Emily Stone’s debut novel, Always in December, is a book I heard a lot about last year but couldn’t fit into my reading list. I was determined not to miss out on her new book, One Last Gift, and I’m so glad that I was able to read this lovely book. Isn’t that just a gorgeous cover by the way?
About the book
This Christmas follow the trail from London to the Hamptons to romantic Cornwall and discover one beautiful unexpected gift…
For as long as Cassie can remember, it had been the three of them: Cassie, her big brother Tom, and Tom’s cocky best friend Sam.
Now, Tom is sorted, Sam is flying high, and Cassie thinks she’s figured it all out. Then life takes an unexpected turn.
For Cassie starting again seems unimaginable. Until she finds an envelope with her name on it, with a letter asking her to follow a trail to one last gift.
And, suddenly, what seemed like an ending promises to lead Cassie to a love that is surprising and new… if she is brave enough to follow her heart…
This is a book I began to read with a bit of a sense of foreboding. You know from the blurb that Cassie is going to lose someone she loves but you don’t know who or how. And that actually makes this quite difficult to review because I don’t want to spoil the book by telling you so I’m going to keep this deliberately vague
The characters in the book are not without their flaws but this makes them seem all the more realistic and believable. Sometimes they could be infuriately stubborn, sometimes misguided and they certainly made plenty of mistakes. You will feel the depth of grief the characters experience but you will also feel a real sense of hope and optimism as we follow them over the course of a year or so.
I loved the treasure hunt element of the book and had fun trying to work out the clues along with Cassie but my goodness what a merry dance they led her. She went places and did things she’d never thought she would. One thing she learned was that she was braver than she thought. As an events planner she liked everything to be organised down to the last detail, liked to be in control. The treasure hunt most definitely took her out her comfort zone.
One Last Gift is a book that is sad and uplifting in equal measure. Alongside a very vivid portrayal of grief, the author also brings in some gentle humour and a beautiful romance that was perhaps always meant to be. This is a book which is lovely for this time of year but isn’t so Christmassy that you wouldn’t want to read it any other time since it takes place over the course of a year. But it will most definitely give you a Christmassy glow.
My grateful thanks to the publishers Headline for sending me an early copy of the book for review.
One Last Gift is available now in all formats.
About the Author
Emily Stone lives and works in Chepstow and wrote Always, in December in an old Victorian manor house with an impressive literary heritage. Her debut novel was partly inspired by the death of her mother, when Emily was seven, and wanting to write something that reflected the fact that you carry this grief into adulthood, long after you supposedly move on from the event itself.