HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! We made it! … looks like we maaaade iiiiiiit …! (Barry Manilow is an American treasure and not recognized enough for his gifts to humanity. Prove me wrong.) Yes, that is 100% how I’m starting this post.
My love/hate relationship with December continued down it’s long windy road again this year. No surprise. Hope yours was only love! Of course, having a sweet book to curl up with (albeit at 2am, the only time I was actually able to sit down in this insane month) made the hate part more bearable.
And what a sweet book it was! Endorsed by both Book of the Month Club and Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, I plowed through it in a single day (as opposed to a multiple day?). Yes, I should have been wrapping; yes, I should have been baking; yes, I should have been cleaning. But when a book grabs me, a book grabs me. Plus I was tired of wrapping, baking and cleaning.
On the last page, as I closed the book, I held it to my chest and sighed. Great story, I thought!
One Day in December Book Club Discussion Questions
But wait! Now I’m writing a review of this book. And now, all I can do is find fault with it!! What’s wrong with me?! So here is me, nitpicking a little. But remember I finished it in a day.
The premise was adorable if not completely unrealistic. That’s ok, it’s a novel. I thought it worked (and was grateful my husband never saw me on a bus after work, completely exhausted … we would for sure have a different story–or no story at all!!)
And so begins the angst ridden story that kept me reading well into the night, if for nothing else then to make sure these two cuties ended up together.
So first off, who has adorable meet-cute stories? No, I mean I’m really asking. Anyone have a love at first sight situation? I never have but I know many who have talked about love at first sight (in fact, one of my friends just married from a LAFS situation … yes, I’ve officially made it an acronym).
And then to be thrown into a situation where he’s your best friend’s boyfriend?! Yikes! I honestly thought the way Laurie handled it was pretty realistic. Thoughts?
There was a definite tone of sadness throughout the book, but more of a romantic sadness and yearning. Would you agree? There were a few things though that broke my heart … Sarah not attending Laurie’s wedding being the biggest.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Sarah was justified in her reaction or over the top? I just found the whole thing devastating, especially after Laurie had just presented her with such a sentimental gift.
And was anyone else frustrated with Jack never telling Laurie that he remembered her from the bus stop?? I get his initial reaction was to play dumb, but it just seemed like after awhile he would have divulged this important detail. Maybe when he had her pressed against the outside wall of the pub kissing her??
I liked that along with the love story plot, there was a sub-plot of Laurie and Sarah’s friendship. Laurie’s conflict of what is truth and what is a lie was an obvious thread throughout the book and, whether not I (or we) agree, an interesting, thoughtful component of the book.
I would say the only real, hardcore frustration I had with the book was the ending.
They literally got together (FINALLY) on the last TWO pages!!! While I certainly appreciate the wrap-up and definitely wanted them together, I would have loved to have a little more time with them as a couple. It was a rough road for both of them, and I kind of wanted that happy ending to last just a little longer! Maybe some bedroom time? (I think I just gave away that I’m a middle-aged woman)
Honestly, it was a great book and I’m so, so glad I read it! It was a perfect December read!
So beyond excited for our next pick!!! Who here has read The Thirteenth Tale? If not, get on that STAT! Diane Setterfield has come out with a new book and I can’t wait to dive in!
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “eerie and fascinating” (USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a richly imagined, powerful new novel about the wrenching disappearance of three little girls and the wide-reaching effect it has on their small town.
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.
Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.
Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.
Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, the beginning of this novel will sweep you away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting you through worlds both real and imagined, to the triumphant conclusion whose depths will continue to give up their treasures long after the last page is turned.
As always, we are giving away a copy of our book club pick to one of our readers! Enter by leaving a comment before 1/11/19 at 5:30am EST. As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental United States, you are eligible to win!
Thank you so, so much to Atria Books for providing us with copies of Once Upon a River for review and giveaway! All opinions shared are always 100% our own!