Here’s a late entry to one of my favorite books of 2018: One Day in December by Josie Silver, an utterly charming story about love, friendship, and destiny.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
I admit, I was both intrigued by this book and a little skeptical. It seemed to have promise, but I was worried that the “she knows instantly he’s the one” aspect would be really overplayed, and I really didn’t want to read a book about infidelity. (Basically, it’s been compared frequently to the movie Love, Actually, which I think is a terrible movie, actually.) NONE of my concerns came to pass. In fact, I found myself utterly charmed and delighted by this book, and days later, I can’t stop thinking about Laurie, Jack, and Sarah.
Their relationships are really the hallmark of this book — the friendships and camaraderie that carry them through good times and bad. We see snippets of their lives as the book unfolds, with the story taking place over the course of ten years. I loved seeing how each of these characters grows, matures, and changes over the course of their 20s — which really, is a hugely formative part of an adult’s life. The “slice of life” approach to telling this story made for such a lovely exploration of these individuals, and how their lives intertwine.
One Day in December is as much about missed opportunities and bad timing as it is about love and life and friendship. The connection is always there between Laurie and Jack, but life has a way of taking them on circuitous routes to each other. And maybe that’s the point. Despite that instantaneous connection, perhaps the Laurie and Jack of the first pages aren’t the same Laurie and Jack of the last pages — and it’s those changes and life experiences that help make us right for another person, at just the right time.
Parts of the book made me laugh, and others made me cry, and others still warmed my heart. This book is like a hug, and reading it is like staying in the warmest, most comforting embrace. It’s in stores now, and while not strictly a holiday book, it definitely feels like the perfect tome to curl up with before December is over.