but still it made me sad. Everything happened after that tragedy was depressing. Loved that last charm and Leila’s conversation with Caitlin. End was bittersweet and perfect.
Why 4 stars-
Because of Leila. Like I said I didn’t like the way she was behaving, being self-absorbed and taking it so long to accepting her feelings and to develop.
Overall, The Last Charm was heart-warming, magical, charming and bittersweet story of Jack and Leila. I highly recommend this to fans of fiction.
I hope you liked reading this post. Let me know in comments what you think about the book and my review, if have you read this already or would like to add it to TBR. Describe what your charm would look like that represents something significant to you.
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