Book Review: One Day in December

Book Review: One Day in December

I wanted to post this book review before Christmas, but then Christmas happened, and I lost all concept of time.

I recently finished up a book that I really wouldn’t have considered before. Am I a book snob? Sure, sometimes. But over the past few months I have been slowly shifting away from my usual reads and branching out.

Truth be told, it’s been pretty enjoyable reading some more “light” books. I suppose I am referring to New York Times Bestsellers… now, not all of them are like this. But I have noticed that lately I’ve been picking up more and more of those popular reads and the reading level has gone down a bit. Not that I mind. It goes in easy, is super entertaining, and leaves me wanting more.

With all that being said, this month I read One Day in December, by Josie Silver.

“Silver writes with verve and charm in this debut, and readers will be pulling for Laurie and Jack as they detour through missteps and misunderstandings.”
—Booklist

Prior to this novel, I have never read a holiday book during the holidays. In fact, I’m not sure if I have ever really read a holiday read. Some people do this a lot, I’ve learning. You know how during the holidays you often watch holiday movies leading up to Christmas? Well apparently, a lot of book worms do the same exact thing, only with books—who knew?!

I came across this book one afternoon when Reese Witherspoon popped up in my insta stories. I follow her book club on Instagram. If you are not familiar, Reese Witherspoon runs a virtual book club. Every month a new pick, a new discussion, etc.

I follow along, but have never taken part, nor have I really had the time to add in some of the books she picks. However, the way she was describing this novel made me want to read it. In fact, within 2 days of hearing her talk about One Day in December I picked it up from Barnes & Noble.

I am glad I did.

Reese Witherspoon described One Day in December as a mix of Serendipity, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones’s Diary (That’s what hooked me).

“Get ready to be swept up in a whirlwind romance. Laurie falls in love at first sight with a stranger, and spends the next year looking for him. Fate brings them back together at Christmas, but not in the way anybody expects: turns out he’s dating her best friend. It absolutely charmed me.” —Reese Witherspoon

I wanted to read it because it felt so fun. I love romantic comedy films and she described this as reading a romantic comedy. I wanted something light and lovely for Christmas.

It was all those things, but it was also so, so, so much more.

The debut author, Josie Silvers published One Day in December this past October by Broadway Books. In fact, in 2019 she has a new novel set to come out—Sounds like she is doing pretty good. There isn’t really much about Josie Silver on the internet. All I found on her website is this bio…
“Josie Silver is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, her two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton.”

So, that’s all I can say about the author. I will say, there has been a bit of hushed talk about how this book, from a debut author, managed to become one of Reese’s book picks within 2 months of it being published… Almost eluding to a whole marketing plan for the author. If that is true, it has 100% worked! One Day in December has been on the best-selling list for December by multiple platforms.

Back to the novel!

The story begins in London with a young woman named Laurie. It’s nearly Christmas, she’s on a bus, and while at a bus stop sees a man at waiting outside. Their eyes meet, they both seemingly have a similar feeling of something romantic, he goes to get on the bus, but it leaves before he has the chance.

Cheesy, yes– but it’s a holiday romance.

So, I am sure you are imagined all sorts of classic Hollywood romance movies. I know I was. But, you were warned, by Reese herself, that this book reads like a rom-com.

The following year Laurie, alongside her best friend and roommate, Sarah spend the year looking for the mysterious bus boy. Laurie is head over heels with him, despite the fact that she has never actually met him. Sarah is a good friend, helping her along the way, being supportive, etc.

One Day in December follows Laurie and Sarah’s friendship, alongside the potential romance between bus boy (Jack).

“A feel-good, heart-wrenching tribute to the female friends we cannot do without, as well as the men that we fall for. Josie Silver is one to watch.”
—Stephanie Butland

If I remember correctly, the story is told over the course of 10 years (give or take). This allowed for the characters to really develop, have multiple experiences—some life changing, learn from them, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, etc. etc. etc.

Because of this plot mechanism, I think I enjoyed it more. Sometimes in romantic comedy films the whole romance gets rushed, or characters go through these crazy and wild experiences, but it all seems too quick. This allowed for a lot of the plot to feel a bit more real, like it could have possibly happened. Now, I am not saying that this romance was 100% believable, because it wasn’t. Again, as noted before—it’s a cheesy holiday romance.

You don’t always like the characters. You find some of the decisions they are making to be quite questionable. You get downright upset about how they are acting at times, what they are thinking, even worse what they are saying, and so on. But, with all that being said, it does make it a bit more interesting and a bit more realistic. Because often times we do things that are upsetting, or the wrong thing, or know someone who has made a terrible mistake, etc. That is what I enjoyed. I did feel like I could relate to a handful of these characters and situations from time to time.

In addition, the book wasn’t as cookie cutter as I thought it to be. I was expecting a very predictable, cheesy romance story. But, there were moments when I was surprised by the events unfolding. At times, I didn’t even want the characters to be together. This ultimately built up the romance even more.

With all this being said, One Day in December is a polarizing novel. Despite the 4-5 star ratings online, a large majority of the book blogging community has been slamming this novel.

Most of the criticism is about how unrealistic and predictable the storyline is, along with how utterly annoying and unenjoyable the characters are.

“Josie Silver writes with a warmth so palpable her characters sneak their way into your heart and stay for a long time. One Day in December is an exploration of love that reads like a thriller, filled with secrets and heart-aching betrayals. The perfect book to get lost in this holiday season.” 
—Jill Santopolo, author of The Light We Lost

Interestingly enough, a lot of the criticism is what I appreciated most about the book. I don’t read romance EVER and I have never really read a holiday book like this, so honestly I wasn’t expecting much from the story. Maybe that is why I did enjoy it. It gave me everything I was craving. It was a mega page turner, filled with lots of ups and downs, and cutesy things, and annoying things, and Christmas things, and family, and friends, and relationships, and love, and life.

Was it really good writing? No. Of course, not. Was the story super original and one that I will read again and again? No. But did I find myself reaching for it every chance I got while I was reading it? Yes. Was I anxious and eager to see the events unfold? Yes. Were there moments when I felt really pulled, either reflecting on the characters or on myself? YES. So yeah, I would recommend it—If you know what you are getting into.

And I’ll say it once again, for the people in the back—it’s a cheesy holiday romance.

Well, there you have it. I’d be curious to hear what your thoughts are if you have read this book. Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers & stay chic!
-Taylor

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