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Polly MorriceTo appreciate December, which offers the pleasures of beautifully composed scenes and, when it shifts to Isabelle's point of view, an exact rendering of a child's acute perceptions, the reader must accept that Isabelle has fallen under a sort of existential spell. The fact that her father, Wilson, calls her Belle bolsters the impression that this is a modern fairy tale, and so does the novel's deadline-driven structure…December posits the old-fashioned thesis that family love can conquer many ills. Some may discount this notion as too hopeful, but others will find, in Winthrop's exact but tender portraits of domestic rituals, enough evidence to support it.
—The New York Times