Always, In December by Emily Stone

Thank you to Headline Books for a digital review copy of this debut novel via NetGalley to read and review. The ebook was published last week and the paperback is published on 14th October 2021. I’m sharing a mini review today.


Josie never looks forward to December. It’s always a reminder of the life she lost, twenty years ago. Now, she always switches off the radio when Christmas music comes on. She always wants to tear down the tinsel her flatmate insists on pinning up. And she always posts a letter she knows will never be read.

Max never expected to find himself stranded in London just days before Christmas. He never expected it would be so hard to say goodbye to a woman he hardly knows. Then again, he never expected to fall in love.

But, this December, when Josie’s letter leads her to Max, a chance encounter will change their lives in the most remarkable way. And their story is only just beginning . . . 

From London in December and Manhattan in the spring, to Scotland in the autumn and home again for Christmas in the countryside, Always, in December will take you on an unforgettable romantic journey.

My thoughts:

The story starts with Josie having issues at work, in her love life and facing another Christmas alone.

If that isn’t bad enough, she knocks a pedestrian over when cycling to post a special letter. However this crash leads to Josie making some important discoveries about herself, and to get to know Max.

Josie has been avoiding Christmas since a tragedy hit her family on Christmas Eve so there is plenty of heartbreak in the story, but there is happiness with friends, new adventures and opportunities. This story is an emotional rollercoaster ride as we get to know Josie and Max better. I recommend having a box of tissues handy.

My heart was broken by the story. I believe that this is an excellent debut novel and I look forward to reading more in the future by Emily Stone.

Author Bio (taken from Amazon):

Hello, I’m Emily! If you’ve found this page then welcome, and thanks so much for showing an interest in my writing. 

Always, in December is my debut novel, and it’s one very close to my heart. Josie and Max are two characters I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know, and feel very close to – something I’m sure a lot of authors say! Whilst very different from me, Josie is suffering with a grief that I know all too well – losing a parent/parents at a young age, and having to carry that grief into adulthood, long after it’s supposedly ‘gone away’. I lost my mum when I was seven, and I still think about her even now, in my thirties – and that’s something that Josie and I share. Max, too, is suffering his own kind of grief, and that’s something that he has to learn to deal with. But whilst the novel is about grief, and learning to live with that, it’s also about falling in love, and about learning to be brave, even when your life doesn’t feel quite right yet – even if it feels like it will never quite be right!

I was lucky enough to be able to write this novel in a brilliant house – which has so much good history. It’s not mine (sadly), but because of lockdown-woes, I live with my sister, brother-in-law and their two children, and find time to write whilst also taking breaks for playing The Floor Is Lava with my two nieces, getting involved (reluctantly) in home schooling, cooking dinner (and getting disgusted faces when it’s not either fishfingers and chips, jacket potatoes, or pesto pasta), and entertaining myself with the six very friendly sheep who live in the field below me. 

If you read my novel then I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you want to get in touch then I’d love to hear from you – I’ve just joined Twitter, so come and say hello! (@EmStoneWrites)

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.


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