Welcome to a bookish celebration of the Christmas season! For 12 days in December, I’m highlighting a book a day that puts the holiday season front and center of the narrative. You’ll find romances, women’s fiction, and even a cookbook! For day nine, I’m sharing a romantic women’s fiction set in my adopted hometown.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist. After all, life isn't a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away.
Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.
Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?
Let me begin by saying that I would strongly recommend One Day in December to anyone who enjoyed David Nicolls’ 2009 book One Day, a romantic story that follows two people’s story by checking in with them one the same day year after year. My only caveat is to say that I didn’t love One Day, just as I didn’t love One Day in December. However, just because something wasn’t quite right for me doesn’t mean that it won’t find readers who adore it.
This story is a long, slow burn of a romance that is really more women’s fiction than anything else because it follows Laurie’s story. She meets the boy from the bus, she’s disappointed to find that he’s dating her best friend, and she tries to get on with her life. The story sees her promoted, falling in love, and moving through the world, but the boy on the bus who was a fantasy has become a very real part of her life and he’s always there. Understandably, their story becomes even more complicated as the years go on until finally they get their happily ever after in a very Christmasy way.
I find stories like this problematic because I feel that often they can leave the women pining after the men for too long, waiting for them to wake up and see them for the perfect-for-you women that they are. I’d love to see the narrative reversed with the hero feeling as though he’s the one who is simultaneously thrilled and held back by the presence of the longed-for heroine in his life. However, for readers looking for a very long, slow building of a romance and a story of a woman coming into her own life, this book should do the job well.
Check back tomorrow for the next edition of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads. If you want to see all of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads recommendations in one place, you can check out this handy landing page or sign up for my newsletter.