Always, in December

Emily Stone

Have you ever read a book that you really enjoyed but are also very, very angry about? For me, that is Always, in December.

Quick Synopsis

Every December, Josie sends a letter to her parents who died on Christmas Eve over ten years ago. But this year, on the way to post the letter, Josie nearly runs over a stranger. Feeling incredibly sorry about the accident, Josie invites the stranger out for a drink that ends up changing her life.

Publisher’s Synopsis

It started with a letter. It ended with a love story.

Every December, Josie posts a letter from her home in London to the parents she lost on Christmas night many years ago. Each year, she writes the same three words: Missing you, always. But this year, her annual trip to the postbox is knocked off course by a bicycle collision with a handsome stranger–a stranger who will change the course of Josie’s life.

Josie always thought she was the only one who avoided the Christmas season, but this year, Max has his own reasons for doing the same—and coincidence leads them to spending the holiday together. Aglow with new love, Josie thinks this might be the start of something special. 

Only for Max to disappear without saying goodbye. 

Over the course of the next year, Max and Josie will find that fate continues to bring them together in places they’d never expect. New York City. Edinburgh. The quiet English countryside. And it turns out, Max had every reason to leave and every reason to stay. But what does fate hold for Josie and Max as Christmas approaches again?

A devastating, romantic, life-affirming love story, Always, in December will stay with readers long after they’ve finished the last page.

Book Review

I decide to read a number of holiday books this year after enjoying on last year. Without snow and with working from home, it is a little difficult to feel like it is the holidays. I thought this would be the perfect way to help me get in the holiday spirit. When choosing to read holiday romances, I assumed that they would be sweet and cheery. Then, I read Always, in December. I like going into books blind and being surprised; so, I did not read anything but the first paragraph of the synopsis before picking up this book. And that was a mistake. I am here to warn you that Always, in December is tragic. If you want to feel sad and angry at the world, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a fun, light holiday read, steer clear of this book.

Always, in December is not a traditional romance novel. It is a novel about loss, love, friendship, and overcoming your past. While there is a romance within its pages, this book is really much more about the protagonist’s growth over the course of the story.

The romance in Always, in December is front-loaded. A majority of the relationship and romance occurs at the beginning. The middle (Part II) is a bit slow and filled with mostly uneventful narrative. Because there is a bit of a mystery throughout the book, this drove me through the more sluggish portions.

Still, I thought Always, in December was well-written and a compelling story. I enjoyed the bit of romance that was present as well as the characters. While I would have liked more time with Max, the characters were developed. I was just very disappointed how tragic the story was. Also of note is that the story is very dependent upon serendipity.

Overall, I was extremely angry after finishing Always, in December, but I can not fault the book for my misguided expectations. In the end, it is a well-written novel that will make you feel something, even if that thing is despair. If you are looking for a book to make you cry, I recommend this one.


Overall Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Always, in December


Romance – Holiday

Publication Date
October 12, 2021


Storygraph Rating
3.82 stars

Goodreads Rating
3.92 stars

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One response to “Always, in December”

  1. I just finished it this morning, and I felt the same way! I thought it was definitely front loaded. However, I did enjoy the middle parts of the book, because while it was frustrating, I thought it was crucial to Josie’s character development. Still made me cry though!


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