One Day in December (US Edition)

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A Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick 

“Get ready to be swept up in a whirlwind romance. It absolutely charmed me.” —Reese Witherspoon

“Josie Silver writes with a warmth so palpable her characters sneak their way into your heart and stay for a long time.”—Jill Santopolo, New York Times-bestselling author of The Light We Lost 

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

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.

Praise

“Get ready to be swept up in a whirlwind romance. Laurie falls in love at first sight with a stranger, and spends the next year looking for him. Fate brings them back together at Christmas, but not in the way anybody expects: turns out he’s dating her best friend. It absolutely charmed me, and I can’t wait to share it with y’all.”
—Reese Witherspoon

“Josie Silver writes with a warmth so palpable her characters sneak their way into your heart and stay for a long time. One Day in December is an exploration of love that reads like a thriller, filled with secrets and heart-aching betrayals. The perfect book to get lost in this holiday season.”
—Jill Santopolo, author of The Light We Lost

“Consider setting aside some time and prepare to be charmed as author Josie Silver takes readers on a captivating journey — where female friendship is as important as romantic love…One Day in December is an unmistakable winner.”
USA Today

One Day in December is the SWEETEST love story. It’s gorgeous, absolutely lovely. Readers are going to love it.”
Marian Keyes 

“A must-read. In Josie Silver’s charming rom-com, Laurie experiences love at first sight through her bus window… then the car pulls away… What follows is a decade of heartache, betrayal, and destiny.”
US Weekly

“In Josie Silver’s One Day in December, a chance encounter on a London bus turns into a Bridget Jones-inspired romp.”
Cosmopolitan, Best Month Ever

“The pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic… Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.”
Kirkus Reviews

“It’s never too early to get into the Christmas spirit. Pick up One Day in December for a heartwarming holiday romance about a love triangle that spans 10 years.”
—HelloGiggles

“The perfect cold weather rom-com.”
—Bustle

“One Day in December is a charming story about love and serendipity for the hopeless romantic in all of us.”
—PopSugar

“If Love Actually met Sliding Doors and became a novel influenced by Jojo Myers, you’d have One Day in December. There’s just something about Christmas and the UK that’s a recipe for modern rom-coms that will have you running for the mistletoe.”
—Fodor's

"The novelistic equivalent to Love Actually."
The Bookseller

“Silver’s lovely debut follows two young Londoners after a missed connection alters the course of their lives… Silv­­er’s propulsive narrative is enjoyable, and the mix of tension and affection between Jack and Laurie is charming, addictive, and effective. Readers who like quirky love stories will be satisfied by this cinematic novel.”
Publishers Weekly

“Silver writes with verve and charm in this debut, and readers will be pulling for Laurie and Jack as they detour through missteps and misunderstandings.”
Booklist

"Readers who enjoy contemporary romance will root for Laurie and Jack as they work through laughter-through-tears experiences and toward a happily-ever-after worth fighting for."
Library Journal

“The number one feel-good read of Christmas 2018.”
—Dinah Jefferies, bestselling author of The Tea Planter’s Wife

“I recently devoured this delicious novel, which follows a young woman who falls in love at first sight with someone who soon becomes her best friend’s long-term boyfriend. I finished it in one sitting — it was like candy.”
—Hannah Orenstein, author of Playing with Matches

“I love a good love story, especially one set in London! I can’t stop reading this! If Me Before You had a book baby with all ten seasons of “Friends,” it would be this fab read.”
—Bethany Beach Books

“The love story you’ve been waiting for. I loved it!”
—Miranda Dickinson, bestselling author of Fairytale of New York

Excerpt

December 21

Laurie

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.

Reader's 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?