This book made me cry for two reasons. Firstly because it is a different sort of Christmas love story, a beautiful one which is heart wrenching in places. Secondly because my dad died in May and like the heroine, Josie Morgan, I will be posting a letter in December which will never be read too. This book has been a cathartic read for me.
Here’s the blurb:
For fans of One Day in December and Me Before You, Always, in December is the timeless, stay-up-all-night love story you’ll take straight to your heart.
Josie Morgan never looks forward to December. It’s always a reminder of the life she lost, twenty years ago. Now, she always switches off the radio when Christmas music comes on. She always wants to tear down the tinsel her flatmate insists on pinning up.
And she always posts a letter she knows will never be read.
Max Carter never expected to find himself stranded in London just days before Christmas. He never expected it would be so hard to say goodbye to a woman he hardly knows. Then again, he never expected to fall in love.
But, this December, when Josie’s letter leads her to Max, a chance encounter will change their lives in the most remarkable way. And their story is only just beginning . . .
From London to Manhattan, from Edinburgh to the English countryside, Always, in December is a romantic journey that’s impossible to forget.
Here’s my review:
This book is for those of us who, each year, long for a good, emotional Christmas love story to get stuck into. It sounds strange but for some of us, curling up on a sofa, with an opened box of chocolates stashed on one side, a box of tissues on the other, and a heart-wrenching love story in our hands, is our idea of reader heaven. If this is you, please buy this book.
You can tell it has been written from the heart. It is a fabulous story, packed full of emotion, love, tragedy and two gorgeous characters.
The meet cute set up between Max and Josie was brilliant. Emily Stone captured that first, awkward meeting so well. One of the best meet cutes I have read if honest. It was relatable and so sweet.
Josie had such an impact on me. She’s already been through a lot when we first meet her. Before I had read this book I had planned to write Dad a letter at Christmas knowing he would never read it so reading Josie doing the same thing was a little weird. It was a great connector for me. We were on the same wavelength. I spent much of the book wanting to hug her and take her out for a coffee. I thought she was cleverly written, her character arc was strong, her bravery shone out and she glued me to the story.
Josie and Max’s relationship was really relatable. It felt like a real relationship with the magical part at the start and fate sending them off in different directions but always making sure their paths kept crossing. It didn’t feel contrived. I loved them both as a couple.
The ending is interesting and certainly thought provoking. I wasn’t expecting it and had to work my way through my box of chocolates and tissues to process what happened. It’s important to remember this is a love story and when you see like that you can see the reason for the ending.
An emotional and unforgettable read. Very cathartic if you have experienced grief.
Emily Stone lives and works in Chepstow and wrote Always, in December in an old Victorian manor house with an impressive literary heritage. Her debut novel was partly inspired by the death of her mother, when Emily was seven, and wanting to write something that reflected the fact that you carry this grief into adulthood, long after you supposedly move on from the event itself.