The Certainty of Chance

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Pub Date 14 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2022

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Fall in love with this Christmas romance set in London from award-winning author, Jacquelyn Middleton.


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 passengers 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 fiancée, 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?    

From Jacquelyn Middleton, the award-winning author of UNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES, comes a heartwarming Christmas story of love, loss, serendipity, and the belief that what’s meant for you won’t pass you by. 

Fall in love with this Christmas romance set in London from award-winning author, Jacquelyn Middleton.


Madeleine Joy is feeling more meh than merry. When an...

A Note From the Publisher

Content/trigger warnings: coarse language, closed-door sex scenes, disenfranchised grief, unexpected death of a loved one (backstory), cheating partner (backstory), therapy, loved-up mentions of Love Actually and The Holiday, zero mentions of any pandemics…and lots and lots of London at Christmas.

Content/trigger warnings: coarse language, closed-door sex scenes, disenfranchised grief, unexpected death of a loved one (backstory), cheating partner (backstory), therapy, loved-up mentions of Love...

Advance Praise

"Racing the clock, Madeleine and Julian chase their undeniable connection, while facing their shared grief with grace. The perfect heartfelt holiday romance!"

-- Kelly Siskind, author of New Orleans Rush

"If London has ever stolen a piece of your heart, The Certainty of Chance is the perfect holiday escape! Middleton delivers an uplifting romantic story against the backdrop of London at its sparkly, festive finest. Full of charm and heart, you’ll root for Madeleine and Julian as they find solace in each other during a Christmas to remember." 

-- Kristin Contino, author of A House Full of Windsor

"Middleton’s impressive descriptive skills are spotlighted throughout this narrative as she makes Christmas in London come alive on the pages…The real power, however, is in the author's ability to create identifiable and emotionally connective characters who readers can't help but root for. Madeleine & Julian…remind readers that where there is love there is always hope. Heartrending and heartwarming, this is an undeniably endearing romance, perfect to read over the holidays."

--BlueInk Review, a partner of the ALA's Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

"Destiny intervenes to stir up romance in this appealing and sensitive holiday affair...Anyone who's faced loss will easily empathize with Madeleine's distress, and Middleton crafts [Madeleine and Julian's] relationship into a mutually supportive, sweet connection. Great for fans of Helen Hoang's The Heart Principle."

--Publishers Weekly's BookLife

"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...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...A charming story for Anglophiles and music lovers."

-- Kirkus Reviews

"Racing the clock, Madeleine and Julian chase their undeniable connection, while facing their shared grief with grace. The perfect heartfelt holiday romance!"

-- Kelly Siskind, author of New Orleans...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781999275334
PRICE $3.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 21 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you to Jacquelyn Middleton, NetGalley, and Kirkwall Books for my ARC of “The Certainty of Chance” in exchange for my honest review. If you want a truly sweet and utterly charming holiday romance, you need to read “The Certainty of Chance.” It’s just so lovely. For me, the holidays are bittersweet, as they are for both Julian and Madeleine and I appreciated Middleton’s #OwnVoices narrative regarding grief and death. Middleton captures that ache of grief while being surrounded by holiday cheer - that whisper of yuletide joy that sort of floats through you but shrouds the holidays in a melancholic hollowness. It really touched me that Middleton leaned into grief and really explored it through these characters. It gives credence to readers that their grief, however they experience it, is valid. And that joy, laughter, and love can still be found in times when you are grieving. Julian and Madeleine are such well-rounded and loveable characters, as are Julian’s friends, Micah and Tash. I love how Middleton wove in music, pop culture, but the history and sights of London. As someone moving to England in the next few days (and from Boston, just like Madeleine), it reminded me to be excited about the culture I will get to immerse myself in. Reading this was like being baked in a boozy Christmas pudding - just ooey, gooey loveliness and plushness that engulfs you and gives you a very much-needed cuddle. But it also allows you to wade through your own grief, giving you permission to acknowledge the sharp or dull edge of sorrow that permeates holiday joy that some of us experience.

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A beautiful and christmassy love story in London This Christmas, Madeleine isn't feeling very festive so she planned a holiday to Paris with her sister to cheer her up. Unfortunately, an Icelandic volcano erupts and disturbs the airlines, leaving her trapped alone in London. Madeleine is totally depressed when she bumps into a cute cabbie-Julian. Will he manage to make her feel better? I'm not a big fan of romances but this one stole my heart right away! First, it's set in London. I've always loved this city and in the book, the author brings us along on a tour of it with fun facts and amazing descriptions of buildings and neighborhoods. It took my breath away and I loved knowing more about the history of London with Julian. He truly is a gem and I was crushing on him hard from the beginning, just like Madeleine was. I loved her too. She was touching and her personality was relatable and pleasant. I also loved that music was involved. The references and fun facts about bands and songs was also purely magical and I really liked the role it played in the story. The secondary characters were also really amazing and fun! As for the story, I loved it too. It was cute, festive when it needed to me, sweet as candy and absolutely beautiful. The subject of grief in it was very well brought and dealt with and I really liked the way the characters reacted to it and how it brought them closer together. It's not often such a subject is present in a romance and the author managed to add it without making the story feel heavy or sad. It was just a beautiful story about grief and love and Christmas and I adored every page of it! I would definitely recommend to anyone who want a light, cute and amazing Christmas romance. "Grief will always be in your heart, just like love."

