The certainty of chance A novel

Jacquelyn Middleton

Book - 2021

Madeleine Joy is feeling more meh than merry. When an Icelandic volcano erupts six days before Christmas, hazardous ash congests European airspace, canceling flights indefinitely--including the thirtysomething's connection to Paris. Stranded alone in London, separated from her sister, and with the devastating one-year anniversary of her best friend's tragic death just days away, Madeleine has never felt less festive. And as if things couldn't get worse, the cute guy driving the cab to her hotel won't shut up about carolers and tinsel. Julian Halliwell is one of life's sunny optimists. A former music journalist, he's embraced his love for London by starting his own black cab business, enthusiastically ferrying p...assengers from one historic landmark to another. But life hasn't always been easy for Julian. Having navigated several life-changing setbacks including a cruel betrayal by his former fianče, Julian remains hopeful that he'll meet somebody kind, who shares his love of music, his corgi named Winnie, and of course, the magic of Christmas time in London. Despite being an unlikely match, fate seems determined to throw them together. But can the grieving American find joy again in a world where the lights have all but dimmed?

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Romance fiction
Christmas fiction
[Toronto] : Kirkwall Books 2021.
Main Author
Jacquelyn Middleton (author)
First paperback edition
Physical Description
313 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

In Middleton's (Say Hello, Kiss Goodbye, 2020) engaging fifth novel, Madeleine, a Boston-based content programmer for a popular music-streaming service, is supposed to meet her sister in Paris for the holidays. But an ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano has temporarily grounded air traffic over Europe, and she's stuck in London indefinitely. Alone and still struggling with the tragic death of her best friend, Madeleine finds help navigating the city from Julian, a cute cab driver whose charm, sense of humor, love of music, and "firm butt" help Madeleine work through her grief and see life from a different perspective. Madeleine and Julian, both grappling with loss and trying to find their places in the world, remind readers that where there is love there is always hope. Middleton's impressive descriptive skills bring Christmastime in London alive, but the real power is in the author's identifiable and emotionally connective characters whom readers can't help but root for. Heartrending and heartwarming, this is an undeniably endearing romance, perfect to read over the holidays.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An American woman and an Englishman find love during the week before Christmas in Middleton's romance. Madeleine Joy, who works for a music-streaming service, didn't expect to be in London during the holiday season. She was supposed to be in Paris with her sister, Shantelle, but planes are grounded due to a cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano. The first anniversary of the death of her best friend, Kellie, is coming up on Dec. 23, so Madeleine isn't feeling the Christmas spirit. But she figures that she might as well see the beautiful city, as she's never been there before. Fortunately, she meets cab driver Julian Halliwell, who's not only skilled at quickly getting people to their destinations, but also provides tours with trivia about London's history. He happens to be very attractive and has excellent taste in music, as well; as it happens, he's a former music journalist--one whose reviews Madeleine used to avidly read. As they spend more time together, Madeleine remembers her good times with the friend she lost. The tourist and the cabbie start to meet up during Julian's off hours, and it's clear that love is blooming. But what will happen when Madeleine finally leaves for her Paris trip and eventually returns to Boston? In this sweet modern romance, Canadian author Middleton ably portrays the beauty of festive London, but she also depicts the heartbreaking pain of the grieving process in detail; the book treats the deep sadness that accompanies the loss of a loved one in a fair and accurate way while showcasing how the protagonist seeks professional therapy. The author also clearly has ample knowledge of the city's past and present as well as of English music, and although such facts feature heavily in the story, she works them into the text with a relatively light touch. A charming story for Anglophiles and music lovers. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.