The Noel Diary ending explained and is the festive Netflix film based on a book?

We explain the ending of The Noel Diary and reveal if the dramatic new Christmas movie is based on a book

The Noel Diary ending explained and is the festive Netflix film based on a book?
(Image credit: Netflic)

The Noel Diary's ending has had mixed reviews as viewers of Netflix's latest Christmas movie speculate over the future of Jake and Rachel's complicated relationship.

If you're anything like us, you've already made your way through the best Christmas movies to watch on Netflix and are now itching to get your next festive fix. 

With December just around the corner, the Internet's streaming services have been churning out Yuletide content after moths of seemingly infinite true crime shows. 

From feel-good Christmas films like Home Alone to classic romantic comedies like Love Actually, it's safe to say there's been no shortage of seasonal entertainment to get us in the spirit for the upcoming holidays. 

The Noel Diary has been the latest addition to Netflix's library of Christmas delights, treating viewers to one hour and 39 minutes of chemistry and mystery against idyllic snowy scenes. 

Directed by The Parent Trap's Charles Shyer, the romantic drama tells the tale of successful writer Jake Turner (Justin Hartley) as he seeks to explore his past following the death of his mother. After visiting his late mom's home to settle her estate, he happens upon a diary that appears to hold answers to his many unanswered questions. At the house, he meets Rachel (Barrett Doss), a young woman who is looking to find her birth mother. 

While The Noel Diary is set at Christmastime, its plotline could technically have taken place at any point of the calendar year. 

The Noel Diary

(Image credit: Netflix)

What happens at the end of The Noel Diary? 

Noel Diary

(Image credit: Netflix)

The ending of The Noel Diary garnered mixed reactions from viewers, with some surprised by the twists and turns of the movie's final scenes. 

After Rachel lets Jake know that she is trying to find her biological mother, whom she believed lived in his mom's house, the pair embark on a journey together. 

Rachel tells Jake that she's engaged to a man named Alan, but it becomes clear in their conversation that she's not as in love with her fiancé as he is with her. As their drive continues, the new friends find themselves developing a mutual attraction for each other. 

They first show up on the doorstep of the house of Jake's father, Scott Turner. Despite being estranged from his dad, the reunion goes surprisingly smoothly and the two ended up reconciling over the afternoon. 

Rachel joins them later, at which point Scott informs her about the woman behind The Noel Diary Jake had found in the house. Noel was a teenage girl who'd been hired by the Turner family as a nanny after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Scott tells Rachel that Noel had been particularly helpful when they lost their older son, Ben, before sharing details of how to contact her. 

They set off to their next destination, but on day two of their adventure, Rachel disappears. She leaves Jacob a note telling him that while she's enjoyed his company, she needs to be with her fiancé for security. 

While Rachel doesn't end up meeting her birth mother, Jacob does. He lets Noel know how positively she impacted the Turner family, and offers her the opportunity to finally meet with her biological daughter in person. The reunion doesn't take place on screen, but it's safe to assume it was only a matter of time before Rachel and her mom reunited. 

At the very end of the film, Rachel is seen wrestling with a major decision - to stay with Alan or pursue her romance with Jake. She ultimately tells Jake to leave her house when he shows up uninvited and confesses his love for her, suggesting she's settled on marrying her fiancé. However, Rachel then turns up at his house, implying she's changed her mind. The 'Happily Ever After' conclusion had quite the reaction from viewers, with many taking to online forums to voice their disapproval of Rachel's infidelity. 

"Why romanticize cheating? Hate it," one unimpressed person wrote on Reddit. 

"Ending definitely left something to be desired," another viewer commented.

Is The Noel Diary based on a book? 

Bookworms will be delighted to know that The Noel Diary was inspired by the novel of the same name by The Christmas Box author Richard Paul Evans. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.