Book Review: Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington


Every Time a Bell Rings

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington
Release Date: 19th November 2015
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Buy: Paperback eBook




An angel gets its wings…

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.


After growing up in Foster Care, poor Belle was shoved from pillar to post as a child. Her mother made it perfectly clear that she didn’t want Belle and it looked unlikely she was going to find her ‘forever’ home…At least until she met Tess. When Tess takes Belle in she experiences what love feels like properly for the first time. Tess is kind, patient, loving and very importantly always has a regular supply of chocolates on the go.
When a fellow foster child, Jim, comes to stay with Tess, Belle feels as though all her dreams have come true. She has finally been granted the best friend that she had wished for. However, it seems that Tess’ house won’t be Jim’s forever home and when he eventually goes back to live with his mother, Belle’s heart is broken.
Until the day that Jim returns into Belle’s life once more. As adults the two have a lot of catching up to do- which just happens to include their child-hood plan of getting married and living happily ever after – just like in the fairy tales.

But even Belle knows that deep down life isn’t a fairy tale. When Jim and Belle decide to become foster parents themselves it seems like a great idea. After all, they have both been there themselves and could provide a loving and secure home to the children who need it most. As expected, fostering provides plenty of challenges for the pair – but when a child called Lauren is left in Jim and Belle’s care; it looks as though it’s going to provide the biggest challenge of all…

Things start to go from bad to worse for the couple and after always getting along so well, they no longer seem to be on the same page. Then when Jim is badly injured in a car crash Belle starts to wonder whether she is the cause of all the hurt and upset of the people around her. Would things have been better if she has never been born…?

Carmel Harrington is an author who I have heard so many good things about. Seeing as it was coming up to Christmas and Every Time a Bell Rings is loosely based on the classic Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life (which I love) I thought now was as good a time as any to give Carmel’s books a whirl. And boy, oh boy am I glad that I did because I fell utterly in love with this story.
It was just amazing. The strength with which Carmel has created her lead characters Belle and Jim is wonderful. The fact that you are privy to their upbringing and the bonds they formed as children make your feelings all the more stronger. I loved them both and the friendship they formed when they were being looked after by Tess. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces when they were separated – but it’s ok – they re-united as adults and got to live out their happy ever after. Well…kind of. Ok, not really. Watching their relationship develop was one of my favourite things about the story. My second favourite thing about this story was Tess. My love for this lady knows no bounds. She is one of the warmest, loving and most caring characters you will ever have the pleasure of reading about. She always knows what to do, offers the best advice and loves a good old fry-up. There is nothing not to love about Tess.
The amount of times that Carmel broke my heart and then managed to fix it back together with this story was incredible. My emotions were all over the shop and I love an author who can get me so involved with the story that I don’t know if I’m going to be happy or sad from one chapter to the next. This is Carmel all over. The way that she translates feelings and emotions; whether it be heartbreak, love, romance or friendship is incredible. I could really feel the emotions that the characters were experiencing as if I was stood in their shoes and a part of the story myself.

As this is a festive novel you might expect a spec of magic to be hidden among proceedings. This is always a tricky one for me, probably because I can be quite cynical but every Christmas novel needs magic, right? Cecelia Ahern is an author who adds the magic element to her books extremely well and I can now call upon Carmel Harrington to do the same thing. As with the film, It’s a Wonderful Life, Carmel has managed to make this tale enchanting, mystifying and perfectly festive. It is a gorgeous, contemporary take on a Christmas classic.

Every Time a Bell Rings is a must-read for all the year round. It will undoubtedly add an extra sprinkle of magic to your festive celebrations if you do read it over the Christmas period, but either way it’s fulfilling, emotional and a bloomin’ good read. Have plenty of tissues to hand and prepare to fall in love, not only with this glorious mix of characters, but with Carmel’s beautiful, breath-taking writing as well.

A huge thank you to publishers, HarperImpulse for sending me a copy of Every Time a Bell Rings for review. 


Carmel HarringtonCarmel always dreamed of being a writer, but as is often the way, life took her in another direction. That is, until four years ago when she quit her job as a Sales and Marketing Manager and began to write full time. Her first book, ‘Beyond Grace’s Rainbow’ was originally self-published in August 2012. Grace’s story quickly became a bestseller – fast forward 12 months and Carmel joined the prestigious HarperCollins publishing house, represented by Trace Literary Agency. Beyond Grace’s Rainbow was voted Romantic eBook of 2013 and Kindle Book of Year 2013.

Her second novel ‘The Life You Left’, was published June 2013, was also an eBook bestseller and earned Carmel the nickname, ‘Queen of Emotional Writing’.

Her third novel, ‘Every Time A Bell Rings’, inspired by the beloved Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, will be published on 15th October 2015, followed by ‘The Road Back Home’ in March 2016.
Carmel writes emotional family dramas and they share one common theme – strong characters who find themselves in extraordinary situations. She loves to dig deep and see how they cope, as they grapple with life-changing moments.

Carmel is a regular on Irish TV as one of the panelists on TV3’s Midday Show, as well as being interviewed on RTE1’s Today Show, TV3’s IrelandAM and TV3’s The Morning Show. She has also been interviewed on US TV – Indiana’s WNDU. A a regular guest on radio stations, including BBCRadio1 Ulster, RTERadio1, Newstalk, SouthEastRadio, Artyfacts and many more regional stations. A popular freelance writer, she has written features for The Irish Independent, The Daily Mail, The Evening Herald & Woman’s Way and USA’s acclaimed online blog, Mothering In The Middle. Carmel is also a motivational keynote speaker and has given talks at events in Ireland, UK and US.

Living with her husband Roger and young children Amelia and Nate in a small coastal village in Wexford, she credits the idyllic setting as a constant source of inspiration.

Carmel Harrington  | Website | Twitter | Goodreads |


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

    • Thank you so much, Carmel! Thanks for reblogging.

      I can’t wait to discover your other books – in fact I am off to put in a sneaky order on Amazon right now… 😉



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