My enormous thanks to the Team Bookends for sending me a copy of Always, in December by Emily Stone in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share that review today.
Always in December is published by Headline Review in audio and ebook on 5th August and is available for pre-order here.
Always, in December
Heartbreaking. Life-affirming. Truly unforgettable. Always, in December is the timeless, stay-up-all-night love story you’ll take straight to your heart.
If you loved One Day, Me Before You and the hit movie Last Christmas, this is the perfect book for you.
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.
My Review of Always, in December
Posting a letter can be life changing.
It’s impossible to believe that Always, in December is a debut novel as it is as close to perfection as it is possible to get in its genre. Emily Stone has created a simply fabulous story that I found totally captivating. I actually don’t really want to write a review or fear of sullying its memory.
The story is gorgeous and if the rights to turn Always, in December into a film aren’t snapped up immediately, there’s no justice. Emily Stone creates a wonderful plot set mostly over one year, with humour, emotion, surprise and the most exquisite skill. The structure is perfect, direct speech entirely naturalistic and settings given a glorious sense of place without snagging the pace at all. It must be said too, that whilst the narrative begins and ends in December, the story is simply wonderful to read at any time of the year. I consumed Always, in December over two of the hottest days of the year and was so entranced I noticed neither the weather nor time passing because I was spellbound. I’m quite an emotional reader, and frequently shed a tear when I read, but in Always, in December, Emily Stone reduced me to huge, wracking sobs because it touched me so much.
The characters are brilliant. Even the most minor person feels realistic and vivid so that it was difficult to remember these are not actual people. Josie is a triumph. Her sense of justice, her strength and her vulnerability are woven into one of the most convincing romantic heroines I’ve encountered. I wanted her to succeed and achieve her happy ever after with every fibre of my being, but you’ll need to read Always, in December to see if I got my wish! I loved the way absent characters help shape both character and plot too, because Emily Stone illustrates how we are the sum of our past as well as our present and possible future.
The themes explored in Always, in December elevate it from an excellent romantic story to a narrative of depth and sensitivity too. Grief, childhood, relationships, friendship, ambition, courage, practicality, family, career and talent are just a few of the aspects to this glorious story that make it so enjoyable, so moving and so enchanting.
I genuinely could not have loved Always, in December more. It’s quite simply wonderful. It’s my favourite read of the year so far – even if it did break me!
About Emily Stone
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.
For more information, follow Emily on Twitter @EmStoneWrites.