When a young woman finds herself lost and at a crossroads, one last gift from her brother just might give her another chance at life and at love in this epic holiday romance from the author of Always, in December
“Heartbreaking, romantic and full of warmth . . . waterproof mascara recommended!”—Sarah Morgan, author of The Christmas Sisters
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar
Sometimes the best gifts in life are the ones you don’t expect.
Cassie and Tom lost their parents at a young age and relied on each other—as well as a community of friends—to cope. They were especially close with Tom’s best friend, Sam, who always made sure that Tom and Cassie were surrounded with love. But, twenty years later, Cassie has lost Tom as well. And in a way, she’s also lost Sam; over the years they’d drifted apart, and now the man she always had a crush on is someone she doesn’t even recognize anymore.
She’s never felt more alone.
Then Cassie finds an envelope with her name on it, written in Tom’s terrible handwriting, and she knows immediately what it is. It’s the first clue in the Christmas scavenger hunt that Tom made for her every year; he’d promised her for months that this year’s would be the grandest one yet. At first, she’s too scared to open the envelope—what if she can’t figure out the clues without his help? Or what if she does figure them all out and her last connection to Tom is gone?
Tom’s present sets Cassie on a heart-wrenching and beautiful journey that will change her life—if she lets it. And as she travels from London to the Welsh mountains to the French countryside, she reconnects with old friends, rekindles a lost love, and, most important, rediscovers herself. But once she’s solved the final clue, will she be brave enough to accept the gift her brother has given her—and the love it’s led her to?
With this beautiful and heart-wrenching Christmas story, Stone (Always, in December) delivers an epic story of family, loss, and the triumph of love. Siblings Cassie and Tom relied on each other and a group of friends who became like surrogate family after the death of their parents when they were children. Now adults, they're closer than ever, held together partly by beloved holiday traditions, including Tom creating a clever holiday scavenger hunt for Cassie each year. When Tom is killed in a rock-climbing accident shortly before Christmas, Cassie falls apart, distancing herself from friends Sam and Hazel. Meanwhile, Sam withdraws into his own grief, blaming himself for Tom's death because he was not there to save him. Though Sam wants to be there for Cassie—with whom he shared a single passionate kiss five years earlier—he fears disappointing her. When Cassie discovers the first clue to the Christmas scavenger hunt Tom set up before his death, solving it gives her purpose—and following the trail leads to a second chance at love. Stone's masterful tale does not shy away from the messiness of grief, resulting in a complex and emotional story that tugs on every heartstring. Readers should have tissues at the ready.
Emotional Love Story
One Last Gift by Emily Stone is a heartwarming tale about grief and surviving the holidays. It’s a heartwarming and hopeful book with an enemies-to-lovers trope.
Cassie and Tom lost their parents when they were young and went to live with their aunt and uncle, who were able to provide for their physical needs, but were not as good at providing for their young emotional needs. Tom is older and has always been there for Cassie, along with his best friend Sam.
Tom dies suddenly just before Christmas and Cassie is devastated. She relied on her big brother for comfort, and now she doesn’t have anyone. Tom’s friend Sam, is just as lost as Cassie, but instead of grieving together, they drift apart. One day Cassie finds an envelope with Tom’s handwriting. Every Christmas, Tom sent Cassie on a scavenger hunt in order to find her gift. Did Tom do that again?
I love a good treasure hunt, and this one was a lot of fun. The beginning of the book is a bit sad, due to the death of Cassie’s brother, Tom. I was surprised that Tom remained such a main character in this book, especially as he was killed early in the book.
Tom’s best friend Sam was a difficult person to like at the beginning of the book. He lost his best friend, and he believes it was his fault, so he does some questionable things, but that’s all due to his grief. He absolutely redeemed himself by the end of the book.
The middle of the book bogged down just a bit, but once I got past that, the story flew by. I enjoyed the treasure hunt and enjoyed watching both Cassie and Sam deal with their grief and find their way to each other.
I highly recommend One Last Gift to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
So much angst and drama wrapped this story in a slow plodding HEA. I loved the idea, a yearly scavenger hunt and the love of two close siblings are at the center, with adapting to tragic loss. This is a long, slow, redemptive read and is good, just slow.