* * * 1/2
Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.
Two people. One house. A year that changes everything.
Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.
But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.
Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
If you're one for slow burn romances, and I do mean slooooowwww burn, We Met In December will definitely fall into that category.
Jess and Alex meet as incoming flatmates and despite a little attraction they don't get together. That's because of the house rules stipulates that there'll be no coupling amongst the flatmates. It's an understandable enough rule meant to keep things from getting awkward or uncomfortable but it's none the less inconvenient. This is an exciting time for Jess as she's finally plucked up the courage to move to London and start her new dream job in publishing. Alex is also embarking on a new career leaving behind his days as a lawyer to become a nurse. It's easy to see one of the reasons why these two get along since they have this in common. Though crushed, Jess resigns herself to the fact that nothing can happen between them so she goes off on holiday with her friends only to return to discover that Alex and their other flatmate have been getting together on the sly. Jess keeps her disappointment and their secret to herself (she doesn't even let on to Alex that she knows) and tries to immerse herself in her new job and her friends. But the pull to Alex is always there. They just get on so well and he's so familiar with the city that they've taken to going on walks so he can show her the London that he knows.
I liked this story and the circuital way Alex and Jess eventually get together. It's a relationship steeped in friendship and camaraderie that's unique from what they share with the rest of their flatmates. Since the story unfolds through both their POVs we get to see how they're taking things in. Jess does tend to get repetitive about being the new girl in the city but I guess I can understand how she's starry-eyed about it. She wasn't exactly sheltered before but she also wasn't adventurous, so yes, she'll wax on about the newness of everything for a bit until it's not so new anymore. I took delight in the many excursions around Notting Hill and London, even looking up pictures so I could travel along with Jess and admire the sights through her eyes. That's the nice thing about her almost tourist-like beginning - it's exciting to experience those locales as if you were one yourself. While they both experience monumental changes within the year of their meeting - uprooting themselves, career changes, ending relationships - the story itself is not overly dramatic or angsty. Yes, the timing sucks and the house rule is annoying but they also have enough going in their own lives to keep them busy. It's really about their self-perception and the new discoveries they make about themselves as they year goes on. And always they're there for each other, a calming constant whenever there's uncertainty which is why they keep circling back.
We Met In December is charming and delivers a happily ever after but only after both Jess and Alex have done their thing and found their footing. You just have to be patient with them.