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The Certainty of Chance was such a lovely story! I loved every second of this book and it just really made me smile. Not to mention, London at Christmas, what better setting could there be. Madeleine and Julian were so cute together! I absolutely adored their relationship. Not only were they amazing together, their relationship was also very realistic and I loved that. Though, it can be hard to find that deep of a connection, they didn’t necessarily romanticize life as many romance novels do. Madeleine was so relatable! I loved her character so much and just reading her dialogue really hit home. Both her and Julian went through so much by themselves and as a couple, but they were always there for each other and I loved it! This book is a perfect holiday romance and was just so sweet and hit on real topics and problems and was so amazing! I definitely recommend for the holiday season and really anytime!

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The Certainty of Chance by Jacquelyn Middleton. Kirkwall Books, 2021. Grieving Madeleine flies from Boston to meet Shan in London for Christmas, a reunion for the sisters, plus for Maddie, a way to spend the 1st anniversary of a sad loss. When flights are cancelled due to volcanic ash, and Shan’s arrival is delayed, Maddie meets Julian. The story is about Maddie and Julian, their shared passion for music and pop culture, and Julian’s closest friends and dog Winnie. We love them all. With Julian as a tour guide second to none, many readers will see London as few visitors ever do. For me, this delightful book where good things happen was a huge stretch out of my knowledge and comfort zone. Despite being from a different generation and having no notion of pop culture, I really enjoyed reading it, and learned many things that I know I will think about again, and want to reread. The cover of this book is just about perfect in reflecting the story. Now I want to visit London during the Christmas season, with this book as a guide to what to see and do. Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Certainty of Chance for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #TheCertaintyofChance #NetGalley.

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Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy to review! This story hit the spot! Jacquelyn Middleton is pure magic at being able to transport you right to a different location. I truly felt like I was in London with the characters of this book. Madeleine is a totally relatable main character who I found myself connecting with from page 1! Julian is my new favorite smoking hot book boyfriend! He has such a great personality, I was in love with him from the very moment he appeared! If you are a romance reader, pick up this book. I promise you will not regret it!

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“An emotional love story with a festive atmosphere just in time for the Christmas season!” I want to say huge thank you to the team of and the author Jacquelyn Middleton for sending me a review copy of The Certainty Chance! What a lovely read this was! This is an absolutely heartwarming story about love, loneliness, longing, grief and how the best things in life usually happen when you are expecting them the least. A few days before Christmas, Madeline Joy finds herself in a very complicated situation. She’s supposed to spend the holidays with her sister in Paris, however, due to a volcano eruption, all airports are closed and she has no other choice than to stay in London until she can travel again. Not only that but the period coincides with the one-year anniversary of her best friends death. Needless to say, her joyful spirits are nowhere to be found. Until the stars align in her favour and she meets a kind, sweet British guy who takes her on a journey around London with his black cab. Madeline didn’t expect her trip to turn out this way but when Julian Halliwell looks at her with longing and understanding in his eyes.. well.. it is impossible to deny their instant connection. Both characters are absolutely amazing and as cliche as it sounds just ‘made for each other’. Both are respectful, caring, kind and strong despite the few setbacks in their lives. I loved, loved, loved Madeline and Julian’s relationship. We see them quickly become friends and form a real bond over music, books, art, food and the one thing they both struggle with… grief- dealing with the loss a loved one and having no one who understands you. Mrs Jacquelyn Middleton did an amazing job in her portrayal of grief and left an important message for her readers - Every person deals with loss differently, there’s no ‘time-limit’ for feeling sad, there’s no recipe on how to move on. The Certainty Chance was such an emotional journey which definitely made me tear up a couple of times. So so happy both characters found in each other their ‘safe space’. I need to add an honourable mention for Julian’s friends which were hilarious and supportive throughout the whole book! And of course not to forget poor little Winnie who also got his happy ending!!! The Certainty of Chance is such an atmospheric book which immediately teleports you there with Julian and Madeline, exploring London during the most beautiful time of the year! This book put me in a wonderful Christmas mood and now all I dream off is booking a one-way ticket to London for the holidays!! Honestly, the whole time while reading I was thinking what a great movie this could be!

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