Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

by Heather Caliendo
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One Day in December by Josie Silver is a sweet and charming love story about chance and fate. If you’re looking for a romantic story, you must read this one.

This one takes a look at the idea of “love at first sight.” Some people swear by it while others believe it’s impossible. Well, in the case of One Day in December, it can happen but it doesn’t make a for a smooth love story by any means. We first meet Laurie in 2008 when she’s fresh out of college and working a disappointing job at a hotel where in reality, she wants to be a journalist. She’s boarding a bus during the holiday season when she looks at the window and sees a man she instantly knows is the one. Their eyes meet and then the bus pulls away.  Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus.

Ten years

The story takes place over 10 years and we read it from Laurie and Jack’s perspectives, which provides plenty of context for the reader. It’s also told in first-person present so there’s an immediacy nature to it and there’s also no reflection: so we read what happens to the characters as it’s happening. Sometimes when the story is told in first-person past, there’s quite a bit of hints of where the story will go. Whereas first-person present allows the reader to join the journey with the characters.

Laurie instantly recognizes Jack and we find out that he also remembers her as that girl. But he’s happily in a relationship with the lovely Sarah who is head over heels for him. Despite their continued mutual attraction, the two decide to keep somewhat of a distance due to their affection for Sarah. But Sarah is determined for her best friend and boyfriend to become friends so no matter how much they try to avoid it, they are still connected.

There’s quite of bit of changes that can happen in ten years. Think about it, what did life look like for you 10 years ago compared to now? Each of the characters all grow quite a bit from when the book starts until the end. They experience the loss of parents, job disappointments, broken relationships and more.

Romance? Women’s fiction? Contemporary fiction?

While plenty of romantic stories follow a format of missed chances, this one felt a bit more real than others. Especially with the dialogue, they sounded like actual people. It’s interesting because I believe this is defined as romance. And romance for the longest time to me meant those covers with Fabio-like men on it: emphasis on the sex and less on a story. And while there certainly are still stories like that on there (a ton on NetGalley), romance seems lately to also include women’s fiction stories (fiction written by women about women). Women’s fiction can include mainstream fiction, romance, historical fiction, etc. So, when’s a romance simply a romance and when is it actually women’s fiction?

Or maybe the best term is: contemporary fiction with some romance written by a woman?

The reason I point this out is because this is a heartfelt story and if you think it’s simply fluff because of the cozy cover, you’ll miss out on a heartfelt and truly lovely story about yes, romance, but also the bond of female friendship, and deciding if fate and free-will can co-exist.

Don’t miss out on this one! And yes, you can read it anytime over the year. Not just in December.

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