One Day in December

One Day in December

by Josie Silver

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A love story about what happens after you meet, or rather, don't meet the one.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525574705
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 228
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

JOSIE SILVER is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, her two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton.

Read an Excerpt

December 21


It’s a wonder everyone who uses public transport in winter doesn’t keel over and die of germ overload. In the last ten minutes I’ve been coughed on and sneezed at, and if the woman in front of me shakes her dandruff my way again, I might just douse her with the dregs of the lukewarm coffee that I’m no longer able to drink because it’s full of her scalp.

I’m so tired I could sleep right here on the top deck of this swaying, rammed-full bus. Thank God I’ve finally finished work for Christmas, because I don’t think my brain or my body could withstand even one more shift behind that awful hotel reception desk. It might be festooned with garlands and pretty lights on the customer side, but step behind the curtain and it’s a soulless hellhole. I’m practically asleep, even when I’m awake. I’m loosely planning to hibernate until next year once I get home to the nostalgic familiarity of my parents’ house tomorrow. There’s something soothingly time warp-ish about leaving London for an interlude of sedate Midlands village life in my childhood bedroom, even if not all of my childhood memories are happy ones. Even the closest of families have their tragedies, and it’s fair to say that ours came early and cut deep. I won’t dwell though, because Christmas should be a time of hope and love and, most appealing of all at this very moment, sleep. Sleep, punctuated by bouts of competitive eating with my brother, Daryl, and his girlfriend, Anna, and the whole gamut of cheesy Christmas movies. Because how could you ever be too tired to watch some hapless guy stand out in the cold and hold up signs silently declaring to his best friend’s wife that his wasted heart will always love her? Though—is that romance? I’m not so sure. I mean, it kind of is, in a schmaltzy way, but it’s also being the shittiest friend on the planet.

I’ve given up worrying about the germs in here because I’ve undoubtedly ingested enough to kill me if they’re going to, so I lean my forehead against the steamy window and watch Camden High Street slide by in a glitter of Christmas lights and bright, foggy shop windows selling everything from leather jackets to tacky London souvenirs. It’s barely four in the afternoon, yet already it’s dusk over London; I don’t think it got properly light at all today.

My reflection tells me that I should probably pull the tacky halo of tinsel from my hair that my cow of a manager made me wear, because I look like I’m trying out for Angel Gabriel in a primary school nativity, but I find that I really can’t be bothered. No one else on this bus could care less; not the damp, anoraked man next to me taking up more than his half of the seat as he dozes over yesterday’s paper, nor the bunch of schoolkids shouting across each other on the back seats and certainly not dandruff woman in front of me with her flashing snowflake earrings. The irony of her jewelry choice is not lost on me; if I were more of a bitch I might tap her on the shoulder to advise her that she’s drawing attention to the skin blizzard she’s depositing with every shake of her head. I’m not a bitch though; or maybe I’m just a quiet one inside my own head. Isn’t everyone?

Jesus, how many more stops is this bus going to make? I’m still a couple of miles from my flat and already it’s fuller than a cattle truck on market day.

Come on, I think. Move. Take me home. Though home is going to be a pretty depressing place now that my flatmate, Sarah, has gone back to her parents’. Only one more day and then I’ll be out of here too, I remind myself.

The bus shudders to a halt at the end of the street and I watch as down below a stream of people jostle to get off at the same time as others try to push their way on. It’s as if they think it’s one of those competitions to see how many people can fit into one small space.

There’s a guy perched on one of the fold-down seats in the bus shelter. This can’t be his bus, because he’s engrossed in the hardback book in his hands. I notice him because he seems oblivious to the pushing and shoving happening right in front of him, like one of those fancy special effects at the movies where someone is completely still and the world kaleidoscopes around them, slightly out of focus.

I can’t see his face, just the top of his sandy hair, cut slightly long and given to a wave when it grows, I should imagine. He’s bundled into a navy woolen pea coat and a scarf that looks like someone might have knitted it for him. It’s kitsch and unexpected against the coolness of the rest of his attire—dark skinny jeans and boots—and his concentration is completely held by his book. I squint, trying to duck my head to see what he’s reading, wiping the steamed-up window with my coat sleeve to get a better look.

