I was definitely in the mood for a romantic chick lit set in the UK. Is that what I got? Hint: I should have read the back of the book!
One Day In December by Josie Silver
Published on October 16, 2018 by Broadway Books
Synopsis adapted from Goodreads: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. 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.
Because I loved Chick Lit back in the day (and my favorite books were those set in London, like Bridget Jones, Shopaholic, and Jemima J.) I was so excited to try One Day in December. The cover is adorable, the setting is British, and Reese Witherspoon called it a “whirlwind romance” that charmed her. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?
What went wrong is that I went in expecting one thing and got something else. (I should have read the back of the book, which clearly indicates that this was what I’d call a long haul romance – the kind that takes a lot of patience.) I don’t mind romances that require endurance, but also feel that they need to have a solid foundation – some sort of unbreakable bond between the characters. This particular long haul romance was built on the flimsiest of encounters – Laurie sees a guy through a bus window and decides he could be The One. Then (this is all on the back of the book — WHICH I SHOULD HAVE READ) she meets her BFF Sarah’s brand new boyfriend, who is … Bus Guy.
Laurie says nothing to Sarah. She does eventually raise the subject with Bus Guy (Jack), but to avoid awkwardness, he pretends he didn’t see Laurie through the bus window. There is TEN YEARS of stilted longing between them before anything gets resolved.
I liked Laurie. I liked Sarah. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jack, but he’s put in a difficult situation, so maybe I should cut him some slack. I also wouldn’t call this story a romance at all, more like a story about chance encounters and people too polite (British?) to speak their mind, and choosing friendship over the possibility of love, and finding happiness through sheer endurance. Whirlwind romance? Not so much as far as I’m concerned.
I can see on Goodreads that some people agreed with me and that others were completely charmed by this story. If I’d read the back of the book, I might have fallen into the second category.
Have you read this? Tell me what you thought in comments!