Happy Not-Monday fellow readers! As it turns out, I am continually full of lies!! The weekend got away from me and my husband had an impromptu business dinner last night so I’m making my Recipe and a Read post today! However, in lieu of that post I’m bringing you a review none-the-less! Today’s review is for One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid! I’ve been a terrible reader these past couple of days and in the last 48 hours I’ve not read a single page *cue gasping*. However, I’ve been nesting in my house like a crazy person and I’m getting back on that reading game!
Emma Blair fell in love with her future husband Jesse Lerner the moment she laid eyes on him at a swim competition her freshman year of high-school. Jesse is popular, handsome, charming and seemingly completely out of Emma’s reach. Living in a small town in Massachusetts, Emma’s parents own a local bookstore and through the bookstore Emma meets Sam. As Emma and Jesse grow and change, their love blossoms and becomes the all-consuming love of high-school sweethearts.
It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? That every single person on this planet could lose their one true love and live to love again? It means the one you love could love again if they lost you.
After graduating high-school Emma and Jesse set off as far away from home as they can and move to California. They’re married and living their *best lives* traveling the world together and falling deeper in love with who they’re each becoming, along with one another. When Jesse jets off for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the day before their first wedding anniversary neither Emma nor Jesse realize this will change both their lives forever. Their last goodbye, their last kiss and their last hug, seemingly just like every other parting is the last moment Emma lays eyes on her husband, best friend and partner before his helicopter crashes and is never seen or heard from again.
There is other love out there for me. But it’s different. It isn’t this. It isn’t this exact love. It’s better and it’s worse. But I guess that’s sort of the point of love between two people—you can’t re-create it. Every time you love, everyone you love, the love is different. You’re different in it.
As Emma grapples with losing the only love she’s ever known, coping with a loss so profound she can hardly function she decides to leave behind the life she built in California and move home. After slowly but surely picking up the pieces of her broken life, she decides to take over her parents bookstore and she finds a new love and passion within her work. Soon, Emma runs into her old BFF Sam and they pick up where they left off. As their friendship blooms and grows, so does a new and different type of love. With Sam, Emma is able to piece her life together and open her heart to new possibilities. Soon after Emma and Sam get engaged though, a huge wrench is thrown into both of their lives when it turns out that Jesse has been stranded, not dead and he’s come home to reclaim his life, and with that, his wife, Emma.
People aren’t stagnant. We evolve in reaction to our pleasures and our pains.
I’ve had a really hard time fully deciding how I feel about this book. When I first read Reid’s work (Evelyn Hugo) last year I was immediately enamored. I don’t read a lot of straight romance so I didn’t get around to picking up more of her works super quickly. One True Loves was one that I kept re-visiting but couldn’t bring myself to pick up because of my own irrational fears. However, I’m really happy I waited because I really adored this book. I picked this up as I was getting into bed, thinking it’d help me wind down and go to sleep. What ended up happening was me staying up until two in the morning because I couldn’t put this down.
This is broken up into sections that go into different aspects of Emma’s life. We’re given her story with Jesse, her loss of Jesse, her new life back in Massachusetts. Then we’re given her story with Sam, her growth into a new person, and her healing. Lastly, we’re given the “after” – after Jesse comes back, after Jesse learns his wife has a new fiance, and a new life. I found the message of this book to be incredibly poignant and moving. The pacing was done perfectly and kept me rapt and in need of learning how Emma’s story would end. As someone who married her high-school sweetheart I was sure that I knew who she should pick, how this should end. However, Reid being the master story-teller she is left me at a complete loss as to who I wanted Emma to end up with.
You can tell I am the one taking the picture. You can tell, just from the smile on his face, how much he loves me.
In the end, this had all the elements of a great romantic drama. I laughed, I cried, I felt inspired and heartbroken exactly when Reid wanted me to. As someone who has really only ever truly loved one person, I’m still not someone who believes in “one true love” and the premise of this drew me in immediately and didn’t let me go until the very last page. I loved the writing, the characters and the story – all of which were grounded in reality and incredibly well-developed. There were a couple of little implausibilities (like Jesse’s survival) that ultimately weren’t enough to sway my overall enjoyment but were there none-the-less. The more works I read by Reid the more I enjoy her masterful story-telling and I’m so excited to continue to read more by her.
Long Story Short:
Suggested for: Fans of romance, fans of stories about lost loves, fans of suspenseful romance
Music Mood: You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne / Big World by Stevie McCrorie *Fun Fact: the first is the song my wedding party walked down the aisle to at my wedding, the second is my aisle walk song!
Have you read One True Loves, if so what did you think? Have you read other works by Taylor Jenkins Reid – what are your favorites? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!