I don’t know if it’s the movement of my arm across the glass or the flickering lights of dandruff- woman’s earrings that snag in his peripheral vision, but he lifts his head and blinks a few times as he focuses his attention on my window. On me.

We stare straight at each other and I can’t look away. I feel my lips move as if I’m going to say something, God knows what, and all of a sudden and out of nowhere I need to get off this bus. I’m gripped by the overwhelming urge to go outside, to get to him. But I don’t. I don’t move a muscle, because I know there isn’t a chance in hell that I can get past anorak man beside me and push through the packed bus before it pulls away. So I make the split-second decision to stay rooted to the spot and try to convey to him to get on board using just the hot, desperate longing in my eyes.

He’s not film-star good-looking or classically perfect, but there is an air of preppy disheveledness and an earnest, “who me?” charm about him that captivates me. I can’t quite make out the color of his eyes from here. Green, I’d say, or blue maybe?

And here’s the thing. Call it wishful thinking, but I’m sure I see the same thunderbolt hit him too; as if an invisible fork of lightning has inexplicably joined us together. Recognition; naked, electric shock in his rounded eyes. He does something close to an incredulous double take, the kind of thing you might do when you coincidentally spot your oldest and best friend who you haven’t seen for ages and you can’t actually believe they’re there.

It’s a look of Hello you, and Oh my God, it’s you, and I can’t believe how good it is to see you, all in one.

His eyes dart toward the dwindling queue still waiting to board and then back up to me, and it’s as if I can hear the thoughts racing through his head. He’s wondering if it’d be crazy to get on the bus, what he’d say if we weren’t separated by the glass and the hordes, if he’d feel foolish taking the stairs two at a time to get to me.

No, I try to relay back. No, you wouldn’t feel foolish. I wouldn’t let you. Just get on the bloody bus, will you! He’s staring right at me, and then a slow smile creeps across his generous mouth, as if he can’t hold it in. And then I’m smiling back, giddy almost. I can’t help it either.

Please get on the bus. He snaps, making a sudden decision, slamming his book closed and shoving it down in the rucksack between his ankles. He’s walking forward now, and I hold my breath and press my palm flat against the glass, urging him to hurry even as I hear the sickly hiss of the doors closing and the lurch of the handbrake being released.

No! No! Oh God, don’t you dare drive away from this stop! It’s Christmas! I want to yell, even as the bus pulls out into the traffic and gathers pace, and outside he is breathless standing in the road, watching us leave. I see defeat turn out the light in his eyes, and because it’s Christmas and because I’ve just fallen hopelessly in love with a stranger at a bus stop, I blow him a forlorn kiss and lay my forehead against the glass, watching him until he’s out of sight.

Then I realize. Shit. Why didn’t I take a leaf out of shitty friend’s book and write something down to hold up against the window? I could have done that. I could even have written my cell phone number in the condensation. I could have opened the tiny quarter-pane and yelled my name and address or something. I can think of any number of things I could and should have done, yet at the time none of them occurred to me because I simply couldn’t take my eyes off him.

For onlookers, it must have been an Oscar-worthy sixty-second silent movie. From now on, if anyone asks me if I’ve ever fallen in love at first sight, I shall say yes, for one glorious minute on December 21, 2008.

Reading Group Guide

1. How would you describe the connection Laurie felt upon first seeing Jack? How do you think he perceived her when he saw her from the bus stop? Have you ever felt a similar connection with someone?

2. Why didn’t Laurie tell Sarah that Jack was the person she’d been looking for?

3. How similar are Laurie and Sarah? In what ways do their personalities differ? Which character do you identify with?

4. Why do you think Jack doesn’t admit to Laurie that he remembers her from the bus stop?

5. Should Sarah have noticed the tension between Laurie and Jack?

6. Is it realistic for Laurie and Jack to try to be friends considering their feelings for each other? Why do you think they try so hard to remain friendly?

7. How does Laurie’s relationship with Oscar compare to her relationship with Jack? Is it possible for her to love them both simultaneously?

8. On page 209 Laurie notes that she’s been conflicted about “how much information constitutes the truth, how much omission constitutes lying.” Do you think she’s lying to Oscar and/or Sarah considering what she hasn’t revealed to each of them?

