Book Review: One Last Gift by Emily Stone

Posted October 16, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 31 Comments

One Last Gift
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Emily Stone
Publication Date October 11, 2022
Published by Random House Publishing Group
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Genres: Fiction / Holidays, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Reading Challenges: 12 Books of Christmas 2022

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

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

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?

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.  

Story Recap: 

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?  

My Thoughts: 

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.

About Emily Stone

Hello, I'm Emily! If you've found this page then welcome, and thanks so much for showing an interest in my writing.

One Last Gift is my newest book, and like my first one is a story about both love and grief. It's a story of how two people, who try so hard to move on from one another, just can't help but be drawn back to each other, over and over. It's a story of trying to pick yourself up after something that tears your soul apart, and a story of the unbreakable bond between two siblings. Most of all, it's a story of love - in many different forms - and of accepting both yourself and others. I think as an author there is a part of you in any novel, and there is definitely a part of me in this, so I really hope readers enjoy.

Always, in December was my debut novel, and it will always be one close to my heart. Whilst very different from me, the protagonist, Josie is suffering with a grief that I know all too well - losing a parent/parents at a young age, and having to carry that grief into adulthood, long after it's supposedly 'gone away'. I lost my mum when I was seven, and I still think about her even now, in my thirties - and that's something that Josie and I share. Max, too, is suffering his own kind of grief, and that's something that he has to learn to deal with. But whilst the novel is about grief, and learning to live with that, it's also about falling in love, and about learning to be brave, even when your life doesn't feel quite right yet - even if it feels like it will never quite be right!

I was lucky enough to be able to write both of my novels in a brilliant house - the house you see in the photos on this page - which has so much good history. It's not mine (sadly), but because of lockdown-woes, I live with my sister, brother-in-law and their two children. When I'm not writing or working, I spend any spare time helping to look after my two nieces and entertaining myself with the variety of animals that my sister and I share - two cats, three rabbits, four chickens, six sheep and three very small rescue ponies!

If you read either of my novels then thank you, and I really hope you enjoy! If you want to get in touch then I'd love to hear from you - I'm on Twitter and Instagram under @EmStoneWrites!

Book Challenges:

One Last Gift counts towards my 12 Books of Christmas Challenge.

Have you read One Last Gift? Do you want to read it?

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 12 Books of Christmas 2022

31 responses to “Book Review: One Last Gift by Emily Stone

  1. You liked this one more than I did, Wendy. I really loved Stone’s previous book but this one just didn’t work for me. I felt like the story got bogged down with slow pacing and by the time things did start to pick and and happen it was too little/too late for me. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It was definitely just a “me thing.”

  2. The description of this book kind of reminds me of Cate Woods’ book The Inn At Tansy Falls, where a letter from a dear friend who has passed away brings a London woman to a small Vermont town, and she has to complete certain tasks while she’s there. I enjoyed that one, so I’m sure I would enjoy this one.

  3. This sounds good, but I will probably skip it. I like my books to be happier around the holidays. I don’t know if I could handle the sadness that comes across in your review. Or maybe I’ll read it next summer when I won’t mind the emotion. haha Great review!

  4. Sounds a lovely, though emotional read and I like the idea of the treasure hunt. Glad this was enjoyable despite the problems in the middle. Wonderful review🙂

  5. This book does sound heartwarming, Wendy. I like romances that deal with overcoming real hurts/losses to find healing and love (versus silly competitions, misunderstandings, and jealousy.) Thanks for the recommendation for a satisfying holiday read. 🙂

  6. Jenny+McClinton

    This book got me emotional just reading your review, glad you liked this book, great review 😊