Having been privileged to help reveal the cover to Emily Stone’s second novel One Last Gift back in July I am delighted to share my review of the book too today. Emily’s debut Always, in December which I reviewed here was my outright Book of the Year in 2021, so when Emily got in touch to ask if I’d mind having a character named after me in One Last Gift I was beside myself with excitement. There was also a little trepidation – what if I didn’t like the Linda Hill in One Last Gift or I didn’t like the book? I needn’t have worried!
I think I owe thanks to Sherise Hobbs at Headline for sending me a copy of One Last Gift in return for an honest review.
Already available in ebook, One Last Gift will be published in paperback by Headline Review on 13th October 2022 and is available for purchase through the links here.
One Last Gift
For as long as Cassie can remember, it had been the three of them: Cassie, her big brother Tom, and Tom’s annoying best friend Sam.
Now, Tom is sorted, Sam is flying high, and Cassie thinks she’s figured it all out. Then tragedy happens and three becomes two.
For Cassie picking herself up seems unimaginable. Until she finds an envelope addressed to her, asking her to follow the trail to one last gift…
And suddenly what seems like an ending leads Cassie to something unexpected, beautiful and new…
Take a heartwrenching and uplifting romantic journey, from London to the Hamptons to the south of France and the Welsh mountains, with the author of Always, in December.
My Review of One Last Gift
Cassie is on a treasure hunt.
Oh my poor battered heart. I’m beginning to think Emily Stone may just be the most outstanding writer of this kind of fiction around. Her debut Always, in December was my favourite read of 2021 and so One Last Gift had an awful lot to live up to. It surpassed every expectation I had. I could NOT have adored it more, even if it did reduce me to a blubbering, sobbing wreck.
The quality of Emily Stone’s writing is just lovely. It seems luminescent with emotion and her ability to convey passion, both literal and metaphorical, love and fear in all their forms, and grief, feels almost beyond comprehension. It’s not as if you’re reading about Cassie and the others, but more that you’re experiencing every moment of their feelings with them. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that whilst One Last Gift is romantic, uplifting and entertaining, it actually feels profoundly cathartic too. There’s real, insightful, human understanding in Emily Stone’s narrative.
The characters are so appealing because they are layered and multi-dimensional. Every one has flaws, strengths and weaknesses. Just as in real life, they can behave generously and selfishly with both rash and considered responses and actions, so that they feel totally authentic and true. I think the most moving aspect of the characterisation is that Emily Stone explores how grief can affect us individually and she illustrates perfectly that there is no correct way to grieve.
I loved the plot of One Last Gift because it held me completely captivated with the ups and downs of Cassie’s life. That said, I had to take short breaks from reading to let my heart recover from what was happening before I could bear to read on. I think it speaks volumes that I lay awake at night worrying about the characters – Cassie and Sam in particular – and wondering what was happening to them whilst I wasn’t reading. I may have finished reading One Last Gift, but I have a feeling the people within the story, including Linda Hill, will remain with me for a considerable time.
One Last Gift is truly wonderful. It’s written with compassion, skill and a true sense of love. I adored it without reservation. I’d defy any reader to finish the story and remain unmoved by it. I totally, absolutely, loved it and I won’t forget it. Make sure you read it too.
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.