9. Laurie describes the flowers Jack sends her as “lush and extravagant . . . but then in the shortest time they’re not very lovely at all. They wilt and they turn the water brown, and soon you can’t hold on to them any longer.” Do any of her relationships also fit this description?

10. How does Laurie cope with loss, in terms of family members, romantic interests, and friends?

11. By the end of the story both Laurie and Jack have grown and changed significantly. How do these changes affect their relationship?

12. How do Laurie’s New Year’s resolutions evolve through the years?

Customer Reviews

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One Day in December 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet...but...too much alcohol! No one should drink that much!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Predictable Took too long to get to foregone conclusion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kind of a romp. Light reading. Silly. Fun. Very Bridget Jones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was just ok. I cannot see how anyone could cry over this book. Predictable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Heartwarming tearjerker, couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book in a very long time
Anonymous 1 days ago
Outstanding...Loved it!Highly recommended.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Great book
CCholger 10 days ago
I kept seeing this book on other book blogs so added it to my TBR list. It sounded like something that was right up my alley. I even went a step further than just putting it on a list, I actually went on a waiting list at my online library. I was very busy and actually had only days left before this book was due back and I knew I’d be stuck on the waiting list for months again once it went back. But I knew I could fit it in, and I’m glad I did. This story isn’t your typical love story, but it’s definitely a love story. There is so much angst through the middle section of this story that it was actually difficult for me to read. As much as I wanted to know what was going to happen, as much as I wanted to see some kind of HEA for every character in this story, I just couldn’t see it and it made my gut hurt. Not only do I love Laurie and Jack, but Sarah is a wonderful person as well. Which is part of what hurt so much about this story. The way Laurie and Jack “meet” is beyond amazing. Once their meeting doesn’t actually happen, I realized what was going to happen and really, really didn’t want to be right. The author does such an amazing job with the twists and turns and keeping loyalties split between the three main characters also making them all have real problems that I could totally understand and sympathize with. Sure, I was always rooting for a Laurie/Jack pairing, but I never wanted anyone else to get hurt in the process. While I was a fan of all three characters, Jack would sometimes get under my skin. He definitely was not good at handling certain situations. But the same could be said for Laurie. So many times I wanted her to just speak up, but she let things go for far too long. The funny thing is, Sarah is the only one who truly didn’t ever do anything wrong (unless being oblivious to her best friend’s feelings is wrong, which I guess it is in a way) yet I was starting to root against her at one point. Which, later, made me feel terrible. Sarah really is a one of a kind friend who anyone would be lucky to have in their corner. If you’re like me and have a hard time with these gut wrenching stories, it’s worth every angsty page to read this one. Through the highs and the lows, you have to read it all. The author really writes well-rounded characters. I’ll be keeping my eye on this author in the future.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Hard to put down. Very romantic story with wonderful characters. Did not want it to end,
Anonymous 6 months ago
one hundred percent recommend
Anonymous 7 months ago
So good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful written book! Story is captivating, I loved every page and could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book that kept you wanting to keep on reading. Quick chapters make it hard to stop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Finallt they got there tru loves! Quite the page turner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a fun read, characters are so well developed that you love all of them. Lovely story that you don’t want to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One the first beautifully written books I’ve read in a while. Would read anything written by this author in a heartbeat.
Wicked-gal More than 1 year ago
I don't write to many reviews, but I really enjoyed this story. I kept dreading the fact that the story would end. There is good character development and I actually felt like I was there with them as part of the story. A great book to grab a blanket and relax with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
I am not normally a romanc/chick lit reader, but this was the December pick for my book club and I am SO GLAD it was! This book totally stole my heart - I loved everything about it. I loved the slight craziness of the scenario, the complexity and flawed nature of the characters, the tension, the love, the twists. It was all amazing. I blew through this one in literally one afternoon because I NEEDED to know what happened. It was the perfect mix of funny, heartbreaking and heartwarming and I wish it never had to end. I enjoyed it SO MUCH and would absolutely recommend picking it up as some easy and lovely winter reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished, and loved every bit of this. It’s for everyone who believes in love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't think I've ever cried reading a book before this one. This is the best story I've read in a very long time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't want this book to end. I loved it from the very first page all the way until the end.