Pages - 407
Published by Arrow Books in November 2011
Boxing Day 2011
I get up in darkness, while the house sleeps, slipping from the warmth of our bed unnoticed. I dress in the bathroom so as not to wake Dom, then pad down the stairs, taking care to walk on the left side of the staircase (less creaky for some reason). The dogs are curled up in their enormous basket in the corner of the utility room: Mick, the hulking mongrel, an unholy mix of Alsatian, Rottweiler, some Pyrenean mountain dog and a host of unknowns, completely enveloping Marianne, our tiny, delicate golden lurcher. They look up at me sleepily as I open the door.
For many years, beginning when she was thirteen, Nicole Blake spent every new year with her three friends: Julian, her first love, Alex, her best friend, and Aidan, her obsession. Together the four had partied hard, supported each other, and fallen in love. But then tragedy and betrayal tore the friends apart, and Nicole settled down to married life with Dom in London. But in the week running up to New Year's Eve 2011, Nicole and Dom are preparing for a trip to New York to meet up with Aidan and Alex for the first time in years. But with so much left unsaid and unresolved between them all, can they really return to their old friendship? And if they do, Nicole isn't sure she'll ever want to come home again.
I am beginning to think the run up to Christmas can not begin without an Amy Silver book. I really had forgotten how much I love a good chick lit book and I was definitely in need of this one. What I love most about Amy Silver's books is that the characters and situations they are in are believable and real. It isn't all marshmallows around the fire with this author, oh no, she writes a book that hits you hard and leaves you breathless and near to tears in certain parts. Her books are about real people with real problems.
This story unravels over the period between Boxing Day and New Years Day, with reflections on past New Years events throughout Nicole's life. The reflections are really revealing, allowing you to judge Nicole's state of mind on the present lead up to New Year.
From the first few pages, you are convinced that Nicole is keeping secrets from us, which are unravelled like Christmas presents as the story progresses. Even though she is keeping secrets, you find yourself staying right by her side, hoping that everything will work itself out for her, as you find out why she is really in the situation she is. All the characters were believable and I felt like I had stepped into a book where I knew everyone from the start. I was the absent friend who only supported them via email as I couldn't be there physically. I was desperate for each of them to find true happiness, even though they had aired their imperfections. I came away loving Aidan, Julian and Karl,wishing they were in my life for real. The characters stay with you long after you finish reading the book.
The ending took me by surprise as it wasn't the one I was convinced it would be. However, I was rather pleased with how the story turned out and I imagine in the same situation I would have made similar choices to Nicole.
I did have a little bit of a awe struck moment, when the story mentioned the Highline in New York, which has fascinated me ever since I found out about it. Highline is an elevated park that used to be a rail line, which runs all around New York. It is definitely something I intend to visit, should I ever get the pleasure of visiting New York. Here is a video for you to see how fabulous it is yourself - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLmiaCK0zNw&feature=related
I truly loved this book and will be keeping it as one of my permanent collection. I envisage myself reading it again and again in the future, as I move into the festive season. If you haven't read a book yet by Amy Silver then I would definitely recommend this one or All I Want For Christmas as I have really loved them both. Get your journey to Christmas off to a good start with an Amy Silver novel.