A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audiobook, 11+ hrs.
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A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss, narrated by Elizabeth Sastre, is a delightful reunion of three half sisters — Maggie, Simone, and Star — in a small village, Rowan Thorp, after the passing of their father. These sisters have not spoken or visited one another for many years, and all were affected by their traveling, unreliable, antiquing father, Augustus. These sisters return for their father’s funeral and the chill between them is palpable, until the reading of their father’s will requires them to work together in order to receive their inheritance.

Star is the new-age, hippie sister, while Simone is the high achiever, and Maggie is the one that stayed in the village with her children and raised them along after her husband passed away. Menopausal Maggie is having a secret fling with the grocer, while Simone has come to the village with a saddened heart as she and her wife try for a baby through IVF. Star seems carefree to her sisters, but her last boyfriend’s drug addiction cost her everything — job and home — leaving her little choice but to return to the village where she was a happy child until her sisters no longer came for the summer.

Bayliss is adept at crafting quirky characters and providing a well-rounded picture of the village and its residents. As she unravels the backstories of each sister and their lives after their blissful summers with their father ended, Bayliss sets the stage for a reset for these sisters and healing through a winter solstice celebration and the sifting through their father’s antique/junk shop. These characters feel like family, even the town busybodies. You can’t help but hope these sisters patch up their differences, learn to forgive, and work together.

A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss is a sweet cup of cocoa with some dark, bitter chocolate thrown in. I loved these sisters and their squabbles, but even more so because they were able to grow and evolve.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

A former professional cake baker, Jenny Bayliss lives in a small seaside town in the United Kingdom with her husband, their children having left home for big adventures. She is also the author of The Twelve Dates of Christmas, A Season for Second Chances, and Meet Me Under the Mistletoe.

Mailbox Monday #751

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Emma, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’Leary, purchased from Audible.

Two hotel receptionists—and arch-rivals—find a collection of old wedding rings and compete to return them to their owners, discovering their own love story along the way.

It’s the busiest season of the year, and Forest Manor Hotel is quite literally falling apart. So when Izzy and Lucas are given the same shift on the hotel’s front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside and see it through.

The hotel won’t stay afloat beyond Christmas without some sort of miracle. But when Izzy returns a guest’s lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management that this might be the way to fix everything. With four rings still sitting in the lost & found, the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel—and their jobs.

As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there’s more at stake here than the hotel’s future. Can the two of them make it through the season with their hearts intact?

Crushed & Crowned by Joseph Ross for Gaithersburg Book Festival consideration.

Crushed & Crowned guides the reader through a “museum of bodies,” seeking to “illuminate the darkest corners of our history. From sanitation workers killed in Memphis, to elegies aimed at resurrection, these poems forbid sleeping. Murals of saints guard refugees, statues replace enslavers with confident Black teens, a high school teacher observes the joys and sorrows of his students. These poems also stop us at one of the world’s largest refugee camps, inviting us to see LGBTQ refugees and their plight. These poems center the lives of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, considering their places in our history. These poems believe that if we read and live with the right spirit, the “crushed” of our world can end up “crowned.”

Corona/Crown by Kim Roberts for Gaithersburg Book Festival consideration.

Cross-disciplinary chapbook created in collaboration with photographer Robert Revere. The book addresses the act of looking, and the experience of going to museums. It is also about the COVID pandemic, and a time when museums and cultural spaces were closed.


A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss purchased from Audible.

Wildly different half sisters Maggie, Simone, and Star have hardly seen one another since their sprightly summers at Rowan Thorp, their eccentric father Augustus’s home. Known for his bustling approach to the knick-knack shop he ran, Augustus was loved by all and known by none, not even his daughters.

Now, years later, the three estranged women are called upon for the reading of Augustus’s will and quickly realize he’s orchestrated a series of hoops through which they must jump to unlock their inheritance—the last thing any of them want to do. But Maggie and Star desperately need the money. And who would Simone be to resist?

Through hilarious goose chases, small-town mishaps, and one heart-warming winter solstice celebration, love is in the air, if only the three sisters can let themselves grasp it.

What did you receive?