cover image Always, in December

Always, in December

Emily Stone. Dell, $17 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-49687-9

Stone’s magnetic, bittersweet debut finds publicist Josie Morgan dreading Christmas following a break up with her cheating boyfriend, Oliver. It’s just one more reason to hate the season: Josie’s parents died at Christmastime when she was nine years old, and for the past two decades she’s swapped out letters to Santa with letters to them sent each December. This year, while bicycling to her London post box, Josie collides with Max Carter, an architect unable to get a flight to New York for Christmas with his family. The pair wind up spending the holiday season together, enjoying a brief, intense affair. But Max flies to New York on Boxing Day without offering a way to contact him. Months later, the pair cross paths at a Brooklyn gallery opening Josie’s attending with Oliver, with whom she’s reunited, and then again at a wedding in Scotland. Though they’re unsure where they stand with each other, when Josie’s grandmother has a heart attack, Max is there to comfort her. But Max is harboring a secret that explains his reluctance to have a relationship—and the revelation will change Josie’s life forever. Romance fans should be prepared for a tearjerker ending to this poignant, well-plotted tale of once-in-a-life-time love. It’s as unforgettable as it is heart-wrenching. (Oct.)