Once Upon a December [Book Review]

 Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert

Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert is best enjoyed on a dark and dreary winter weekend with a Danish pastry and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert (cover) Image: graphic image of a man and woman standing in front of a Christmas booth

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, UpLit, Magical Realism, Romance, Christmas, Milwaukee (Wisconsin, USA)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of Once Upon a December:

Thank you #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e ARC of #OnceUponADecember upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Astra Noel Snow and her friends enjoy a traditional visit every December to the Milwaukee Christmas Market. This year she is recently divorced and is looking for some extra fun. Jack Clausen, a handsome man who works at his family’s bakery, saves her the best kringle. Their meeting is magical (no spoilers) and after a few dates, some Yuletide magic, and unbelievable complications, Astra and Jack must decide if their relationship can work. I hesitate to say more about the plot and circumstances because I think this one is best discovered for yourself.

My Thoughts:

What Works

  • You’ll need to suspend disbelief to really enjoy this story! I knew going in that the story involved a great deal of magical realism which, honestly, isn’t my favorite. However, I needed a cute story at the exact moment this arc became available and I decided to take a chance. I’m happy I did because it was exactly the right, light read at the right time.
  • I read this in October and not December and it still worked for me! I’d rather read a Christmas story in October than a spooky ghost story or thriller. I know I’m an outlier!
  • I enjoyed thinking about Astra and Jack’s peculiar and complicated circumstances (no spoilers) and how it would all work out. I can’t say more about the plot because I enjoyed going into it blind and I think you will as well.
  • I love the friendship themes! Astra is fortunate to have a small circle of supportive friends. Their relationships add extra layers of enjoyment and interest.
  • Likable characters!
  • Oh my! All the food assaults the senses! I’m ready to fly to Wisconsin this Christmas for a delicious Danish kringle (their official state pastry) and a steaming cup of hot chocolate. (Or have a kringle shipped!) Have you ever enjoyed a Danish kringle?

 flacky Danish kringle


Lovely themes include second chances, romance, taking risks, friendship, and family.

Recommending Once Upon a December

Keeping in mind that suspension of disbelief is required, this magical and warmhearted Christmas story might be just the HEA rom-com you’re looking for on a dark and dreary winter weekend! Fans of light women’s fiction and (closed-door) romance will enjoy this charming story.

Related: Another (suspension of disbelief) romance (open door) set during Christmas that you might enjoy is In a Holidaze.

My Rating:  4  Stars


Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert (cover) Image: graphic picture of a young man and woman stand before a booth decorated for Christmas

More Information Here

Meet the Author of Once Upon a December, Amy E. Reichert

Author of Once Upon a December, Amy E. ReichertAmy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.


Do you plan a light Christmas read in December?

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I purchase or borrow from the library all books I review unless explicitly stated that the book is free (arc)

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  1. My daughter lives near Milwaukee and works at Marquette U. I had my first Kringle while visiting her. I love the berry ones. My 6 yr-old grandson will eat an entire Almond Kringle by himself if you don’t keep an eye on him! Love the sound of a light Christmas read about now.

  2. I agree, Carol! I’d rather read a Christmas book in October than a spooky book too. I also read this and really enjoyed it. Terrific review!!

  3. You aren’t alone. I don’t read spooky books (the world is scary enough). I adored this book, and YES. Reichert and the food in all her books has my love for Wisconsin growing.

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